Behavior: Pen-and-Pencil Therapy

Dark words on white paper bare the soul.

— Maupassant

Before D., an emotionally disturbed 18-year-old college girl, met Paul de Sainte Colombe, her handwriting looked like this:

That sample equipped De Sainte Colombe with all the clues he needed to diagnose the coed's distress. The tightly closed ovals — in the O's and A's, for instance — told him that she was deeply introverted. With particular concern, he examined the capital I's — her references to herself. They were small (insecurity); some of them seemed crushed, fallen, unable to rise. Without seeing Patient D.,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!