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.