Knowing ourselves so that we can transcend ourselves and attain balance and integration is what psychology is about


It takes years of work on oneself to get to know anything real about ourselves . . . What we think we have discovered about ourselves is very superficial at first, so that real self-knowledge only comes after years of patient effort. … We become different people inside, and this is reflected by the way life treats us outside. This is an esoteric law . . . and explains why it is only ourselves who can make anything really worthwhile of our lives. It is no good looking to external factors or agencies to do this for us. . . . It is only when we begin to really work on ourselves, and change our habitual ways of thinking and feeling that anything real or permanent can happen to us. For self-change is the basic pre-requisite for external change. And self-change can only come about as a result of self-knowledge and work on oneself (Benjamin, Basic Self-Knowledge, 163-4 in Riso, Understanding the Enneagram, 262-4)


We are all like prisoners in an unguarded cell. Prisoners of our ego, enchained by our fears, restricted in our freedom, suffering from our condition. Self-knowledge gives us access to the wisdom we need to escape from our self-imposed prison so that we an embrace a fuller life.

Ego inflation is what causes problems in our lives. Once our egos are inflated, they need to be defended, and we begin to get into conflicts with other people, with reality, and with ourselves as this process continues and worsens. Attitudes and actions always have consequences. It is for this reason that the quest for self knowledge and insight is an extraordinarily practical thing to do.

Without self knowledge negative tendencies become self-defeating habits, and self-defeating habits can have tragic consequences. It is unfortunate but predictable that the lack of insight, self-understanding and self-control unwittingly leads to harm, of self and others.

The goal of working on ourselves psychologically is psychological liberty. To become more free — liberated from whatever is blocked, negative, and destructive — from whatever is unfree, conflicted, fearful, and wounded in ourselves. It is a process of becoming increasingly freed from our fears and conflicts, from our wayward passions and compulsions, from our disordered desires, inner confusions, and illusions.

In the last analysis, learning how to transcend the ego is nothing less than learning how to love.

Until we learn to truly love ourselves and others, there can be no hope of lasting happiness or peace or redemption.

It is because we do not love ourselves properly that we lose ourselves so easily in the many illusions ego sets before us (Riso, Personality Types, 348)

A truly free, psychologically liberated, enlightened person is transparent, open, unself-conscious, radiant, and accessible to others.

Psychological Assessment


Psychological assessments, when used properly, are an effective supplement to personal resources in the journey toward health, happiness, and human flourishing | eudaimonia. I often incorporate a variety of personality and emotional intelligence assessments into my work with others through the Myers-Briggs company My online assessment center is here You can take the Enneagram test yourself here

*Note: this page contains excerpts from the brilliant psychological-spiritual developmental theory of the late Don Richard Riso, co-founder of the, and author of the source cited here, Understanding the Enneagram.