web analytics
October 26, 2014 / 2 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Handwriting Analysis Has Jewish Roots, Says Therapist

hebrew handwriting

While we may think of it as a cheap parlor trick, handwriting analysis is the most Jewish thing in the world, says therapist Annette Poizner. It’s certainly fallen into disrepute here in North America, but elsewhere, especially in Israel, it’s a highly respected art – and science.

Poizner, who has a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University in New York and a Doctorate of Education in Counseling Psychology from OISE/University of Toronto, is also chair of Toronto’s Jewish Health Alliance, and has spent twenty years studying handwriting from a Jewish perspective.

We all know that the early pioneers of psychology and psychotherapy were Jewish, but an interest in handwriting preceded that by millennia – and may have led to the creation of the field of psychology in the first place. “The Hebrew alphabet is unique,” says Poizner. “Every letter has a shape that relates to the concept of that letter: ‘bet’ is a bayit (a house), ‘fay’ is like a peh (a mouth). The form of letters Is meaningful, not random like some languages.”

In order to reintroduce graphology (handwriting analysis) to the clinical mainstream, and establish its respectability, Poizner published her textbook, Clinical Graphology: An Interpretive Manual for Mental Health Practitioners (2012, Charles C Thomas Publisher), through “a peer-reviewed, academic publishing house which publishes classics in the sphere of psychological measurement and psychiatry… it’s a scholarly, academic piece of work.”

Yet even while promoting the discipline among mainstream practitioners and publicizing her work in Readers Digest and other publications, where she analyzes handwriting of prominent celebrities and politicians, the Jewish aspects of graphology continued to fascinate Poizner.

“When I applied for the Jerusalem Fellowships, twenty years ago, they insisted you hand-write the application… It’s very common in Israel to have handwriting analysis for anything that involves entry to a kibbutz, a job; it’s fairly familiar to Israelis that there’s probably going to be some handwriting analysis.”

In fact, that experience in Israel led her to graphology and from there into therapy. She found out about and met with Dr. Meshulom Teller, a Jerusalem-based therapist who was working extensively with graphology at the time. “It was so impactful, I decided to go back to Israel to do clinical work with him” and his own teacher, Baruch Lazewnik.

After her intensive experience in Israel, seeing the benefits of graphology in a therapy setting, she came back to North America and decided to study psychology. Her faculty advisor immediately tried to discourage her: “I have to tell you that graphology has virtually no place in the field of psychology in North America.”

She set about trying to create change, bringing Israeli know-how and the wealth of Jewish teaching on the subject to a clinical audience who was not initially receptive. And today, through her textbook and through talks to professional and non-professional audiences, she is beginning to see change.

Her clients would be the first to say that graphology works, cutting through barriers and making counseling sessions more efficient and productive. “If you can analyze people, there’s a real novelty effect: ‘Wow, that’s so interesting.’ If you can tell them meaningful accurate feedback that actually illuminates the path of what needs to happen, you have saved many sessions of ‘getting to know you,’ ‘let me tell you my story.’”

This is nothing new, of course, from a Jewish perspective. When the Jewish people received the Aseret HaDibrot (Ten Commandments), Hashem begins with “anochi” – an abbreviation of the phrase, “ana, nafshi, k’tavit, yahavit,” “I myself wrote and gave [these words to you].” Or, in a more poetic translation credited to Simon Jacobson, “my soul is inscribed in these written words I gave you.”

About the Author: Jennifer MacLeod is a regular freelancer for the Canadian Jewish News, in addition to publishing on Aish.com, Jewish Action, Jewish Homemaker, New York Jewish Week, and Horizons Magazine. She blogs at Adventures in AliyahLand


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “Handwriting Analysis Has Jewish Roots, Says Therapist”

  1. Ben Eliezer says:

    Nice. In the essay below, the writer brings some examples of handwriting analysis of Jewish leaders:
    http://m.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/723687/jewish/Spiritual-Graphology-The-Soul-of-Handwriting.htm

  2. Ben Eliezer says:

    And here’s the full thesis on the Baal HaTanya’s handwriting analysis (in the original Hebrew; I can’t locate an English rendition):
    http://www.toratchabad.com/contents.asp?aid=79521

  3. I thought handwriting analysis was used for detective work, but never thought of it for psychological work. I know very little about the Hebrew language though, so I find it very interesting that each character is symbolic. This gives the language an added level of depth which could be used for any number of things from hidden metaphors or riddles within riddles. Very cool. Hebrew poets probably operate on so many planes partly because of this, and simply knowing Hebrew probably makes a person better able to see things from multiple angles.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Terrorists attack Israeli soldiers with a Molotov cocktail in Arab village near Ramallah.
Palestinian Authority-American Shot Dead while Trying to Kill Jews
Latest Indepth Stories
British Flag

{Originally posted on author’s site, Liberty Unyielding} Never let a crisis go to waste. That’s the mantra – and a new development in Britain demonstrates how the Western left lives by it, and contributes thereby to the destruction of Western culture. Alert readers will remember the so-called “Trojan Horse plot” in Birmingham, first reported in […]

quiet

Introverts are more likely to pause, view the world from a distance, and think how to make it better

Lewis-102414-Nachal-Hareidi

I couldn’t see why I was different from Israeli boys my age. I too wanted to defend our country.

Eller-102414-Cart

I had to hire a babysitter so that I could go shopping or have someone come with me to push Caroline in her wheelchair.

Widespread agreement in Israel opposing Palestinian diplomatic warfare, commonly called “lawfare.”

Arab terrorism against Jews and the State of Israel is not something we should be “calm” about.

The Israeli left, led by tenured academics, endorses pretty much anything harmful to its own country

We were devastated: The exploitation of our father’s murder as a vehicle for political commentary.

Judea and Samaria (Yesha) have been governed by the IDF and not officially under Israeli sovereignty

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

n past decades, Oman has struck a diplomatic balance between Saudi Arabia, the West, and Iran.

The Torah scroll which my family donated will ride aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier

The Jewish Press endorses the reelection of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. His record as governor these past four years offers eloquent testimony to the experience and vision he has to lead the Empire State for the next four years.

I think Seth Lipsky is amazing, but it just drives home the point that newspapers have a lot of moving parts.

More Articles from Jennifer M. MacLeod
Bring your family, tour group, seminary or yeshiva. You'll have lots of fun picking the olives and turning them into oil - all within a few hours.

Shemen LaMeor will create jobs and reinvigorate the region’s agriculture while preserving its unique character.

Jennifer snapped a selfie in front of the Knesset before PM Harper's Jan. 21 speech.

Having made aliyah from Canada last August, I’m one of the newest Israelis, but this week, I’m also one of the proudest.

Reintroducing graphology (handwriting analysis) to the clinical mainstream.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/handwriting-analysis-has-jewish-roots-says-therapist/2014/01/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: