Lint-Trap 1/27/01: Tom Condon
I was up at dawn today to attend a seminar at Santa Clara University by Tom Condon. He is someone who does personal change work using the Enneagram, NLP, and Ericsonian hypnosis.
Suffice it to say that the Enneagram is a theory of personality (as well as many other things) that describes nine personality types, and has some surprisingly accurate predictions on how each type will react when under stress or when secure. The types are presented in very neutral ways--no type is better than another, and each type has strengths and weaknesses.
So, for example, the perfectionist is prone to black and white thinking and may be rigid and oppose change. At the same time, they have a strong sense of fairness and justice, will fight for what is right, and will do every job to the peak of their ability every time. They are the kind of people you want operating on your brain.
Because most of our common descriptive terms are either positive or negative in tone, the Enneagram uses numbers from one thru nine to express these types, strengths and weaknesses alike. Learning your own type and the types of others clues you in to many cases where you can easily misinterpret a benign gesture of another for a hostile act. If a perfectionist picks a thread off your sweater, they are genuinely doing you a favor by mking your appearance better. However, many people will feel criticized or patronized by this behavior.
I learned a lot about myself and others by reading about the Enneagram. However, most of the literature is descriptive in tone, and is not really that oriented towards self growth or change.
Tom Condon brings to his knowledge of the Enneagram a lot of powerful techniques from NLP and hypnosis. So he can work with people and not only give them insight, but help them begin the process of change.
He lectured for about an hour, we did an exercise, and then after lunch he did an intervention with a client, a 50-year-old artist who was concerned that she was having trouble meeting deadlines.
Within 15 minutes, he had got her in touch the a rather depressed, withdrawn and sullen little three year old child that this woman carried within her. Even more powerfully, he was able to get her to see this child, rather than being the child. She dialogued with this child, complaining that the child was being ignored and didn't trust anybody. Within another half hour, he had her understanding that she was the one who was ignoring and not trusting the child in the present day (that wasn't true when she herself had been three...). She said that this was to protect the child from being hurt. "Ah," Condon said, "Protection by Rejection". He brought her to what he called the 'existential moment', when the client realizes that their strategy is totally flawed, and helped her emerge from this void. It was a masterful demonstration, under the worst possible environments (up in front of 100 people), of a successful intervention. I was awed...
After Condon, I returned some Cioppino dishes, etc. to Sam, and found out that she will not be going to Hawaii in March. I was sad to hear that, but her business has been hit hard by the slowdown and she is counting her pennies.
I then ended up at Dianas, where her younger son Yson was having a birthday party. I kept her company for a while while a half dozen teenage boys spread some kind of role playing game all over the living room. And then home.
Thank you for reading.