Society Conference Reports for 2000
February 5, 2000
In Memory of Thea Stein Lewinson
Recognizing Dangerousness in Handwriting
Virginia DiLeo discussed using graphology to uncover criminal and/or disturbed behavior in conjunction with several other techniques. These included the use of forensic and behavioral profiling, and using questioned document techniques together with drawings and letters of disturbed or abused children to discover the author of an anonymous threatening note. DiLeo also showed examples of how the "before" and "after" handwritings of disturbed children often improved after "nurturing therapy."
The commonly found graphics of several dangerous personality types (stalkers, the general criminal character, serial killers, pedophiles, rapists, etc.) were discussed and further enumerated in a hand-out for attendees.
Ms. DiLeo has an active graphology practice and has conducted extensive research on drug addiction, stalkers, and the evaluation of dangerousness. She has taught graphology at Long Island University, and is the published author of Drug Addiction in the Handwriting of Adolescents and Young Adults.
Dr. Marc Seifer
Disguise in Handwriting
Dr. Seifer discussed the different types of disguised handwritings, and some of the pitfalls in trying to discern disguise. He said that in an analysis, it is most important to separate what you think is true and what can be proved. If called to give an expert opinion, testimony should only be given about conclusions that can be proved with methodology.
Dr. Seifer showed numerous sets of writing samples in which subjects were asked to try to disguise their handwritings. The lecture audience agreed that, in some cases, it was often difficult to tell if the samples had been written by the same person when there were limited known standards available for comparison. Dr. Seifer said that the graphics people usually try to disguise are slant, size and speed, or they will attempt to print or revert to Palmer style. Unconsciousness graphic movements are more difficult to disguise, and include the formation of capital and small letters, the distance between letters, size ratio and the utilization of space. Also, it is important to remember that a person may often use different styles in his natural writing.
Marc Seifer has been a professional graphologist and questioned document examiner for more than 25 years, and had worked for the Fraud Unit division of the Attorney General's Office of Rhode Island since the late 1980s.
March 22, 2000
New Perspectives for Handwriting Analysis Using the Wittlich Method
Dafna Yalon gave a lecture on how the Wittlich system can be used to supplement a graphological report, provide a "quick scoring" comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of a given candidate, and serve as a second opinion to other methods of analysis. The main purpose of the Wittlich system is to offer a system which can bring users of various analysis styles to the same conclusions. A Wittlich analysis is divided into three stages: graphology, mathematics, and psychology. A computer program is available to speed up the mathematical calculations of the analysis.
Ms. Yalon explained that the advantage of Dr. Bernard Wittlich's system is twofold: it assigns a less subjective, numerical value to graphic qualities, and employs space symbolism through the use of a character diagram, unifying both the graphometric and holistic aspects of analysis. The character diagram is based on the theories of German characterologist Paul Helwig, and focuses on the twelve personality traits it deems most revealing. The resulting diagrams of different persons (i.e., boss/employee, man/woman) can be used in compatibility comparisons by placing one over the other. Ms. Yalon pointed out that while the Wittlich system does not provide a score for margins, signatures, or "personna" handwritings," it does offer additional scores for the qualities of motion, form, and space, and highlights eight potential areas of personality conflict.
Dafna Yalon is co-author with Rudi Danor of Towards Scientific Graphology, which describes the Wittlich system. A professional graphologist and handwriting analysis instructor at two teachers' colleges, she is also past president of Israel's Society for Scientific Graphology, and the current editor of her Society's journal.
May 6, 2000
Michel de Grave
Introduction to Szondian Graphology, Part I (Part II is continued in Spring of 2002)
Psychiatrist L. Szondi had an abiding interest in graphology, and supported the research comparing handwriting with the various factors in his test, which tap into unconscious drives and defense mechanisms. The Szondian approach to graphology is considered the most in-depth approach in graphology today, and creates a link between handwriting and the psychic mechanisms revealed in Szondi's methods.
Mr. de Grave explained that the Szondi school of thought is very close to that of Freud, and in fact, one of Szondi's major ambitions was to create something Freud never completed: an inventory of human drives. Mr. De Grave showed the audience portions of the Szondi test, which features a series of 48 photos-six sets of eight photos each-showing the image of a person suffering from mental disease. (It was Szondi's belief that mental disease had inherited causes, an idea later abandoned by others.) Mr. de Grave invited the audience to take the test, in which participants were asked to choose two most likeable, two least likeable, and four indifferent faces from each set. The test scoring involves the evaluation of four "vectors" and eight "tendencies," intended to reflect an area of the human psyche. The resulting profile is based on the emotional reaction to the images, similar to the Rorschach test. Those who took the test had the opportunity to have it scored by Mr. de Grave.
Mr. de Grave went on to describe the Contact Vector, the first of the four basic reactions, which represents the filial instinct, defined by the expression "to cling to" and "to leave in search of" tendencies.
Renowned for his understanding of the Szondi system and its application to graphology, Michel de Grave has given seminars on the subject throughout Europe and Canada. He studied in Belgium's old University of Louvain under Professor Jacques Scholte, a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and main disciple of Szondi, and also trained under another Sonzdi psychoanalyst. Mr. de Grave began his studies of graphology in 1975, and founded CEREG (European Circle of Research and Graphological Study) in 1987.
November 4, 2000
A Tribute to Thea Stein Lewinson
Pat Siegel began the conference with a special tribute to graphologist Thea Stein Lewinson, who passed away on September 5th of last year. The existence of our Society was due to Thea's inspiration, and was an outgrowth of her lifelong commitment to graphology. She was dogged in her adherence to scientific analysis and in her support of dynamic graphology.
For some sixty years, Thea's work as a handwriting analyst gave her a worldwide reputation. She attended multiple conferences yearly, published dozens of articles, and kept up her professional work well into her nineties. Her greatest contribution, and the one in which I think she took the most pride, was the creation of the Lewinson-Zubin system. Her ability to combine the classic principles of gestalt graphology with the statistical expertise of Joseph Zubin was sheer brilliance. She was determined to give graphology a scientific foundation, and she did.
Handwritings of Marie Antoinette
Renata Propper gave a presentation on how culture, circumstance, and turbulent change in the life of Marie Antoinette were reflected in her handwriting. Renata began with a writing sample from Marie at age 14, which depicted a young rebel who only wanted to have fun. At age 15, Marie was married by proxy in Vienna, and shortly afterward left for France to live at Versailles. She never returned to her family, and was surrounded by members of a royal court she could not trust. A handwriting sample 10 years later showed less spontaneity, and elements of disguise, isolation, and personna. Ms. Propper asserted that the two samples demonstrate a basic tenet of graphology: handwriting should always be put in the context of people's lives.
She also discussed the handwriting of Marie's husband Louis XVI, which revealed a sober personality, better suited for technical work than social life at court.
A professional graphologist for more than twenty years, Renata Propper is a founding member of the American Society of Professional Graphologists. She studied graphology initially with Daniel and Florence Anthony at The New School, and later with Dr. Hans Knoblock in Germany.
Daddy's Little Girl: The Impact of Fathers on Daughters as Mirrored in Their Handwritings
Ruth Brayer brought many examples of handwritings and drawings to illustrate her exploration of how a father's personality can impact a daughter's romantic choices later in life. She used Le Senne's typology of Emotive (emotional response capacity); Active (ability to take effective action); Primary (immediate response); and Secondary (delayed response) personalities to categorize the six father "types." She listed these as the Show Biz Father (E-A-P); the Weak Father (E-nonA-P); the Immature Father (nonE-A-P); the Demanding Father (E-A-S); the Perfectionist Father (nonE-A-S); and the Ideal Father (E-A-P and E-A-S). Ms. Brayer also characterized the five types of daughters as the Good, the Fearful, the Competitive, the Favored and the Maverick, explaining how each developed in response to one of the corresponding father types.
For those interested in further research, Ms. Brayer gave several resources including Women and Their Fathers by Victoria Secunda; The Men in Our Lives by Elizabeth Fishel; and Where Were You when I Needed You, Dad? by Jean Myers Drew.
Ruth Brayer is a professional graphologist and handwriting identification expert who received her training in both disciplines from Felix Klein. A certified witness for the Supreme Court of the State of New York, her book, Detecting Forgery in Fraud Investigations: The Insider's Guide, has recently been published.
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