The enneagram, a way into life… a review (PE nr. 1085)

Marielle Bradel, L’ennéagramme, un chemin de vie, Préface de Bernard Ugeux, collection DDB Psychologie, ISBN 978-2-220-06271-6, Groupe Artège-Desclée de Brouwer, 2011, 460 pages, 28.40 euros

If one goes into a well furnished book shop, one can be astonished by the number of new books on the Enneagram. Unfortunately the quality of some of these publications is not always up to the mark. The classic works by Beesing and Company, Chabreuil, Palmer, Rohr and Salmon are still the best works on this subject.

However one book seems to be an exception : that of Marielle Bradel, with an introduction by our confrere Bernard Ugeux. The book is very educational, sprinkled with many examples and quotations coming from the couples (700) attending the sessions that she had animated with her husband for more than twenty years.

As in other books or manuals, the description of the 9 types starts with avoidance, which can give a rather negative tone to the start. Our confrere, Herman Bastijns, uses the particular gifts of each type as a starting point, gifts which are the reflection of God in our deepest being. The text of Ms. Bradel’s book is long and detailed which permits a more nuanced approach but which has also the disadvantage of being repetitious.

The author insists on the importance of childhood experiences. This is obviously essential, but, in my opinion, she insists too much on childhood hurts. I also regret that she does not furnish a bibliography even though she mentions some works in the text or in footnotes.

On the other hand, the final chapters, in particular the chapter on the contribution of the Enneagram in the life of a couple are very interesting. She not only shares her discoveries and those of her husband, as well as the experiences of other couples but she also offers a reading grid that is very helpful for couples keen not only to explore the complementarities in their relationship but also what is lacking. I therefore recommend this book especially where it is difficult to find the more classical publications on the subject.

Guy Theunis, M.Afr.

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