This presentation shows how the Twelve Steps, the Enneagram, and Centering Prayer are used together to enhance and stabilize recovery, and to bring about the very spiritual experience that all three tools were designed for. The personality (or false self) is a survival strategy–what we created to survive in the world–and to satisfy what Centering Prayer’s architect, Thomas Keating calls the three biological needs: (1) security, (2) power and control, and (3) affection and esteem. Our Enneagram strategy is a way to continually replicate the feeling that the personality needs to survive. The personality/false self is addicted to survival and is uninterested in change, enlightenment, or sobriety. It is only interested in survival — as the false self.

This practical talk describes how to set up an ongoing 12 Step/ Enneagram group, get members, and create an agenda of the first ten meetings. It includes suggested handouts and guidelines for facilitating such a group, both with or without Centering Prayer. We will discuss how the Enneagram is an invaluable aide to working the steps, particularly the first, fourth, fifth, tenth and eleventh steps; and how Thomas Keating’s work with the three biological needs is pivotal to understanding addiction, whether to our personality or to anything else.

Robert Tallon is an executive coach and corporate trainer. He teaches the Enneagram in North America and Europe and is the co-author of Awareness to Action: The Enneagram, Emotional Intelligence, and Change. He facilitates a 12 Step/Contemplative Prayer/Enneagram group that meets twice a month in St Louis.

Bob Tallon


2011 IEA Global Conference

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

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