Foundations of the Enneagram

The Centers Approach

A Self-Paced Course and Online Space to Develop Three Centered Learning and Practice 

with Master Teacher Leslie Hershberger 

Start today by scrolling down to the bottom of this page! 

As the Enneagram’s popularity has increased, there’s a growing tendency to distill the system into flatland descriptions of behaviors.

This does an injustice to a system that is surprisingly accurate in identifying tenacious mental, emotional and behavioral patterns. The Enneagram gets to inner motivations.

Each Enneagram style has a core idealization, avoidance and protective defense mechanism.  

But cognitive understanding isn’t enough.  Our somatic, emotional and social conditioning is strong.

We need to practice something new as we can’t think our way into new ways of being.

People read all sorts of books and take courses on everything from leadership to self-development to spirituality to Integral Theory to new approaches like Brene Brown’s groundbreaking work on shame and vulnerability, but often don’t get past cognitive understanding of the material.

Over 10 years ago, I did a deep dive into the Enneagram Centers of Head, Heart and Body as I was curious WHY we can know ABOUT something new yet struggle with sustained change.

The approaches to teaching the Enneagram seem partial. Furthermore, teachings on the BODY center felt mechanical to types 8/9/1 who actually inhabit this center.

The Centers Approach fundamentally altered the way I work on myself, coach clients, do spiritual guidance work with them and teach the Enneagram.

For the first time, I am offering the  Centers Approach online. This 101 course is designed for people new to the Enneagram, coaches, teachers, counselors and anyone who desires to incorporate Enneagram learning into your personal work with yourself and others.

Yet, cognitive learning isn’t enough. You will be given practical tools and meditations focused on practice.

The Centers Approach to the Enneagram is finally an embodied approach that foregrounds all 3 of your Centers. Join me and the 9 panelists who share what it’s like to live in their Dominant Center. 


The Centers Approach

Relationships impact our health, well-being and our deepest nature as human beings.

The way other people communicate and behave can be mystifying.
In these unprecedented times, we can actually
practice engaging one another more effectively.

In over 20 years of working with teams, leaders, parents, couples and people
wanting to understand themselves and others,
I continue to practice this:

It’s not about knowing more. It’s about knowing with more OF you.

The most underrated, misunderstood aspect of Enneagram teaching is understanding the Centers and their Functions. 

If you want to understand your Enneagram road to inner freedom, you must understand how these centers both support and hijack inner work, healthy relationships and spiritual freedom.

We must practice as 3 Centered Beings. Here we learn how.

In this course, you will:

Learn Your Dominant Center

You might already know your Dominant Center (Head/Heart/Body) if you’ve been learning the Enneagram. But do you understand the subtle ways your overused Center drives your thoughts, emotions and interactions because it is housed in your body?

My friend said when she met me, I felt like a head on a stick. I was so focused on figuring things out and was running on excessive mental energy which impacts connecting to others.”

(An Enneagram 7)

Learn the core function of your Dominant Center

Your Dominant Center actually has a function that evolved for your survival. This is primal stuff hardwired into our bodies based on conditioned tendencies, life experience and social and economic location. Your Dominant Center has a protective function, but it’s partial.  

I wish I knew this when I learned the Enneagram…that I feel things like a tsunami in my body. Trying to articulate how I feel is almost impossible and people think I’m holding back.”

(An Enneagram 9)

Access all 3 Centers

Your Buried Center often gets you trouble when it’s operating on automatic. Your Secondary Center can support you in bringing your Three Centers into attunement. This isn’t about perfection which most always gets you in trouble as we somatically contract when grinding towards perfection. It’s about practice. You learn practical skills for Centers awareness and opening to other centers.

“I like the term Leslie uses: ‘good enough’ alignment. I am so hard on myself when I slip into DOING as a heart type. My Pause Practice brings me home to myself throughout the day as I see WHY my attention is on others….the need to CONNECT, a fundamental human need!”

(An Enneagram 2)

Listen to a type exemplar of each of the 9 Enneagram types

Listent to 9 type exemplars who have been working on themselves through the lens of their Enneagram Centers. 

“I felt like my partner was always drilling me. Doesn’t he trust me? It softened me as I listened to the panelist describe his anxiety as a kid when his parents traveled constantly. All his questions are about his need for support.”

(An Enneagram 1)

From Reactivity to Mindful Response

The Pause Practices

We become what we practice. Your muscles and tissues have memory. They carry your history. Your thinking patterns (often deeply impacted by your Enneagram type) are held in your body which is why you sometimes react in ways that aren’t in alignment with your values. Work with a weekly Pause Practice as a way of uprooting conditioned tendencies.

“I used to joke that I hated my Pause Practice of allowing myself to feel vulnerable as a leader. I don’t any more. I thought if I was transparent, people wouldn’t trust me. They actually trust me more.”

(A 3 leader)

Practice a meditation designed for each Center

We recommend you foreground the meditations so you can practice living from  each center. 

Watch Leslie facilitate live interactions with real people

I’ve been teaching the Centers Approach for 10 years. You will hear from people who have been working with the Enneagram through the lens of The Centers. Hearing narratives from real people connects you in real ways to the concepts. It brings the teaching alive. 

(Leslie facilitating a 9 Panel)

“Leslie’s work with people is unlike any I’ve ever seen. It’s intuition at work and she clearly cares.”

Whether you’re new to the Enneagram or a long time student,
therapist or coach,
join Master Teacher Leslie Hershberger for a refreshing approach to
the Enneagram grounded in practice and embodiment.

“The Enneagram isn’t the first thing.
The first thing is your life.
It’s your relationships.
It’s these unprecedented times. 
But it’s your tenacious Enneagram patterns impacting your ability to
sustain meaningful change. 
As for me, I’m still learning.”

– Leslie Hershberger

About Leslie

Leslie Hershberger MA has been working with the Enneagram through The Centers Approach for over 20 years as a consultant, master teacher, facilitator, coach, spiritual guide, mentor and practitioner.

While she’s done deep dive study in the Enneagram and has written countless articles, her Enneagram expertise has come from years of “boots on the ground” work with hundreds of real people in countless settings: universities, businesses, schools, churches, non-profits, recovery communities and hospitals.

Leslie has great respect for “lineage” as she stands on the shoulders of people who have devoted their lives to a core competency in mature adult development. The core building blocks that have shaped and informed her work include:

  • The Narrative Enneagram with Founders Helen Palmer and David Daniels MD
  • Enneagram in Business with Ginger Lapid Bogda PhD,
  • Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory,
  • Master’s in inter-spiritual/contemplative theology,
  • Robert Kegan’s Developmental Psychology: Theory of the Evolving Self
  • Thomas  Hübl’s Collective Conscious Healing
  • Embodied Social Justice with Rev Angel Kyodo Williams


Leslie solidly meets the two major criteria I feel are necessary to be an excellent teacher in this field.  She is a continual learner about the system and its many aspects, and she is committed to her own journey to  “walk her talk.”  Her work is supported by many trainings and certifications in the Enneagram and other fields including an ongoing learning community with peers.  I have personally witnessed and admire her capacity to pause, reflect, and grow through difficult encounters.

I have also witnessed her incredible energy and commitment to bringing this work to the world.  Leslie is an innovator of the finest degree and has made many original contributions to the field of Enneagram study.   She weaves the Enneagram with Integral theory and neuroscience as well as other relevant modalities.

Leslie is a gift to the worldwide Enneagram community.  

From Terry’s letter to the International Enneagram Association supporting Leslie’s accreditation.

Terry Saracino

Core Faculty of the Narrative Enneagram

In these frenetic and attention-bating times, it takes skill to pause and ask how my intellect, my body, and my heart are responding. Leslie offers a practice-centered approach to recognizing all three of these centers, and returning to a sense of home. 
Popular Enneagram work can often fall short by focusing on personal identification, but Leslie’s approach, with the use of panels and contemplative practices is more practical, with deeper lasting practices for transforming life and relationships. 
It’s been a privilege to facilitate with her, to receive her coaching, and to include her as a core leader in our contemplative community. 
Troy Bronsink

Founder/Director, The Hive: A Center for Contemplation, Art, and Action

Leslie is both warm hearted, and thoughtful in her teaching and coaching. I have witnessed her depth of knowledge, teaching skill, and awareness. I consider her a brilliant teacher and coach. Her insight into the fundamentals of their personal and spiritual development makes her teaching especially poignant. I recommend her highly.

David Daniels

M.D. co-founder of the Enneagram Professional Training Program (EPTP) and Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford Medical School. Author of The Essential Enneagram and The Enneagram, Relationships and Intimacy: Understanding One Another Leads to Loving Better and Living More Fully

Leslie is a master. She’s a wonderful teacher and gets in the zone with my students. She’s humorous, extremely articulate, can speak from many perspectives and creates an environment for people to show up and learn. She’s not all fluff and presentation. She has a real depth of experience and knowledge. She’s the best of her generation out there. 

John Dupuy

CEO of Integral Recovery® and iAwake Technologies, LLC

Leslie’s impresses me deeply because of her integrative focus and clarity. I have come to understand and admire Leslie’s very deep and very broad perspective on spiritual pursuits and practice. I have also come to know what a gifted, patient, and generous teacher she is.

Jack Killen

Former Director of the Office of International Health Research (OIHR), National Institute of Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

I first came across Leslie via her Youtube videos on the Enneagram. What drew me to her was her compassionate, non-judgmental approach and her intelligence. She clearly knew her stuff! So I booked in for a set of four sessions. I had been blocked for several years regarding a particular project, but as Leslie astutely observed, the block was about much more than my project.

Through a process of deep listening and intuitively sensing what tools and practices might help me, she guided me in a process of being present to my experience which led to a profound internal shift.

As I continue to practice daily what she has taught me, I am happy to report that the block is dissolving little by little. As someone who had been stuck for years, this is quite remarkable. I’ve also noticed a flow-on effect in other areas of my life –  more equanimity, less judgement of self and others, and a lot more self compassion. So if you’re looking to go deeper, heal old wounds, change unhelpful patterns or simply get to know yourself better, I highly recommend Leslie. She’s a wise, skilful counsellor with a great sense of humour and you will come away the richer for it.


Australia' who has worked with Leslie using The Centers Approach

Leslie is probably the most gifted Enneagram teacher out there. She’s excellent, dynamic, funny, has a heart and a desire to serve. She is approachable and  works well with clients. She takes the Enneagram from surface level to depth, gets grounded and you can hear her compassion. As she gently guides my students with equanimity, I am incredibly impressed. I’ve never seen the Enneagram used the way she works with it. 

Pam Parsons Dupuy

Marriage and Family Therapist, COO iAwake Technologies

Leslie’s approach makes so much sense.  It is one thing to say the Enneagram centers are fluid and another to teach how to move with intentionality between them. Leslie gave me keys to accessing all three centers and she does this like the expert she is. 
Her teaching goes on to name with clarity, not only my pattern but also how to move to the underutilized centers with intentionality. As a Head Type on the Enneagram, this understanding helps me bridge my dominant Perceiving center to my buried Doing center. I draw on this teaching daily.  
Her teaching also helps me see my own patterns and how to move out of stuck places. She gives words to what feels like I knew all along. In short, it deeply resonates. I identify with the Type 6 pattern and really appreciate the way she holds story and analytical analysis together. 
I draw on teaching from and practices from Leslie daily as a hospice chaplain. Moving to the heart center when I am with patients and caregivers means I bring a compassionate presence with intentionality. 
Renee Kanagy

Hospice Chaplain

Working with Leslie through The Centers Approach set off so many lightbulbs for me. As an Enneagram 6 I spend a lot of time in my head, but Leslie’s approach and teaching style really helped me to embody and feel my way to a greater understanding of myself and my processes. The way that the information was presented made me feel like the most loving kind of light was shone on my blindspots. Things my friends and loved ones have tried to communicate with me around my presence and behavior that I’d previously struggled to understand suddenly clicked into place and made perfect sense. I’d highly recommend this course to anyone who is ready to illuminate their Enneagram type structure and engage with life and relationships in a more grounded and present way.   

Lee Pepper

Course Curriculum

Module 1:

An Introduction to the Enneagram: An Overview of the Diagram

The course begins with the basics of the Enneagram. We will explore each of the nine personality points and their dominant emotions and attentional styles before delving into primal, familial, cultural, and narrative influences on type.  We will also touch on wings and arrows, as well as subtypes to lay a strong foundation for your understanding of and engagement with the Enneagram.

This Module Includes:

  • Introduction to 9 types
  • What influences our type?
  • Wings & Arrows
  • Subtypes
  • Bonus Lecture: Self Awareness in Love and Work
  • Guided Meditation Body Scan
  • PDF

Module 2:

The Centers Approach

First of all, the Body Center does not get its full due in classic Enneagram teaching. Listen to the words. Gut. Survival. Power and control. Sounds mechanistic? Where’s the life? Do we really want to keep demonizing the body? These bodies are theground of human experience!They have an extraordinary intelligence that is constantly picking up data that surrounds us.

The Heart Center is over-reliant on Doing to shape connection which paradoxically impedes authentic connection while the Head Center resists doing as there’s so much more to think about! Let’s dive more fully into this.

We have all three centers and overuse one while burying the other. In this module, we get into the nuts and bolts of this unique way of working with the Enneagram through an overview of The Centers Approach.

This Module Includes:

  • An Introduction to the Three Centers: The Three Core Emotions, The Three Centers, and Each Center’s Crucial Function For Survival
  • A Three Centered Guided Meditation
  • PDF with Simple Practices for Three Centered Living

Module 3:

Body Center (8/9/1): The Feeling Center

This Module Includes:

  • An overview of the Body Center which is ground zero for your Feeling function which gives you access to your life force. It’s like a seismograph sensing data in the environment before you’re ever conscious of it.
  • Overview of Type 8 The Protector and Exemplar Interview
  • Overview of Type 9 The Mediator and Exemplar Interview
  • Overview of Type 1 The Perfectionist and Exemplar Interview
  • Informational PDF on Each Body Type
  • Body Center Guided Meditation

Module 4:

Heart Center (2/3/4): The Doing Center

This Module Includes:

  • An overview of the Heart Center which is the center of emotional intelligence which is about connection: making contact, being  valued, accepted, mirrored, appreciated.
  • Overview of Type 2 The Giver and Exemplar Interview
  • Overview of Type 3 The Performer and Exemplar Interview
  • Overview of Type 4 The Romantic and Exemplar Interview
  • Video offering recommendations for being in relationship with a Heart Type
  • Informational PDF of Each Heart Type
  • Heart Center Guided Meditation

Module 5:

Head Center (5/6/7): The Perceiving Center

This Module Includes:

  • An overview of the Head Center which is the center of mental intelligence focuses the attention of the mind and searches for meaning through the perceptual function.
  • Overview of Type 5 The Observer and Exemplar Interview
  • Overview of Type 6 The Loyal Skeptic and Exemplar Interview
  • Overview of Type 7 The Epicure and Exemplar Interview
  • Video offering recommendations for being in relationship with a Head Type
  • Informational PDF of Each Head Type
  • Head Center Guided Meditation

Overview of Course Features


  • Over 4.5 Hours of Educational Videos
  • PDF documents with educational resources and practices for each type
  • Reflection questions for your Center
  • Five Guided Meditation mp3s
  • Bonus videos for those who want to go deeper in understanding the Evolutionary Function of the 9 Enneagram types along with information on the Neurobiology of the Types.

Register Now!

One Time Payment


One time payment upon registration

Payment Plan


/ month for 4 months

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