Graphotherapy for Success
The act of writing is therapeutic. Through writing “we exteriorize in words”, thoughts, wishes and emotions, which we “liberate” by expressing them in the sheet of paper. We heal emotional wounds and we channel resentment. This action is often as healing or more healing than the spoken word.
Through handwriting analysis, it is possible to deduce people’s states of mind, their character, temper, skills, emotions and even their physiology and health level.
Recent neurological research demonstrates that the learning process of reading and writing produces structural changes in the brain, which increment the density of the white and grey matter.
What is Graphotherapy?
Graphotherapy or graphical re-education is a branch of graphology, whose goal is to modify the graphical gesture in a conscious way, in order to produce changes in personality at a subconscious level to improve innumerous challenges. It is a complementary tool to other disciplines such as psychology, which is based on the rational execution of universal movements, which are incorporated with repetition of graphical exercises.
How does Graphotherapy work?
The process of writing is established through a nervous circuit initiated in the left hemisphere of the brain, which sends sensorimotor signals to the hand, which executes the orders it transmits. Before starting with Graphotherapy, it is essential to carry out an exhaustive analysis of the writing in question and the strokes that are part of it.
It is possible to apply the inverted path. Acting on the brain mechanisms and revert the process of writing, modifying our customs, until they become habits, changing the information in our mind.
Research on certain neurological mechanisms carried out by American scientist Eric Richard Kandel, born in Vienna, 1929, have been revealing for Graphotherapy’s fundamentals. Neuronal connections are not immutable as we used to believe. Kandel emphasized the difference between neuronal plasticity and neuronal elasticity.
Neuronal elasticity implies a temporary change that goes back to the original shape when the cause that produces it is interrupted. When stimulus is applied there is no change. (In this case the stimulus is the repetition of written strokes in a methodical way).
Neuronal plasticity implies a permanent change despite the interruption of the cause. The stimulus is interrupted but the change remains. It is the existence of a cause (learning of new ways of writing), which produces a change whose improvement tends to last over time (memory).
Sigmund Freud incorporates the idea of plasticity in learning and memory mechanisms. “Experiences leave marks”. This is the basis of psychoanalysis. Due to the law of reversibility, when modifying strokes through repeated graphical exercise, change in behavior is favored, since the path from the brain to the sheet of paper is reversible.
Also read: Handwriting Analysis Chart
Graphotherapy and its Movements
Graphotherapy is based on the rational execution of the unique twelve universal movements with any part of the body that are incorporated with the repletion of graphical exercises. It allows assistance to people who have not learned to write or that belong to other cultures and write with different characters or that due to certain disability, their mobility has been affected. These repetitions work as stimulus, generating new paths of association between inter-neurons.
The twelve basic strokes or universal movements that rotate clockwise and counter-clockwise: up, down, leftwards and rightwards and get combined to execute not only letters, but all of our daily activities, from stirring a cup of coffee with a spoon to combing our hair or moving the mouse of the computer.
The tendency that each individual has to conduct themselves in one or another direction is related to symbolism of space of Max Pulver that we have mentioned in various opportunities.
- Ascending movements express spiritual tendencies and they mean that we move towards what we aspire, our ideals, our ambitions to improve ourselves.
- Descending movements reveal material tendencies, physical, biological and organic (such as nutrition, physical work, sports).
- Leftward movements imply reflection, analysis, introversion, relationship with past experiences, impulses towards maternal impulses, regression towards family, the past and childish attitudes.
- Rightward movements reveal extroversion, mature and adult attitude, relationship with the environment, direction of our ongoing projects towards the future and towards desired goals.
The exercises that are performed are not the calligraphic type, but exercises where we practice shapes, movement, rhythm, pressure, inclination and the other graphical aspects, contemplating the symbolism of space of Max Pulver.
In writing, like in our daily activities, our gestures, mimic and these twelve movements are recorded. We have the possibility to analyze them through the study of the graphical aspects, shape, pressure, speed, direction, dimension, inclination, continuity and order that will provide precise and exact information about our impulses and neurological circuits that define our conduct and physiological activity.
Graphotherapy and Evolution of Treatment
Graphotherapy sessions start by taking a sample of initial writing of the analyzed individual. The profile of the personality is done and the guidelines of work are administrated, in order to apply them to strokes that are susceptible to modification.
This is one of the first tasks that involves the rehabilitation process, the challenge of working in the spatial organization of the page, reestablishing the global aspect of the graphical space in order to then change the individual characteristics.
The process is applied according to the needs of each individual and the guidelines of the modules of “writing well and writing healthy” that we describe below:
- The writing must be slightly inclined to the right. With this movement, extroversion, appropriate relationship with others and proper advance towards the future are fostered.
- Letters must be connected (except cases such as periods, accent marks, bars of letter “ñ”, inverted commas and others). With this trait, we reinforce continuity in activity, tenacity, sociability and tendency for contact and ability for summarization.
- T-bars. With this trait, we work on will and continuity of work and our business and professional areas.
- I-dots. Must never be omitted. With this, we foster attention and concentration.
- Horizontal direction of lines. With this trait, we control variations of our state of mind and mood of a person. We correct both depressive and euphoric states.
- Order/ Layout: Correct spacing between lines in the writing. Upper and lower extensions, that are the upper and lower parts of letters, must never be mixed or touch each other. With this, we develop clarity in ideas and thought.
What are fretworks?
Graph-motor is carried out with the use of borders called fretworks, which are formed by straight and curve strokes, depending on the traits and movements that we seek to strengthen or soften. The use of fretworks contributes to make our hands get used to new movements and rotations to train the graphical impulse, distributing energy and muscle relaxation for the writing zones to be in equilibrium. From the psychological point of view, perception of geometrical shapes produces tension and curved shapes have a symbolic projection towards the interior. Harmonic shapes relax and produce acceptance. The circle impacts in both cerebral hemispheres simultaneously, producing benefits. This is why creative Graphotherapy uses mandalas.
Creative Graphotherapy: Mandalas
What is a mandala and what does it symbolize?
The term mandala derives from Sanskrit and means sacred circle, wheel, center, magic ring. It symbolizes the universe and it is composed by concentric geometric designs. Mandalas are used in the East from the times of dawn to meditate, equilibrate disorders that unbalance the individual. They have been found engraved in the pyramids of Egypt, in papyrus, in the Chinese civilization, among others. They have their ancestral origin in India, but they have been spread throughout the eastern cultures.
They contribute to concentrate energy, to harmonize and control anxiety that emerges in crisis moments. They represent the connection in our inner world and outer reality. They are images that influence the human being at a subconscious level.
Carl G. Jüng introduced mandalas to the Western civilization and to modern psychology, investigating his on psyche. He carried a personal diary in which he expressed his drawings and dreams every morning when waking up. These expressions changed according to his state of mind. Some mandalas present four directions that he connected with the four psychological functions: thinking, feeling, intuiting and perceiving.
Through the use of mandalas, he managed to discover the shaded subconscious content, achieving the integration of the psyche.
According to Carl Jüng, “mandalas represent the totality of the mind, including the conscious as well as the subconscious”. Culturally the mandala symbol is associated to the self or yourself. The goal of life is to get to that “self”, which is transcend all opposites. As human beings mature over time and through experiences, they are expected to develop their self, their “themselves”, and be less egocentric. That they approach more to others.
Graphotherapy: The Golden Rules of Graphical Reeducation
According to Professor Mauricio Xandró, these rules are:
- Organized writing
- Predominance of curves over angles
- Vertical or slightly inclined towards the right writing
- Progressive writing
- Agility in movements
- Spontaneity in writing
- Grouped writing
- Predominance of garlands over arches
- Simplified writing
Graphotherapy may be applied in multiple scenarios. It can improve ability for concentration, memory, school performance with the consequent improvement in self-confidence and self-esteem in children. It is a tool for parents to get to know their children, monitor them and guide them in the right path.
It is useful for rehabilitation after brain damage, dysgraphia, dyslexia and Parkinson.
In Psychiatry, to study mental disorders, different types of stress, lack of will, concentration and attention, behavior disorders, obsessions, disorganization and disorder in general, self-esteem issues and personal insecurities, among others.
Read also: Resilience in Handwriting