Re: Reflections on NAPCN meeting...

Tue, 26 Jul 1994 21:01:55 -0400 (EDT)

Hemant, and other PCPNP's [PCP Network Participants]

Add my expression of thanks to all those who made a contribution
to the pleasant and stimulating interactions which took place at the
Indianapolis NAPCN meetings.

Hemant is atively stimulatin us to push out thinking along, and he
encourages some response.

The move to use a grid-type analysis to look at the sources of
a person's narrative needs to be considered rather thoroughly. We need to
explore the potential of thinking of grids in that way.
While we can appreciate the efforts of PCP workers who have pushed
into narrative, we must also recognize the value of the work of scholars
who do not identify with PCP. Anyone who thinks about narrative must
study the work of Kintsch and van Dijk.
If we think of narrative as a construction of a construction process,
we can claim that narrative may be construed as having elements, just as
does any construction process. We can think of those elements as "slots"
in the narrative. As one constructs a narrative to guide his/her self
functioning he/she draws from his/her hierarchically organized system
of two-poled constructs to fill in those slots.

A grid approach could be regarded as having utility in extracting
the constructs which a person retrieves to build a narrative/construction.

When we look at PCP and think of its ontological/epistemological
bases, we can consider the structure for regarding world views by referring
to Stephen Pepper's classic study of WORLD HYPOTHESES. Constructionism
would stand as a contextualist world view [See T. R. Sarbin's chapter in
the 1976 Nebraska Symposium].
An aphorism that might compress the position of the contextualist
world view would be, "A putative input can have no meaning outside of the
system of signs [the salient aspect of the context] which are employed to
signify the input."

Thus, the use of a grid-like assessment device, particularly when
the participant's responses are assessed relative to the response patterns
within the grid, can provide formalisms by which to express the meanings
implicit in the responses in terms of the context provided by the overall
personal construct system.

Over the years of my observing the use of grids, I have seen [I think]
growing use of methodologies which are aimed at explicating the meanings
applied by the participant as he/she reacts to the putative inputs relative
to a particular assumed domain.

In short, I believe that as we work out the available approaches,
we will find useful ways to explore the construct systems which persons use to
"fill the narrative's slots" as they construct the narratives which are
used to frame the flow of putative inputs.

And, I believe, we need not shy away from using supplied constructs
in order to explore the ways in which the respondent organizes those
constructs within the system of signs he/she uses to respond to the
constructs which are supplied.

Jim Mancuso