Broadly speaking, a Two’s basic life choice is to be either honestly selfish or blindly selfish. In the former case, he takes direct responsibility for meeting his own needs and giving what is left over to others – lending himself to others but giving himself to himself.

Two’s need to be helped to develop an internal frame of reference – a stronger sense of themselves and their own needs; a better subjective sense of where they end and other people begin. This helps them maintain appropriate boundaries in intimate and significant relationships; enabling them to say “No” and comfortably pursue what they want for themselves – instead of getting it through pleasing and manipulating others.

Two also need to learn to chunk down, appreciating details rather than being solely focused on the big picture. They need to learn to think – to use their inner visual and auditory systems more actively, and to value these systems as much as they do their kinesthetic feelings. It is also helpful for them to learn to challenge their own mind reading and develop the perceptual capacity to float above circumstances and relationships and view them from a detached position.

Twos can be motivated to grow and change for a number of reasons among them: wanting to understand their relationships; to resolve interpersonal conflicts; to recover from a relationship in which they lost themselves; depression; feeling like they are fluctuating between high and low self-esteem. Some Twos begin to recognize how burdened they feel by having to give to others, especially if the others don’t want to be given to. One Two decided to enter therapy when she realized that she was modeling a pattern of doing whatever men wanted for her daughter.

Presenting problems to therapists and coaches can include: physical complaints, mystery psychosomatic symptoms, social conflicts, relationship problems, a sense of rejection, depression, unresolved sexual abuse, a desire for weight loss, and fluctuations between high and low self-esteem.

Generally good goals for change include: beginning to recognize how they reject their needs and relocate them in others; facing the shadow of their own selfishness, developing personal goals, dealing with pseudo- emotion as a signal of neglect from their inner self, discovering the body location of their true emotions and learning to be appropriately assertive. Cultivating spirituality life can also be unusually important and powerful for Twos.

Another good goal is to recognize the difference between pseudo- feeling and genuine feeling. When Twos return to their own body and emotional location, the subjective quality of their emotions change; from histrionic and overstated to small and “reasonably” proportioned. Dramatic emotions are a sign that Twos are neglecting their inner needs.

Twos truly care about helping others and the well-being of their chosen family, friends, or professional charges. The paradox is that to most effectively take care of others the Two has to learn to become appropriately selfish – otherwise his “help” is invariably contaminated by personal need.

This often means discovering which specific needs he has ruled out as unacceptable. Whatever a Two compulsively wants to give to others is precisely what he needs to first give to himself. When the need to compulsively give arises, find the nearest mirror and give it to the person you see looking back at you.

Put another way, the general goal for Twos is to be able to choose when to give. “Automatically giving to other people used to be okay – then they would like me,” a Two comments, “Now I really like to give. I don’t care if it comes back or not. That’s the real change.” Another Two echoes this: “I can now sit on the couch contentedly while others do the dishes. I’m very aware of when my helping nature gets out of hand, and I can frequently stop myself from overextending.” Another Two explains: “It’s great to be around people these days and not feel compelled to smile and manipulate them into liking me. When I want to be alone, I give that to myself. When I talk to someone, I stay in touch with my own opinions. It’s like I’ve learned where my skin ends and the air begins.”

Counselors working with Twos may have to be attentive to their professional boundaries. A Two client could try to match your image of a good client, while unconsciously blurring the relationship’s boundaries.

With some Two clients, it helps to cultivate a calm, direct manner, communicating that you care for the person but not necessarily for their dramas. Simply paying close attention to a Two is sometimes useful as it communicates your interest in the real person. Twos who habitually care for others may be especially thirsty to be treated the same way.

Other Twos, however, praise counselors who are bluntly honest almost to the point of being rude. Twos are often indefinite about their own feelings and positions and a specialist who offers the Two direct feedback gives them something concrete to react to.

Twos often have an excellent, if latent, sense of humor and they can sometimes joke about behavior that they can’t admit to directly. An unhealthy Two’s helpful self-image can be unusually at odds with reality and consciously facing that discrepancy can be difficult for them. Humor that unconsciously exposes their foibles is sometimes enjoyable and acceptable to them.


Excerpted from The Dynamic Enneagram by Tom Condon

Copyright 2009, 2013 by Thomas Condon

Available as an ebook serial at Tom’s website

Tom Condon has worked with the Enneagram since 1980 and with Ericksonian hypnosis and NLP since 1977. These three models are combined in his trainings to offer a useful collection of tools for changing and growing, to apply the Enneagram dynamically, as a springboard to positive change. Tom has taught over 800 workshops in the US, Europe and Asia and is the author of 50 CDs, DVDs and books on the Enneagram, NLP and Ericksonian methods. He is founder and director of The Changeworks in Bend, Oregon.