web analytics
April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Handwriting Analysis Has Jewish Roots, Says Therapist

hebrew handwriting

Share Button

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.”

Share Button

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.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

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

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
Arrival of self-declared mayor of Slaviansk at town's administrative offices in eastern Ukraine.
Israeli-American Journalist Held Hostage in Ukraine
Latest Indepth Stories
Al-Aksa Mosque was claimed to be the site from which Mohammed ascended to Heaven, but it was built nearly 50 years after Mohammed died.

Jerusalem only seems important in the Islamic world when non-Muslims control or capture the city.

Israeli police enter the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City to disperse stone-throwing Palestinian protesters.

Jordan’s king is adding fuel to the fire on the Temple Mount, blaming Israel for violence by Muslim Arab rioters.

Imam Suhail Webb who boasted his Muslim community persuaded Brandeis President Fred Lawrence to withdraw an invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

At Brandeis, much of what counts as Western civilization got cold feet and won’t stand with Hirsi Ali.

Text of anti-Semitic flyer distributed to Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine on Passover 2014.

But the lesson from this meditation is that hidden behind the anti-semitic act is the greatest light.

As support of their messianic dream, Halevi and Antepli approve dishonoring Hirsi Ali as a ‘renegade.’

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

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.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: