People who experience chronic pain frequently feel as though they live in a separate world. What is this world like? And how is this world experienced by the different personalities? How do they cope? And, how do others, inclusive of their healthcare practitioners, respond to this coping? If we can glean some understandings of these worlds and experiences we can, perhaps, better hear one another with compassion and curiosity, and better address the needs around pain.

The material for this presentation is drawn from the ongoing research within my practice as a Health Psychologist.

This presentation provides an opportunity to explore and discover the personal experiences of how some of the personalities might experience and present with long term pain. We will explore:

i – the superego activity with pain,

ii – the interactions with the personalities’ energy forces,

iii – the awareness of and use of an `inside world’ and an `outside world.’

Workshop participation will include subtle movement, personal inquiry, and discussion.

The hope is that an experiential processing followed by exploratory discussion will aid us to more effectively understand and address the needs and concerns for the person with pain, such that s/he may live a life fully, and with satisfaction.

Penny Whillans is the Director and Founder of the Canadian Institute for Enneagram Studies. She is also a practicing psychologist, teacher, and supervisor. Her work and research has focused on chronic illnesses and pain, and how these affect the psyche and the personality’s coping mechanisms. She emphasizes the direct experience of the Enneagram of Personalities as a way to know our wisdom and to directly know who we truly are. She is a student of the Diamond Approach, an executive board member of The Contemplative Society, and a past board member of The Victoria Coalition for Survivors of Torture.

Penny Whillans


2008 IEA Global Conference

Atlanta, Georgia, USA