The term graphology is believed to have been first used in 1875 by Abbé Jean-Hippolyte Michon in the title of his book Système de Graphologie.

Graphology is the study of a person through the medium of handwriting. Each handwriting is unique and never duplicated much like a fingerprint. Similar to mannerisms, gait, facial expression and speech it is an expressive movement of the individual. Like the personality which it reflects, a person’s handwriting is never absolutely constant in all respects: it experiences a continual process of change mirroring the personality’s growth and stress, but its essential characteristics remain the same.

To analyze a handwriting the graphologist would need to know the age and sex of the writer, because these cannot be accurately seen through the writing. The age is often difficult to determine as there can be discrepancies between the person’s chronological age and psychological maturity. For example, some young people are seen to have matured beyond their years, whilst others are late developers.

The sex of the writer is also difficult to determine from the handwriting, since every individual has both the male (animus) and the female (anima) elements in their personality. Animus represents the masculine tendencies in the woman; such as practicality, increased objectivity, aggression and assertiveness. The anima represents the feminine tendencies in the man; such as sentiment or emotion, intuition, introspection or moodiness, artistic tendencies and increased subjectivity.

What purpose does graphology serve? Here are just some areas where it is used. In reality it has a role wherever and whenever one is dealing with human nature.

Education

Graphology serves as a guide to teachers providing them with insights into the personality of their pupils. It allows them to follow changes in the development of the child and to detect personality disorders or imbalances before these become a problem.

Grapho-therapy can suggest handwriting exercises for children with problems. Through remedial measures it is possible to instill a continuity and rhythm into the writing, and this has been known to show results in correcting disturbed aspects of the child’s personality.

Vocational guidance

Graphology is very widely used in determining aptitudes and suggesting suitable career choices.

Personnel Selection

Many firms and other institutions around the world use graphology to screen employees to determine their personality traits, fitness for a particular role, and objectively to identify their potential strengths and weaknesses.

Criminal Justice System

In courts of law, forensic graphology is used to validate the authenticity of handwritten documents. It is also used in criminal investigative work which requires personality profiling.

Inter-personal relationships

In virtually every arena of inter-personal relationships be it at work, in the family, between friends and in couples, graphology can be critical in identifying areas of compatibility and friction between individuals. In essence, graphology enables people to understand themselves, either in their own personal quest or as part of the solution to a relationship problem whether through a counsellor or otherwise.

The analysis of handwriting by a professional graphologist can guide one to a better understanding of the self; direct one to a job suited to the personality, provide advice on the type of life or work partner that would be compatible, explain strengths and weaknesses, and help in understanding close relationships. But any graphological analysis ought to be undertaken by a professionally qualified person – not, so to speak, an armchair or amateur graphologist.