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NLP and the Enneagram
by Rex Steven Sikes

My take on it is essentially this - in a nutshell.

The Enneagram, or any other personality system, Meyers Briggs etc. etc. is a set of generalizations. And if we understand the fundamental use of generalizations in NLP, (e.g. Eye Accessing Cues, Representational Systems, Meta Programs, Satir Categories etc. as well as a whole host of others noted by NLP, as well as those not noted by NLP) then we would understand the usefulness of such systems. People use generalizations to streamline - they are big chunks of info which apply to many people, but they are useful. Learning to sort by generalizations and also fill in the specific individual detail is most desirable. Because we use one doesn't mean we forsake the other. Some of the more notable best selling books and tape programs 'getting along with difficult people' etc. stereotype or generalize people into groups. The 'tank', just like Satir did with the 'blamer' or 'leveler' etc. It is useful to recognize generalizations when dealing with others (a form of calibration) but not for a moment adhere to the generalization as if it is actually true, or as if the person is permanently or immutably the label given them.

Just like a nominalization - has many different aspects, colors, shades, nuances, interpretations, meanings - but we don't stop using them. We hopefully understand how to use them. We don't have to denominalize every nominalization (that would be silly and fruitless - in fact impossible) so we use them and understand that there is a lot of variance to any given term.

Hence, personality systems contain some truthfulness when applied to groups or masses of people. And yes individuals comprise those masses, hence it is important to keep an open mind, be ready to be surprised often by the individual, and move beyond just the generalization. All things can be useful when we are ready to investigate them and accept them for what they are. Limited models, only reflecting what may be possible. Still it can help us with NLP if we still remember to calibrate, be open and accepting and don't get locked into any system, including NLP. None of them are gospel or unerring. And all of them have some kernels of truth and elements which are helpful to the practitioner.

Defining oneself by a number, or be a rep system, or by a meta program or a belief or value, in fact defining oneself by any label or nominalization is limiting - yet it is done all the time. Any time one sets boundaries around a label, much is deleted. However, if we recognize this fact, and are open to accepting that more is there, and that we are in fact not are names, or labels or scores on personality tests, nor are others, Meta Programs, or Satir Categories etc.etc. then we can use all things, and hopefully we can use them wisely, and with respect for others and ourselves.

Respecting others as far as I am concerned is one of the greatest means of having rapport and understanding. True acceptance without desiring that another person or self is different, but accepting them at face value. And all of us generalize about others (see I just did in that sentence, as well as many others) and since we do we should learn how to use big chunks and generalizations with respect and wisdom rather than labeling the very same process another person uses as 'bs'.

What we need to do as practitioners is elevate our thinking about things to begin to look at the very patterns we are using when we look at patterns. When we look at NLP or other systems of classification. We need to look at and assess the tools and approaches, and begin to see them, beyond what they are purported to be. We need to be able to go meta to NLP itself and determine when and how one uses what in a prudent and wise manner. That takes open honest critical thinking skills. That takes being abel to shift levels, and gain more than one perspective (essentially more than our own perspective).

All these things are very dynamic. And being able to sort by generalization, speeds up calibration immensely. Being able to go to the heart of behavior presupposition and well as spoken presupposition, speeds up the processes immensely. When one can begin to see that many things occur simultaneously, and move above that, then one has a greater understand, albeit still limited understanding, but a greater understanding of how things operate together (in another person's map) than piecemeal picking apart of rep systems and strategies.

So it is a matter of being able to chunk up, down and sideways. It is a matter of being able to begin to see the connections in another person's history to their present state, to discover what generalizations are at work and what presuppositions. And guess what - sometimes starting with big (and seemingly meaningless pieces like) personality stereotypes will get us there a thousand times faster than all the meta modeling in the world. However, if one truly begins to fathom the applications of the meta model than one finds it more than just an information gathering tool, but as well a means of communicating more effectively, pacing, entering another person's map, leading, inducing and much much more. Same with rep systems, beliefs, values and meta programs.

And my gosh modeling becomes all the more a breeze!

Well, my two cents.

Be well and enjoy!

Rex

   

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