I was first introduced to the Enneagram in graduate school. It was explained then as an example of a tool that we were NOT going to study, as the curriculum valued psychometrics that were consistently proven both reliable and valid. The Enneagram, an ancient tool for self-reflection and study whose roots go back, some scholars say, to the early Christian desert fathers and mothers of the second centuries, is not that. It isn't proven valid or reliable by psychometrician standards. It wasn't until I began my own journey in spiritual direction did I come upon it again and give it a chance.
I had to get past my skeptical, clinical psychology self and move into a sense of wonder over this model's lasting power through all these centuries. The wisdom of the Enneagram is more about what questions is arises for you rather what answers it gives. The Enneagram, when studied as a tool to gain spiritual and personal growth, gives us a chance to explore the challenges and dark places--or shadow sides--to our personalities.
I went into the field of psychotherapy to help people identify and grow into their authentic and healthiest selves. The Enneagram can be a wonderful tool to bring into therapy, or to explore with a spiritual director, or simply to process deeply on one's own through journaling. When explored in depth it can be a wonderful life-long tool for self-exploration, bringing to consciousness what our motivations, whether pure or not, say to us about ourselves, our behaviors, and our relationships.
What is exciting about being human is often frustrating as well: that as much as we uncover, there are even more layers beneath. The journey to wholeness is ongoing and persistent, but to embark on it can prove tremendous value for self-discovery.
Read further on the Enneagram:
The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Riso and Hudson
The Enneagram: Understanding Yourself and Others In Your Life by Helen Palmer
The Road Back to You by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile
The Path Between Us by Suzanne Stabile
The Enneagram Journey with Suzanne Stabile
The Road Back to You: Looking at Life Through the Lens of the Enneagram