With a clear vision for how the Enneagram could be taught in every jail and prison in the United States and in the world, Susan Olesek founded Enneagram Prison Project (EPP) in California in 2012. Since then, EPP has established programming in four Californian correctional facilities including San Quentin State Prison, and in Minnesota, Finland, Belgium, and soon to be in the UK and Australia.

Essential to EPP’s success in breaking into one of the most archaic institutions of America – the criminal justice system – is its fundamentally compassionate approach to how human beings grow and heal, starting with attachment. EPP uses the Enneagram as a system to remember what is “right” about us from our earliest conception and understands that the basic building blocks of personality – our egoic distortion of who we truly are – begins in childhood.

In this presentation, IEA attendees will participate in an experiential demonstration of fundamental modules of EPP’s 12-week curriculum as currently taught to in-custody students. Together, a diverse panel of EPP’s global team, made up of certified EPP Guides from Belgium, Australia, the UK, and the United States (including those formerly incarcerated) will demonstrate key methodologies, philosophy, exercises, and films currently used in the EPP classroom. EPP Guides will explain how to recognize the “Divine Spark” in everyone, how personality forms, the explicit role Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) play in the formation of brain architecture, and why our past has such a powerful influence on our capacity to be in the present.

Susan Olesek


2019 IEA Global Conference

Oakland, California, USA

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