Handwriting analyst studies personalities
Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, July 19, 2012 15:07
Sleeping Moon Café, a local coffee, tea and sandwich lounge, boasts an atmosphere of artistic spirit and calmness. In the back of the shop, there is a woman who sits and awaits as people approach her in hopes that after talking with her they will gain a bit more insight as to who they really are.
Marcia Gervase, a 61-year-old Central Florida resident, spends time at Sleeping Moon Café every Wednesday from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and works part time analyzing people’s handwriting. Gervase, who calls herself a handwriting graphoanalyst, has practiced the trade for more than 20 years. She shows just how much handwriting analysis can tell about a person, their personality and the flaws within their character.
Gervase, who said she grew up as a “military brat,” hopped from place to place in various parts of the world, including Rio de Janeiro. Her family eventually decided to settle down in California, where she learned her craft.
The time she spent there was when the state was experiencing an avant-garde movement toward alternative culture and healing. It was there she met a boyfriend, but upon taking a handwriting analysis class, she learned about personality traits. She discovered his traits added up to him being the type of person who would end up hurting her, so she looked deep within herself to never let an incident like what she experienced occur again. This sparked her motivation to take up handwriting analysis.
“I loved it from the very first minute,” Gervase said.
She felt empowered by this new information and skill she quickly picked up.
“The teacher within three lessons told me, ‘You really have a knack for this. You really need to take some deeper courses on this,’” Gervase said.
She said handwriting can show all the different types of personality traits for people, especially their cursive handwriting. She discussed how she attended a school that taught, starting with the basics, classes that prepare people to be able to analyze the different strokes and what they each mean and how to correlate them to the human personality. She said there are many schools that teach handwriting analysis, yet not many people use it commercially like she does. Gervase said it is used in police cases or questionable documents.
“Handwriting analysis has been around for at least 80 years, yet look how rare it still is,” Gervase said. “It’s not something people have a clear understanding of what it is in the first place, and that’s why they probably do not gravitate towards it so much.”
For 12 years, she has done teach-in days for various schools in Orange and Seminole counties. The school systems invite people from the community in for students to learn about future career opportunities and other occupations people have in the community.
Gervase said she uses this as a tool to help people understand how they can make their lives even richer and more enjoyable because they are not fighting themselves. She provides people with not just a personality profile, but she shows the personality traits and then provides them with the techniques and tools to change their handwriting to change a trait that doesn’t support their goals, dreams and lifestyles. She allows them to adapt themselves to have this trait naturally occur in their handwriting so it is deliberately “rewiring” the brain to change this trait.
Aura Reyes, a senior at UCF who is studying communication sciences and disorders, learned about Gervase through an ad that she and her friend saw after arriving late to a Zumba class. After a month of considering it, Reyes went to Gervase’s class, and oddly enough, the topic was about auras. Reyes discussed, after having her handwriting analyzed, how Gervase provided techniques to aid her in the future career path for speech therapy to help her be more analytical, which included improving how she wrote her M’s and N’s.
“If you’re open-minded and you’re up for a challenge, it opens the door for what you know about yourself and what you don’t know about yourself. It’s definitely worth a try,” Reyes said after her handwriting was analyzed and she spoke with Gervase.
Unlike Reyes, some people are skeptical of the helpfulness and relevance of Gervase’s skill.
Jeff Cassisi, head of the psychology department at UCF, expressed skepticism at Gervase’s craft and argued that it is not a real science.
“It has no established empirical support; it has no reliability or valid data supporting that it is anything more than just a belief system,” Cassisi said. “The measures have not been independently correlated with anything we know about personality.”
He discussed how the study of psychology relies on validity and reliability to be the cornerstones of the field. He said there is no scientific support on this claim of how handwriting analysis can correlate to someone’s personality. Cassisi added that it would be useful if there was some benefit from handwriting analysis that would give people information on a person that they wouldn’t otherwise have from just talking with them.
Although there are differing views on graphoanalysis, many do not know about the concept at all. Gervase argues that this study is legitimate and in the coming years will grow to expand and more people will start to recognize its true significance as a determinant of personality.
“You’re really looking at every stroke,” Gervase said, “and every stroke reveals.”