Personal Construct Counselling in Action

Books

Fay Fransella & Peggy Dalton

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  • Front Matter
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  • Counseling in Action Series Information

    Series Editor: Windy Dryden

    SAGE's bestselling Counselling in Action series has gone from strength to strength, with worldwide sales of well over 250,000 copies. Since the first volumes in the series were published, the number of counselling courses has grown enormously, resulting in continuing demand for these introductory texts.

    In response, and to keep pace with current developments in theory and practice, SAGE are pleased to announce that new and expanded editions of six of the volumes have now been published.

    These short, practical books – developed especially for counsellors and students of counselling – will continue to provide clear and explicit guidelines for counselling practice.

    New editions in the series include:

    Feminist Counselling in Action, Second Edition

    Jocelyn Chaplin

    Gestalt Counselling in Action, Second Edition

    Petrūska Clarkson

    Transcultural Counselling in Action, Second Edition

    Patricia d'Ardenne and Aruna Mahtani

    Rational Emotive Behavioural Counselling in Action, Second Edition

    Windy Dryden

    Psychodynamic Counselling in Action, Second Edition

    Michael Jacobs

    Person-Centred Counselling in Action, Second Edition

    Dave Mearns and Brian Thorne

    Psychosynthesis Counselling in Action, Second Edition

    Diana Whitmore

    Transactional Analysis Counselling in Action, Second Edition

    Ian Stewart

    Standards and Ethics for Counselling in Action, Second Edition

    Tim Bond

    Copyright

    View Copyright Page

    Acknowledgement

    We wish to thank Windy Dryden, the editor of this series, for his help during the writing of this book.

    Preface

    Personal construct counselling is as much to do with approaching a client with a particular frame of mind as with specific theoretical details about what one might do and specific techniques one might use. This book is designed to provide the reader with a clear idea of what this frame of mind is and the important theoretical ideas that underpin the counselling endeavour. No one will become a personal construct counsellor simply by reading this book, as counselling can only be learned through supervised practice. But the reader will gain some idea of how we work within that frame of mind and some of the specific theoretical concepts and techniques we use.

    You may well find some of the techniques that have arisen from within personal construct psychology of use in your attempts to understand those with problems, whether or not you find the personal construct approach of value in itself. References will be provided at the end of the book for those who would like to study the psychology of personal constructs in greater depth.

    The Language

    The aim of this book is to present you with theoretical constructs without also drowning you in the associated jargon. For jargon there is in plenty.

    The problem with any new theory is to present the ideas in a comprehensible way – that is, using everyday language – yet also to divorce the new ideas from the implicit, personal meanings we come to attach to those everyday words.

    Kelly sometimes felt it was necessary to create new definitions. For instance, he describes ‘aggressiveness’ in terms of what the person himself is doing. It becomes ‘the active elaboration of one's perceptual field’. You are aggressive whenever you go out and try something new – like reading this book about personal construct counselling. The term itself carries no value – it does not say whether or not your reading of this book is a good or a bad thing to do – that will be up to your own unique personal way of construing.

    We feel that it is important not to use masculine terms all the time. Man may well include all mankind which, by definition, incorporates woman, but when reading books it does not always feel like that. Our unsatisfactory solution is to use ‘him’ and ‘her’ interchangeably and the plural ‘they’ and ‘their’ after such singular nouns as ‘the client’. This is clumsy but we think it better than such unreadable solutions as ‘he/she’ or ‘s/he’.

    The Practitioners

    Kelly wrote his two-volume work primarily with psychology students in mind. But personal construct psychology is being found useful by many groups of people other than psychologists. This book is therefore written for all those who are in the business of helping others. This large group includes speech, occupational, art and music therapists, the clergy, social workers, nurses, personnel managers, general medical practitioners, probation officers and trainers, as well as psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists and counsellors.

    At the start of his first volume, Kelly wrote a piece ‘To whom it may concern’. He concludes it thus:

    To whom are we speaking? In general, we think the reader who takes us seriously will be an adventuresome soul who is not one bit afraid of thinking unorthodox thoughts about people, who dares peer out at the world through the eyes of strangers, who has not invested beyond his means in either ideas or vocabulary, and who is looking for an ad interim, rather than an ultimate, set of psychological insights. He may earn his living as a psychologist, an educator, a social worker, a psychiatrist, a clergyman, an administrator – that is not particularly relevant. He may never have had a course in psychology, although if he has not been puzzling rather seriously over psychological problems he will most certainly be unhappy with his choice of this book. (Kelly, 1955: xi)

    Once again it must be stressed that this is not a ‘cook-book’. Any training in counselling takes time and effort and involves supervised practical experience. The Centre for Personal Construct Psychology in London ran a postgraduate course for counsellors and psychotherapists for many years. It was considered necessary that those accepted for the diploma course should attend part-time over a three-year period. That course is now run by Personal Construct Education and Training. Details can be obtained from Peggy Dalton.

    However, not everyone wants to make such a long-term commitment. Kelly's ideas have been found useful by many who incorporate them into their existing counselling framework. It is for these people and as a whetter of appetites that this book is written.

  • References

    Bannister, D. (1962) ‘The nature and measurement of schizophrenic thought disorder’, Journal of Mental Science, 108: 825–42.
    Bannister, D. (1977) ‘The logic of passion’, in D.Bannister (ed.), New Perspectives in Personal Construct Theory. London: Academic Press.
    Bannister, D. and Fransella, F. (1986) Inquiring Man (
    3rd edition
    ). London: Croom Helm.
    Butler, R. and Green, D. (1998) The Child Within. Oxford: ButterworthHeinemann.
    Dalton, P. and Dunnett, G. (1992) A Psychology for Living. Chichester: John Wiley. Reprinted by EPCA Publications, Farnborough, 1999.
    Epting, F.R. (1984) Personal Construct Counselling and Psychotherapy. Chichester: John Wiley.
    Epting, F.R. and Amerikaner, M. (1980) ‘Optimal functioning: a personal construct approach’, in A.W.Landfield and L.Leitner (eds), Personal Construct Psychology: Psychotherapy and Personality. New York: John Wiley.
    Fransella, F. (1972) Personal Change and Reconstruction: Research on a Treatment of Stuttering. London: Academic Press.
    Fransella, F. (1981) ‘Nature babbling to herself: the self characterisation as a psychotherapeutic tool’, in H.Bonarius, R.Holland and S.Rosenberg (eds), Personal Construct Psychology: Recent Advances in Theory and Practice. London: Macmillan.
    Fransella, F. (1985) ‘Death by starvation’, in W.Dryden (ed.), Therapists’ Dilemmas. London: Sage Publications.
    Fransella, F. (1995) George Kelly. London: Sage Publications.
    Fransella, F. and Adams, B. (1966) ‘An illustration of the use of repertory grid technique in a clinical setting’, British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 5: 51–62http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8260.1966.tb00955.x
    Fransella, F. and Bannister, D. (1977) A Manual for Repertory Grid Technique. London: Academic Press.
    Hinkle, D. (1965) ‘The change of personal constructs from the viewpoint of a theory of construct implications’. Unpublished PhD thesis, Ohio State University.
    Jones, H. (1985) ‘Creativity and depression: an idiographic study’, in F.Epting and A.W.Landfield (eds), Anticipating Personal Construct Psychology. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
    Kelly, G.A. (1955/1991) The Psychology of Personal Constructs. New York: Norton. Reprinted by Routledge, London, 1991.
    Kelly, G.A. (1958) ‘Personal construct theory and the psychotherapeutic interview’, in B.Maher (ed.), Clinical Psychology and Personality. Florida: Krieger.
    Kelly, G.A. (1967) ‘A psychology of optimal man’, in B.Maher (ed.), The Goals of Psychotherapy. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
    Kelly, G.A. (1969a) ‘The autobiography of a theory’, in B.Maher (ed.), Clinical Psychology and Personality. Florida: Krieger.
    Kelly, G.A. (1969b) ‘Humanistic methodology in psychological research’, in B.Maher (ed.), Clinical Psychology and Personality. Florida: Krieger.
    Kelly, G.A. (1969c) ‘The psychotherapeutic relationship’, in B.Maher (ed.), Clinical Psychology and Personality. Florida: Krieger.
    Kelly, G.A. (1969d) ‘The language of hypothesis: man's psychological instrument’, in B.Maher (ed.) Clinical Psychology and Personality. Florida: Krieger.
    Kelly, G.A. (1977) ‘The psychology of the unknown’, in D.Bannister (ed.), New Perspectives in Personal Construct Theory. London: Academic Press.
    Kelly, G.A. (1986a) A Brief Introduction to Personal Construct Theory. London: Centre for Personal Construct Psychology.
    Kelly, G.A. (1986b) Behaviour is an Experiment. London: Centre for Personal Construct Psychology.
    Landfield, A.W. (1971) Personal Construct Systems in Psychotherapy. Chicago: Rand McNally.
    Leitner, L.M. (1985) ‘Interview methodologies for construct elicitation: searching for the core’, in F.Epting and A.W.Landfield (eds), Anticipating Personal Construct Psychology. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
    Maher, B. (1969) Clinical Psychology and Personality. Florida: Krieger.
    Maher, B. (1985) Personal communication.
    Neimeyer, R. (1980) ‘George Kelly as therapist: a review of his tapes’, in A.W.Landfield and L.M.Leitner (eds), Personal Construct Psychology: Psychotherapy and Personality. Toronto: Wiley.
    Neimeyer, R.A. (1998) Lessons of Loss: a Guide to Coping. New York: McGraw-Hill.
    Ravenette, A.T. (1999) ‘A drawing and its opposite’, in Personal Construct Theory in Educational Psychology: a Practitioner's View. London: Whurr Publishers.
    Ryle, A. and Lunghi, M.E. (1970) ‘The dyad grid: a modification of repertory grid technique’, British Journal of Psychiatry, 177: 323–7.
    Thorman, C. (1983) Constructs, Vol. 2, no. 1. Newsletter of the Centre for Personal Construct Psychology.
    Tschudi, F. (1977) ‘Loaded and honest questions: a construct theory view of symptoms and therapy’, in D.Bannister (ed.), New Perspectives in Personal Construct Theory. London: Academic Press.
    Tschudi, F. and Sandsberg, S. (1984) ‘On the advantages of symptoms: exploring the client's construing’, Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 25: 169–77. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9450.1984.tb01009.x
    Viney, L. (1989) Images of Illness (
    2nd edition
    ). Florida: Krieger.
    Zelhart, P. and Thomas, T.T. (1983) ‘George A. Kelly, 1931–1943: environmental influences on a developing theorist’, in J.Adams-Webber and J.C.Mancuso (eds), Applications of Personal Construct Theory. Ontario: Academic Press.

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