Among the great virtues of the Enneagram system are its holistic view of human beings and its holistic approach to personal and spiritual development. The wonderful, and still evolving, psychological knowledge of the types provides support for self-awareness and mindfulness, best exercised by a reliable and friendly inner observer. This knowledge starts in the mind, but it can also guide awareness and practices involving our feelings and instincts.

George I. Gurdjieff, who brought the Enneagram to the West, had an early holistic curriculum with his Fourth Way school – methods based not just on the first way (of the body), or the second way (of the heart), or even the third way (of the mind). With sacred music and dances, teaching stories, and physical tasks, Gurdjieff addressed all three centers or”brains”as he called them, anticipating modern research into the Triune Brain. Certainly there were other holistic teachers and educators, including Rudolf Steiner, Maria Montessori, Ida Rolf, Wilhelm Reich, and Carl Jung. But it wasn’t until the 1960’s and 70’s that mainstream medicine and psychology began to be impacted by the emerging holistic health movement. It was an associate of Freud, Wilhelm Reich, who first described type in his book Character Analysis. This was the first view of people through the lens of character structure, not as just a collection of neurotic symptoms. Reich also set the stage for the emergence of somatic psychology as a whole with his focus on the breath and the movement of life energy in people.

This workshop will include a quick tour of the somatic (embodied) structures and patterns of the nine types, and suggestions for practice and self-awareness, with references to boundaries, body armor, breathing, body types, and basic grounding. About 30 minutes will consist of experiential bodywork, followed by short breakout groups.

Peter O’Hanrahan is an experienced Enneagram teacher who has provided public workshops and specialized trainings to businesses, schools, and community organizations for the past 24 years. He is the program manager and an associate trainer for the Enneagram Professional Training Program (EPTP) of the Trifold School for Enneagram Studies with Helen Palmer and David Daniels M.D. He writes and teaches regularly on the Enneagram in the Workplace, Instinctual Subtypes, and the Embodied Enneagram.

Since 1975 Peter has practiced counseling and directed self help programs in Berkeley, California, with a focus on making practical methods available to people on a path of personal and professional development. During this time he has integrated the Enneagram into his counseling and body therapy practice. He directed the Center for Human Growth in Berkeley, which hosted the first public Enneagram classes in the late 1970’s.

Peter O’Hanrahan


2005 IEA Global Conference

San Francisco, California, USA

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