Letter from the President – New IEA Initiatives and the Value of Membership

It’s an exciting time to be a member of the IEA, and in this article I’d like to expand on what I wrote in the Letter from the President about our new initiatives.

Actually, two of the initiatives, a publishing imprint and a research task group, are new, and one, the accreditation program, is being updated to meet the evolving needs of the membership. I’d also like to say a few words about IEA conferences.

IEA Publications

Part of the IEA’s mission is to make information about the Enneagram more widely available to the public. We have been doing that for years now through the international and regional conferences and though publications such as Nine Points Magazine and The Enneagram Journal. The changing nature of the publishing industry means that it is becoming more and more difficult for even popular authors to have Enneagram books published, and many authors have turned to self-publishing. In order to help ensure that good books on the Enneagram reach the audience they deserve, the IEA has decided to start a publishing imprint.

The first book being published by the IEA is by the popular and prolific Liz Wagele. Liz’s book is an anthology of essays by a wide range of authors on the topic of death and dying through the lens of the different Ennea-types. Having read portions of the pre-publication manuscript, I can say that is a moving and insightful collection. The IEA is proud to be supporting it and thankful that Liz has entrusted us to bring forth this important contribution to field.

The IEA will publish other books in the future on an occasional basis. If you or someone you know has a book that you think might be appropriate for publication by the IEA, please let us know by contacting imprint@internationalenneagram.org

Liz’s book should be available by the IEA conference in July; stay tuned for updates.

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The IEA Enneagram Research Task Group

As I’ve talked to various IEA members around the world and asked about what initiatives they would like to see from the IEA, the most common answer is “research.” Those who use the Enneagram understand the power of the system through their direct experience of it; efforts to take the Enneagram to a broader public, however, are sometimes hindered by a lack of empirical evidence supporting the system. The IEA does not have the resources to conduct or fund research, but it is positioned to serve as a hub for those conducting research to share their findings, collaborate, and promote their results to a broader audience.

A task group is currently creating a plan and set of protocols that will guide its activities. If you are interested in contributing, or if you know of anyone doing research about the Enneagram, please contact me at mario.sikora@internationalenneagram.org.

Accreditation

The IEA accreditation program was begun a number of years ago, and has been modified this year. The accreditation program has been misunderstood by many of our members, and it may help to explain what the program is not before explaining what it is.

The accreditation program is not an attempt to standardize or control Enneagram theory, or to stifle the creative application of the Enneagram. The IEA is committed to being a “big tent,” a community that supports and recognizes diversity of perspective and teaching. The IEA is not interested in
establishing an “official Enneagram;” it is interested in supporting the creative spirit and ethical practice of its members.

The main focus of the accreditation program is two-fold.

First, it serves as an opportunity for our members to demonstrate that they have completed a baseline amount of training by recognized teachers or, in other ways, demonstrated competence in their work with the Enneagram. (For the criteria for accreditation, go to http://www.internationalenneagram.org/Accreditation/index.html)

Second, and most important from my perspective, the accreditation program serves as a very public symbol of commitment to adhere to a code of ethics in the use of the Enneagram. The new code of ethics for accredited teachers went into effect January 1, 2012 and can be found at http://www.internationalenneagram.org/about_iea/IEA_Values_and_Ethics.html.

This voluntary and public commitment to a code of ethics is one of the reasons why the IEA is so important. Sure, anyone can say that they adhere to the ethical use of the Enneagram in their work, but being an accredited teacher means that there are consequences for not actually doing so.

While the IEA does not want to proactively police its members, there have been instances where members or former members were misrepresenting their status or relationship with the IEA in their marketing materials or websites. When these instances were brought to our attention we took action to ensure that these individuals were no longer making such claims. Their accreditation was also suspended.

We took these actions with heavy hearts; our goal is to uplift the community, not to be punitive, but we took the actions we did for the good of the community. Only members in good standing can use the watermark that identifies accredited teachers, training programs, and schools. Thus accreditation, and the public display of the watermark, is not just an advertisement of Enneagram training, it is a commitment to being part of a community that values and recognizes an ethical standard of practice.

In addition to the new code of ethics, the IEA has added new categories of accreditation and revised the criteria for accreditation. (Details are found on the website.)

Conferences

Finally, a word about IEA conferences. The annual international conference has been central to the mission of the IEA and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. The conference has traditionally been held in the US, and over the years there has been talk of hosting the conference outside the US. There are reasons we have not done so, primarily because of the logistical challenges and because the majority of our members are in the US.

However, as our membership grows outside the US and the affiliates become stronger, the IEA has the opportunity to support regional conferences. In May, the Brazilian affiliate will host a local conference and in October, the Chilean affiliate will host a Latin American conference. IEA France is planning a European conference in Paris for April 2013 and the newly formed IEA Portugal is discussing the possibility of hosting a European conference in 2014. Presenters from all over the world will be speaking at these conferences and the IEA’s members are invited and encouraged to attend these events.

The Benefits of Membership

People sometimes ask me what I see as the value of membership in the IEA. These initiatives are great examples of why I think anyone who uses the Enneagram in their work simply loves the Enneagram and is grateful for the affect it has had on his or her life should be an IEA member.

Sure, there are the tangible benefits of things like reduced admission to the conference and discounts to training programs. There is also Nine Points Magazine and the Enneagram Journal. Further, only IEA professional members are eligible for IEA accreditation.

But the true benefits of being an IEA member are less tangible; impossible to put a price on but immeasurably valuable. They include:

  • ¬†Being part of a truly global community of people with a shared passion for the insights the Enneagram can bring; people who use the Enneagram in their work helping others grow in spirit and wisdom in an unimaginably wide range of contexts.
  • ¬†Supporting the continued development of theory and application of the Enneagram and building a foundation of empirical support for the system; one that will be embraced by a broader audience.

Taking a public stance of commitment to excellence and ethical practice; sending a message to the world at large that the Enneagram community understands the responsibility that comes with such a powerful body of knowledge.

The IEA is always seeking feedback from its membership. Please feel free to contact me directly and share your thoughts on these initiatives or make suggestions for future projects.

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