Book Review: Whole Identity

Whole+Idenity+Banner.jpgDuring my chaplaincy training, our cohort took the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETITM) test through the EnneagramTM Institute to learn about our personality “types.” The discussion was lively, and like any good CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) group, we talked it to death. My scores were confusing. Two types were within a point of each other for my personality type, and they appeared to be opposites. The RHETI descriptions and analysis didn’t help much either.

Ten years later, I took the test again and one personality type clearly rose above the others. Perhaps serving as a chaplain has made my personality “gel”? In actuality, I think it helped me be better able to do the self-analysis in answering the questions. But part of me wondered if this is all a wish-list of what I want to be, or think I should be. After all, like you, I’ve taken various tests to learn my leadership style, strengths, and even whether I am a “golden retriever” or an “otter” in my personality!

Over the years, I’ve read many of “the” books on the Enneagram, and attended workshops and webinars. People assume that pastors are “usually” a specific personality type (usually one of the “intuitive” types.) Some of us… are not. My main personality type fell into the “instinct” sub-set, which actually made sense when I thought about how I have managed my life changes and choices over the years. It’s how my sermon seed ideas are born. It’s how I have a “spidey-sense” when I need to check in on someone. My daughters will tell you that I have, more than once, known “something was up” and it was my reading of their response to life.

So it was with a bit of skepticism that I agreed to review another Eanneagram book. I’d kinda “done it to death.” I was pleasantly surprised.

Whole-IdentityTM: A Brain-Based EnneagramTM Model for (W)holistic Human Thriving by Dr. Jerome D. Lubbe uses contemporary and Functional Neurology language to help the reader incorporate all of the concepts within the Enneagram. It translates them into a tool that helps one integrate all that one discovers about oneself through the Enneagram. As you review your own profile using Dr. Lubbe’s method, you gain better insight into areas of emotional, relational, spiritual, physical, and mental growth.  I was delightfully surprised by the book’s approach and methodology. It uses the RHETI, but applies them through a lens of how all nine numbers are holistically borne out in your truest self.

The book guides the reader step-by-step through a careful analysis of your RHETI score (note: you need to have taken the full RHETI on-line because you need the data for the analysis.) The “Whole-Identity Profile” that you create through Lubbe’s method is an amalgam of the traditional model of the Enneagram and neurological function. Lubbe helps you reflect on the ways that you use the intelligence centers of instinct, intuition, and intellect with the neuroscience of left-brain, right-brain, and brain stem.

The creative person in me loved the graphics and illustrations for various portions of the analysis. The charts he provides allow you to see your (w)holistic responses, understand your best areas (‘most efficient’), and then give you tools to plan a way forward towards a more unified whole. As Ludde states, ‘”The Brain-Based Enneagram is not about being less broken, it is about become more whole.” For someone who leans into the work of self-expression and self-growth, particularly in my spirituality, it was revelatory.

I have referred back to my charts and data more than once in the weeks since I followed Dr. Ludde’s method. Combined with previous knowledge, I feel that I have a better understanding of my own type, and how I respond in the world of chaplaincy, or just as a human being. This is worth owning and using, particularly if you want actual science behind human behavior and personality expression.

Whole-IdentityTM: A Brain-Based EnneagramTM Model for (w)holistic human Thriving. Volume 1. Dr. Jerome D. Lubbe. (c) 2019. Thrive Neuro Theology. paperback 101 pages. Available from

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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