personal construct methodCaputi, P., Viney, L., Walker, B., Crittenden, N. Personal Construct Methodology. Malaysia: Wiley-Blackwell. 348 pages. ISBN:9781119954163.

Reviewed by: Zachariah Calluori, Columbia University

Personal Construct Methodology provides a comprehensive look at the variety of methods, both quantitative and qualitative, that the psychotherapist can use to evaluate the personal constructs of a patient. These methods hinge upon the work of psychologist George Kelly, an originator of constructivist theory, repeatedly cited in this book. In 1955 Kelly suggested that people are “adventurers who are capable of experimenting with how they make sense of their lives”. He formalized this notion in the concept of construing, which says that individuals have the ability to construct the meaning of their own lives. Individuals are constantly in the process of forming and reforming personal theories.

New experiences test and shape the individual constructs on which a personal theory is founded. Personal constructs are formed by contrasts known as bipolars. An individual has many personal constructs, some unique and some shared by others, but all important to construing one’s life. Idiosyncrasy arises in bipolars because they do not rely on dictionary antonyms. For example, two people may identify “fear” as an aspect, but identify a different complement, perhaps “courage” for one person, and “calm” for another. Reality is a hierarchical system of personal constructs, and the uniqueness of one reality from another is further compounded by variation in the ordination of constructs.

Constructivist assessments identify and explore personal narratives and constructions of experience. One such assessment invented by Kelly is the repertory grid, a structured interview that aims to investigate a patient’s construing process. This book covers the repertory grid and other quantitative grid-based methods. However, it also explores non-grid qualitative methods such as laddering and self-characterization.

Personal Construct Methodology presents many methodologies in detail, offering example charts for grid-based methods as well as step-by-step instructions for interactive approaches. Statistical evidence for the validity and success of each methodology is offered. The book deals with a field that owes much to the early work of pioneers, but contemporary progress is evident in the inclusion of chapters regarding computer-aids, new analytic approaches, and the integration of constructivism in a clinical setting. This book presents personal construct theory in a highly relevant way, weaving new analyses, presentations, and applications into recent and established methodologies with an eye towards clinical practice

Caputi, P., Viney, L., Walker, B., Crittenden, N. Personal Construct Methodology. Malaysia: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN:9781119954163.
Paperback. 348 pages. Includes general index and references for each chapter.

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