When I began this blog in 2003 I wrote a post on this subject. The overview bears repeating since there is so much confusion on the difference between Questioned Document Examination (QDE) and Handwriting Analysis (HWA) to assess personality traits.
They are separate disciplines, requiring separate training and separate certifications to practice professionally. They are not interchangeable skills.
QDE work involves analysis of just the physical characteristics of writing. It determines who wrote what. (It is not always possible to come to a conclusion.) QD examiners may be called into court to testify as an "expert witness." They can be hired by either side to do that. But, many cases are settled long before they go to court. The important distinction is that personality assessment is no part of that work.
HWA to assess personality also requires studying the physical characteristics because they mean something. The indicators they show have to be decoded to determine what personality traits show up in a given sample of handwriting. It is a logical process. The analysis has to be done in an orderly way using a worksheet and then the results must be explained as to what the traits are and what they mean. It is a big challenge to do that well. (Some QDE folks like writing the kind of reports called for in that work. In my view, HWA reports are more difficult to write because you are explaining the complication of what makes people tick. Fascinating to me.)
On websites of some analysts I often see the line is blurred when explaining their credentials. Some list themselves as handling both kinds of work. That may be legitimate because they are qualified and capable in both. (I think most people specialize in one or the other.) It may not be if the analyst is not truly qualified. "Expert witness" sounds very official. QDE work is more highly regarded by the public and is in greater demand because there is so much shady stuff going on.
I got bored with QDE. I love doing personality profiling, writing about it and teaching it.