Book Review: Whole-Identity

I have been working with the Enneagram since 2014, first in classes with Suzanne Stabile, and more recently through group work, reading, life application, and in my coaching practice. I was offered the opportunity to review Whole-Identity: A Brain-Based Enneagram Model for (W)holistic Human Thriving by Dr. Jerome D. Lubbe, which offers a unique tool for approaching Enneagram work. Dr. Lubbe introduces an interpretation that will appeal to anyone who doesn’t like the labels of personality typing. He offers the possibility that we are all of the numbers, that we have the potential to draw on not only the nine numbers but also the 18 wing combinations. His theory invites the reader to consider the Enneagram as a tool for development rather than one-and-done identification of a type.

To use the tool you have to take the RHETI exam offered by the the Enneagram Institute. Within the book, which is more of a workbook, there are diagrams in which to note your scores, followed by exercises called brain-based practical applications that offer action steps for growth.

I’ll be honest. This approach doesn’t speak to me. I already understood the Enneagram as a tool for psychological and spiritual growth. Every number has a repressed center of intelligence (Thinking, Feeling, Doing) and advanced personal work involves bringing that center into more active use as well as drawing on the strengths of the numbers we move toward in Stress and Security. Perhaps because I learned in a narrative Enneagram style, the charting of the numbers doesn’t have added value for me.

What I do appreciate is the connection of Neuroscience to the Enneagram. Connecting the parts of the brain to the Enneagram’s intelligence centers offers many insights for self-understanding and understanding others. I also appreciate Lubbe’s statement:

The Brain-Based Enneagram is not about being less broken, it is about becoming more whole.

The workbook itself is visually appealing. I tried the Thesaurus exercise for my number and found it helpful. I can imagine the overall concept being of great help if you like to use the part of your brain that enjoys diagrams instead of finding that a barrier as I did.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.