Ones may be motivated to change for a number of reasons. Presenting problems to therapists and counselors can include: depression, a sense of maladaptation or melancholy, creeping alcoholism, romantic instability, feeling driven, a desire for stress reduction or wanting a spouse to change. Since Ones have trouble knowing when they are angry and rarely realize how scolding they sound, social conflicts can be a problem.
Generally good goals for change are: working on behavioral rigidity, learning to commit harmless “sins,” identifying and revising unconscious rules, developing creativity and humor, getting in touch with their feelings, discovering what they truly love, that gray is the color of truth and learning to forgive.
It’s especially helpful to work with the critical voice and to modify the person’s experience of it by finding the nugget of compassion that drives the harsh inner judge and discovering how self-criticism is a twisted form of love. “I’ve learned that perfection is what is” a One explains, “I experience an enduring sense of peace when I’m in nature because while nature is messy I don’t have any responsibility for it, and I can’t do a thing about it.”
Ones need guidance to loosen their rigid standards of perfection; to establish a more positive and patient relationship with themselves; to develop permeable boundaries between their mind, body and emotions and create a strategy for non-polar thinking.
To these ends a coach could encourage a One client to commit harmless “sins,” identify and revise unconscious rules, develop creativity and humor, get in touch with their feelings, discover what they truly love and learn to forgive. It might be especially helpful to work with the critical voice and to modify the One’s experience of it by finding the nugget of compassion that drives the harsh inner judge and discovering how the One’s self-criticism could be a distorted form of self-care. “I’ve learned that perfection is what is” a One explains, “I experience an enduring sense of peace when I’m in nature because while nature is messy I don’t have any responsibility for it, and I can’t do a thing about it.”
Coaches working with Ones may need to provide a friendly, non- judgmental atmosphere that is informal but structured. Ones are sometimes ashamed to seek counseling or therapy, mortified that they even have a psychological difficulty. It’s almost always useful to check whether the person feels vulnerable about the context itself; they may need reassurance even if they don’t look like they do.
Dismantling a One’s defenses needs to be done gently and playfully, so that they don’t feel “wrong” according to a new set of standards. Ones can easily go into “meta-blaming,” judging themselves for being judgmental (“When am I going to learn to quit criticizing myself!?!”). Or they may blame themselves for not knowing what they have just learned (“An intelligent person would have seen this about themselves a long time ago!”).
Some Ones will question a therapist’s competence or introduce criteria that the therapist can’t do anything about. A One client entered my office for his first session and immediately said, “I thought you’d be older.” Had I taken his statement personally, I would have become instantly ineffectual, since I couldn’t suddenly be older. If you feel your competence initially assailed, remember that it’s the One’s defense.
After establishing rapport with a One client don’t underestimate the power of a well-reasoned argument. Of all personality styles, Ones are the most likely to respond well to advice. They weigh it carefully and, if they agree with it, follow it diligently. This is why Ones offer advice to others; it works for them and they don’t realize that it’s rarely palatable to anyone else.
Excerpted from The Dynamic Enneagram by Tom Condon
Copyright 2009, 2013 by Thomas Condon
Available as an ebook serial at Tom’s website http://www.thechangeworks.com
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.