Welcome to the Psychobiography Group of the Psychohistory Forum

~Group Leaders: Paul Elovitz PhD, Claude-Helene Mayer, PhD, and Inna Rozentsvit, M.D., PhD~

We are pleased to inaugurate the Psychohistory Forum Research Group as a vital part of our organization.  Information on the Psychohistory Forum (1982-) and our journal, Clio’s Psyche (1994-), may be found as https://cliospsyche.org/archives.  Our psychobiography goals, plans, and the progress made are listed below.

What is psychobiography?  What isn’t it?  Why is it important?  Psychobiography is about going beyond the what spelled out by biography.  It focuses on the why, that is, the motives of an individual and sometimes a group of individuals (prosopography).  Psychobiography is much more explanatory and interpretive than biography.  It usually starts with the early childhood experiences of an individual but then goes beyond these origins to an in-depth understanding of the subject’s personality and life decisions, drawing on psychoanalytic, psychological, psychohistorical, and other scholarship.  Psychobiographers often come from history, journalism, literary studies, psychoanalysis, and psychology.

It is not pathography.  Hanging a psychiatric diagnostic label on someone, often a disdained political leader, usually closes the door on future investigation and knowledge. Psychobiography is about deepening our knowledge and opening new doors of inquiry.

The importance of psychobiography is that it offers the best method of uncovering the conscious and unconscious lives of people.

Our Vision

The Vision of the Psychobiography Group is to:

  • Enrich humanity by providing the in-depth study of lives of those individuals and groups who contribute or contributed to various fields of knowledge and human endeavor.
  • Commemorate the greatest contributors to the growth of civilization as well as to understand the psychobiography of those who are associated with genocidal and retrogressive behavior.

Our Mission

The Mission of the Psychobiography Group is to:

  • Foster and promote psychobiographical research and publication on the psychobiographical study of lives
  • Promote the emphasis on the childhood and life passage of the whole person, going beyond personal characteristics and traits
  • Foster cross-disciplinary/interdisciplinary and cross-cultural research, developing new transcultural psychological theories to use in psychobiography
  • Develop new theories of individual and group identity development
  • Help transmit the knowledge of an older generation of psychobiographers, political psychologists, and psychohistorians to those just entering the field
  • Teach psychobiography
  • Showcase psychobiography in the academic and general communities
  • Connect with interested colleagues around the world to create a worldwide group, bringing together insights from different cultures, mindsets, perspectives, and theories

In order to fulfill this mission, we will:

  • Organize research meetings online and in-person following the model of the Psychohistory Forum Work-in-Progress seminars in which a colleague or group of colleagues bring a draft paper of a psychobiographical research project to be read and contributed to by the participants
  • Organize international conferences on psychobiography
  • Facilitate the publication of psychobiographical articles and books
  • Establish our own system of publication of psychobiographical books not printed elsewhere
  • Focus on the coping mechanisms utilized in dealing with the crises and traumas of life
  • Write book reviews on psychobiographical monographs
  • Cooperate and affiliate with other psychobiographical individuals and groups around the world
  • Integrate younger colleagues into the leadership of psychobiographical and related organizations and publications