This bibliometric review covers the scientific production with or about the repertory grid technique between 1998 and 2007. The analysis of previous reviews suggests the need for a more careful and broad process of bibliographic research. With this aim, 24 bibliographic sources were used to cover a wide range of specialties. We began with the drawing up of an explicit protocol in which the research terms were detailed. Then the bibliographic sources were consulted, taking into account a specification of inclusion and exclusion criteria. As a result of this process, 973 references were obtained: 468 were journal papers, 335 book chapters, 108 doctoral theses and 62 books. The review also evaluates the types of documents found, the evolution of the number of works published, the repertory grid’s fields of application and the degree of openness to other disciplines. The most relevant authors, their affiliations, their countries and the publication language are also revealed in this article, as well as the major journals contributing to disseminate the work done with this technique. Relevance: Since Kelly created his personalconstruct theory (PCT), the repertory grid technique (RGT) has been the most well-known instrument used not only by researchers and practitioners within PCT but also across a variety of disciplines and approaches. In the present work, we try to portray a recent picture of the status of the RGT using bibliometric analysis.
Kelly’s personalconstruct theory, put forward in 1955, is considered the first constructivist theory of personality and the first expression of those contemporary psychotherapeutic perspectives grounded on a constructivist view of knowledge. Notwithstanding the similarities between psychological constructivism and the phenomenological-hermeneutic tradition, Kelly always rejected the parallel of his theory to phenomenology, regarding the latter as unacceptable since idealistic, solipsistic, and particularistic. In this first article of a work subdivided into three parts, the Authors explain such criticism by Kelly with his knowledge of phenomenology deriving from secondary sources, and stress the wide possibilities of a phenomenological interpretation and elaboration of his theory. Relevance: The publication highlights the analogy between psychological constructivism and phenomenology.
In this part of our work about a comparison between Kelly’s personalconstruct theory and phenomenology, we enter the fields of psychotherapy and research. The topic of intersubjectivity, meant as original recognition of the other’s subjectivity, provides a backdrop for both phenomenological clinic and Kellyan psychotherapy. Though Kelly never used the term “intersubjectivity,” his theory and the corollary of sociality in particular, reveals a view of interpersonal relationships as intercorporeality, which is much closer to phenomenological ideas than to the cognitive ones. Depending on such commonality, in either cases clinical relationship is not viewed as an “aspecific factor” of psychotherapy, but as the essential tool for the care of other. Furthermore, the core role of intersubjectivity in scientific knowledge implies a radical revision of the criteria of research. Consistently with the intent of a science of experience, it is no more a matter of collecting data, as of accepting meanings. Psychological research has to refound itself in continuity with life and recognize the need for a real involvement and real interaction with the subjects, as far as to reverse the traditional relation between clinic and research. It is nonsense to conceive clinic as an applicative sector of a pure science because clinic, on the contrary, is the place where one can know, in first-person, those meaningful realities which take shape in the intersubjective exchange of ideas, in order to make them comprehensible and controllable. Relevance: The publication explores the dimension of intersubjectivity in phenomenology (starting from Husserl) and personalconstruct theory, and its relevance in psychotherapy and research.
George Kelly’s personalconstruct theory (PCT) has been accused of disregarding the role of emotion in human life. This charge originates from a misunderstanding of PCT’s basic assumptions. Kelly deals with experiences commonly called “emotional” in terms of dimensions of transition according to a genuinely constructivist epistemology. A review of the literature shows few elaborations of Kelly’s original formulation of constructs relating to transitions, and even some contributions critical of Kelly’s approach to emotions. This article rebuts the criticisms while making clear the epistemological and theoretical bases of Kelly’s treatment of transitional experiences, its peculiarities, and its role in the diagnostic/therapeutic process. Relevance: It deals with the notion of emotion from a genuinely constructivist epistemology such as that envisioned by Kelly’s personalconstruct theory.
A psychological understanding of interpersonal processes in terms of complementarity is not new. It is enough to mention Buber (the title of our paper refers to an expression of his), as well as Bateson and his definitions of double description, binocular vision and complementary and symmetric relations. We would like to clarify the nature of complementarity, and to point out the presence of this framework in some philosophical and scientific discourses about the person. Moreover, we think that the adoption of a framework of complementarity becomes a metaphysical necessity within what we have called “hermeneutic constructivism,” and that other constructivisms fail to acknowledge it, thereby losing much of their metatheoretical, revolutionary potential. We will document the possibility of adopting a framework of complementarity with respect to different pairs of poles, which specify as many phenomenal domains: (1) the relation between any entity and its environment; (2) the relation between modes of description; (3) the relation between the person and the world; and (4) the relation between people. In the final part of the paper we outline some implications of a consideration of complementarity for the psychotherapy process. Relevance: The framework of complementarity is an essential feature of hermeneutic constructivism.
Cognitive models have contributed significantly to the understanding of unipolar depression and its psychological treatment. Our research group has been working on the notion of cognitive conflict viewed as personal dilemmas according to personalconstruct theory. We use a novel method for identifying those conflicts using the repertory grid technique (RGT). This study aims to empirically test the hypothesis that an intervention focused on the dilemma(s) specifically detected for each patient will enhance the efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for depression. We expect that adding a dilemma-focused intervention to CBT will increase the efficacy of one of the more prestigious therapies for depression, thus resulting in a significant contribution to the psychological treatment of depression. Relevance: This article describes the protocol of a controlled study aimed at testing the efficacy of dilemma-focused therapy (DFT) as an intervention in the treatment of depression. DFT is a constructivist-oriented intervention targeting the cognitive conflicts that block the pathway to change. Constructivist epistemology has shown its potential for creation and innovation across a variety of psychotherapy approaches. Personalconstruct therapy is one of these approaches, and DFT arises from it as a structured, but still flexible, intervention aimed at making explicit and fostering resolution of the specific dilemma(s) found for that particular patient in the initial repertory grid assessment.
Upshot: This is the fourth book in a series called “Studies in Meaning,” all of which have the term “constructivist” in the title. However, if anyone is expecting to learn about “constructivism” as such they will be disappointed, as the contents, though often engaging, deal little with “constructivism” and instead range through a very disparate and dispersive collection of papers.
This essay concerns a philosophical examination of the nature of mind and the relevant implications for mental health. Traditionally, realism and constructivism are regarded as two contrastive positions in explaining the nature of mind. While realists take discovery of reality as the main function of mind, constructivists regard it as creation of reality. Hence, epistemologically, realists emphasize on correspondence to reality as the criterion of validity or truth of the mind’s contents, whereas constructivists regard the inner coherence of constructs as the main criterion. inner coherence of constructs or resolving inner conflicts; capability of constructs for adaption to problematic situations; and correspondence to reality as an ideal in the long run are the discussions and aims of this paper. Relevance: This paper deals with theoretical basis of mind and mental health based on constructivist psychology.
This paper’s intention is to show how qualitative repertory grids (Procter, 2002) are useful in mapping construing in a family. Three types of grid are illustrated: the Perceiver-Element grid (PEG), the Event-Perceiver Grid (EPG) and the Perceiver-Construct Grid (PCG). Byron’s play, “Cain: a Mystery” (1821) is used as a case example. Relevance: Qualitative grids (QG) are a flexible way of researching and displaying people’s constructions occurring in a variety of situations. They are useful in clinical, educational and organisational work and have already been used in 16 different published applications and research dissertations. This paper uses a play to illustrate their use and power, introducing three of the forms of QG.
Upshot: Gabriele Chiari and the late Maria Laura Nuzzo’s new book, Constructivist Psychotherapy: A Narrative Hermeneutic Approach, is a densely packed little tome that marks the most fully developed effort so far to present a model of personalconstruct psychotherapy that theoretically incorporates aspects of radical constructivism, narrative psychology, and social constructionism. The theoretically inclined will not be disappointed.