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Congruence is a state of coming together or as Rogers, the influential American Psychologist, tried to explain, it is when the whole person is in synchronicity with its sense of self.   When the “real self” is out of step with who we are, we then set up an “ideal self”. This distance between the “real self” and the “ideal self” is called incongruity and in some cases is a Persona. Persona is the social role that we play, or the mask that we wear to enable us to live with our sense of worth against the values that are inherently learnt through our environment. If this is out of balance then the person is indicating a lack of adaptation in his own world.

Persona

“Outward appearance versus inner reality”.

Camouflage

Camouflage

A person’s outer façade is often at odds with who they really are; many people actually identify with their persona as facing up to the “real self” can be quite un-nerving and in some cases – traumatic. Therefore for perceived survival, a person will identify with the people around either in their social role or professional life. This was highlighted in the research carried out at Stanford in the USA in 1971 when student volunteers were split into 2 groups – prisoners or prison officers.  With a full mock up prison including prison type doors and props the prisoners were assigned numbers, wore smocks with no undergarments and automatically adopted prison like behaviour including rebellion, reporting on other prisoners with dependency on the guards becoming a reality; prison officers ended up enacting out what they thought the role demanded including intimidation and degradation of prisoners and derision of their dependency needs. The study was terminated before time after 6 days because of the actions and reactions that were being displayed. The findings support the explanation of behaviour based on their environment rather than their “real self”. Identification with a particular persona tends to inhibit the psychological development of the person because of their concerns about what other people may think of the “real self”.

How is Persona shown in handwriting?

There are many ways that show congruency in handwriting – rhythm in form, space and movement are some of the key areas. If there is arrhythmia showing in any way that would be indicative of dissonance and imbalance; at a more detailed level, discrepancies between the text and a signature would show a variance at a fundamental level between what the person is and how they show it. Artificial letter forms and all-capital script would show a person who is projecting an image but hiding behind a mask protecting their inner selves.

Why would someone need to protect the “real self”?

There are many other signs of persona that can be seen in handwriting, if you need help with personal development or believe that you are projecting the wrong image to others and perhaps need some help to identify who you really are and where things have diverged for you, then give me a call.

Ripples on Water, France

Ripples on Water, France

© Christina Strang August 2015

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With nodding thanks to Jung, John Beck and to www.simplypsychology.org