Psychobiography Reading Group
of the Psychohistory Forum

April 1st, 2023 (11:00am – 1pm EDT; rooms opens at 10:30 am), 2nd Meeting

The Psychobiography Research and Publication Group of the Psychohistory Forum, with the strong support of Inna Rozentsvit and Ken Fuchsman, has created the virtual Psychobiography Reading Group. Our expectation is that we will meet once in two months and that we should work hard to keep this as a serious psychoanalytic approach to psychobiography. Subsequently, our focus will be on classic works of psychodynamic psychobiography, although they need not be fully explicit about the theory underlying the books and articles.

We met for the first time on February 25th 2023, and discussed Jim Anderson’s chapter,
“Winnicott’s Constant Search for the Life that Feels Real,” from The Winnicott Tradition: Lines of Development — Evolution of Theory and Practice over the Decades (edited by  M. B. Spelman & F. Thomson-Salo).

At our second meeting, we will read and discuss Erik Erikson’s Gandhi’s Truth: On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence (Selections: Part II-I, The Past: Childhood and Youth). This section of the book is about Gandhi’s childhood, up to the time when he went to London to study law, which helps to understand Gandhi’s character and the roots of his life’s philosophy.

A few words about the book in general:

Erik Erikson’s book, Gandhi’s Truth: On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence, is a powerful exploration of the philosophy and methods of Mahatma Gandhi. The book offers a unique perspective on Gandhi’s life and work and provides valuable insights into the nature of nonviolence and its potential to transform society.

Erikson, a renowned psychologist and psychoanalyst, became interested in Gandhi’s ideas of nonviolent resistance while working with Indian psychoanalysts in the 1940s. He was struck by Gandhi’s unwavering commitment to truth and his belief in the power of nonviolence as a means of social change. Erikson recognized that Gandhi’s ideas had relevance not just in India, but in other parts of the world where social injustice and inequality existed.

The book is divided into two parts. In the first, Erikson provides a detailed analysis of Gandhi’s life and philosophy, focusing on his early experiences in South Africa and the development of his ideas of nonviolence. Erikson argues that Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence was not simply a religious or moral ideal, but a deeply political one, rooted in his experiences of discrimination and injustice in South Africa.

In the second part of the book, Erikson explores the broader implications of Gandhi’s ideas for contemporary society. He argues that nonviolence is not just a strategy for social change, but a way of life that can transform individuals and communities. Erikson emphasizes the importance of empathy, understanding, and dialogue in creating a culture of nonviolence, and highlights the role of education in promoting these values.

Overall, Gandhi’s Truth is a thought-provoking and inspiring book that offers valuable insights into the potential of nonviolence as a means of social and political transformation. Erikson’s analysis of Gandhi’s life and ideas is insightful and nuanced, and his reflections on the broader implications of nonviolence are both timely and relevant. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the philosophy and practice of nonviolence.

If you would like to read the whole book – it can be downloaded from here:

Participation is free, but the registration/ RSVP is required – via the following form:


Please note that we have chosen short readings to ensure that it will be read ahead of time.
Individuals who have not done the readings for this group will need to stay muted to establish this as a true discussion group.

I look forward to our together deepening our knowledge of this psychohistorical approach as we probe the lives of fascinating and important people.

If you are interested in joining this group, even if you cannot attend the meeting on April 1st, please fill out the registration form above and/or contact Inna Rozentsvit at or Paul H. Elovitz at

Best regards,

Paul Elovitz

Paul H. Elovitz, PhD, Historian, Research Psychoanalyst, Online Psychohistory Professor, Psychohistory Forum Director, and Editor, Clio’s Psyche; Author, The Making of Psychohistory: Origins, Controversies, and Pioneering Contributors (Routledge, 2018); Editor, The Many Roads of the Builders of Psychohistory (ORI Academic Press, 2021); Author/Editor of other books. See for additional information.