Peter Clark didn’t learn to write until first grade. Once he did, there was no holding him; it birthed a lifelong fascination with handwriting, leading him to become a professional graphologist.
“Once I learned to write, I began reading encyclopedias and secret agent books, and invented new alphabets for secret codes and ciphers,” he says.
He loved to hike around trails near his childhood home in the Southern Appalachian Mountains in search of secret words and symbols.
“The popular name for what I do is ‘handwriting analysis,’ and publishers love books on handwriting analysis because it’s a good moneymaker,” he explains.
“But this popularity has limited publication of serious research in graphology. Professional graphology is an empirical method for measuring character using handwriting. It developed 50 years before psychology and was originally based on archeological research on the comparison of handwritings. It’s now developed a much broader research base, particularly in the neurosciences.”
When his family moved to Iola, Clark attended a graphoanalysis class at the local community college, taught by his mother’s friend. Afterward he connected with the International Graphoanalysis Society and passed the general certification course while completing his preparatory college diploma at Iola High School in 1976.
He quit Kansas University a year after enrolling when he became disillusioned with psychology and human biology’s avoidance of dealing with the mind-body relationship. After working in the electronics industry for three years, he returned KU to work in its various libraries. He was promoted to data entry automation supervisor at Watson library and became familiar with all KU library systems.
“I learned to become a lifelong student while working in the libraries,” he explains.
“I began reading philosophy and neurosciences as they related to handwriting and character. I studied the most ancient and most up-to-date references.”
He worked part time as a consultant graphologist, re-enrolled at KU, and graduated with a Bachelor of General Studies degree from the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a master’s degree from the School of Education.
He moved to Atlanta, where he was employed as a psychotherapist to use graphology to detect potential violence, ADD and other conditions in school children. He became clinical director at various substance abuse and mental health clinics in North Carolina, before returning to Atlanta in 2009 to expand his professional graphology work into a full-time consulting business. He moved back to Lawrence in 2010 to be closer to his elderly mother.
Clark believes graphological analysis can help people know themselves without judgment.
“When I assess character from handwriting, it has very little to do with the form of the letters (the calligraphy) and much more to do with the movement and energy of the handwriting. Well-trained writers may have great-looking letters but often lack the spontaneity and natural movement in their handwriting that I look at to assess their character. I can detect changes in the handwriting when it is less practiced,” he explains.
“When we get to know ourselves better and become more comfortable with our ‘messy’ handwriting, we can gain confidence and make good decisions about our lives.”