Modern Trends of Clinical Psychology Research: Psychobiography and Life History Analysis



Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semester 1-4

Typically offered in

Autumn/Spring semester

Course description

Psychobiography is the explicit use of psychological models in analysing the connections between personality, life-history and life work. It is a qualitative, idiographic method which was established in the begining of 20th century as a form of applied psychoanalysis while investigating eminent creativity, although it has a lot to do with personality psychology and has significant clinical aspects as well. Owing to the success of narrative psychology in the last decades, we can experience the renaissance of life history approach and psychobiography. The modern version is more eclectic in theory, more precise in methodology and widening its resaerch focus towards scientific creativity and historical figures. In this course we are becoming acquainted with the characteristics and outcomes of modern psychobiography.

  • Elms, A. C. (2007). Psychobiography and case study methods. In: Robbins, R. W., Fraley, R. Ch. & Krueger, R. F. (szerk.): Handbook of research methods in personality psychology, The Guilford Press, New York. 97-113.
  • Freud, Sigmund (1957 [1910]). Leonardo da Vinci and a memory of his childhood. In: The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XI, edited by James Strachey. The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-analysis, London.
  • Kőváry, Z. (2011). Psychobiography as a method. The revival of studying lives: New perspectives in personality and creativity research. Europe’s Journal of Psychology Vol. 7. (4) 739-777.
  • Kőváry, Z. (2013). Matricide and creativity: The Case of Two Hungarian Cousin-writers from the Perspective of Contemporary Psychobiography. International Journey of Creativity and Problem Solving, 2013, 23 (1), 103-118.
  • Schultz, W. T. (szerk.) (2005). The handbook of psychobiography. Oxford University Press, New York.