Re: Is Kelly a Sidelight?

Mildred L G Shaw (
Mon, 10 Jun 1996 19:58:54 -0600 (MDT)

I am forwarding a note from Bob Neimeyer (one of the editors of JCP) in
reply to John Fallon. As you see, he is not at present on the list. I have
appended his note in full, and I hope this will sort out some of the
reigning confusion. You can reply to him directly at the address below.

Hi Mildred--

Thanks for forwarding the note from John Fallon regarding the unfortunate
confusions of PCP and related groups. I could not respond to him directly
because I somehow have not yet been resubscribed to the mailbase (despite
my request a few weeks ago to David N.; I'll need to write him a reminder).
So perhaps you might post a message on my behalf, or incorporate anything
here you feel is relevant to John's questions.

First, it is true that personal construct theory is in friendly competition
(or cooperative exchange, if you prefer) with several other constructivist
groups, not all of which trace their lineage to Kelly. The Society for
Constructive Change, started recently by Mike Mahoney and Jim Oyler (and
for which I am an Advisory Board member), is one such emerging group, whose
goal is to promote interchange among adherents to various constructivist
and narrative theory groups, ours included. They are publishing a
quarterly newsletter/journal, which at present runs only a dozen pages, but
might grow to be a substantial outlet for congenial work.

Some members of this mailbase might also be interested to know about the
Constructivism in Psychotherapy conference series, which has always had a
personal construct presence (among many other orientations) at the four
international congresses held since 1990. (For example, the most recent
conference, in Buenos Aires, included Mahoney, Greenberg, Guidano,
Maturana, Feixas, Goncalves, Villegas, and many other prominent
contributors to various constructivist traditions among its 500
registrants.) A particulary pithy program is being planned for the next
conference, being organized at the Universidad de la Laguna, Tenerife
(Canary Islands), Spain, Sept. 4-7, 1996. If you are interested in a
detailed brochure about this conference, I would be happy to send you one.

As to the renaming of the Journal of Constructivist Psychology, I think it
is a fair guess that (1) it remains the single most consistent outlet for
PCT work, and that (2) PCP is better represented among its contents than
any other orientation. Solid work in a PCP vein, whether theoretical,
empirical, or applied is certainly welcome, and will receive the same
detailed peer review that is given to any submission. An advantage of the
broader definition of the journal is that PCP work is now being read--and
referenced--by folks in related constructivist fields, rather than being
communicated only to those who are already Kellians. Of course, this has
always been the case to some extent, as the great majority of PCP work has
always been published in a broad spectrum of journals internationally.
What JCP potentially adds to the mix is specific communication to a broader
constructivist readership.

As to the Clearing House, this is now being capably organized in updated
electronic form by April Metzler, supplementing the list of PCP references
compiled by Gabriele Chiari in Italy. (April can be contacted at for details). So we can rest assured that ever more
comprehensive and "searchable" data bases for PCP will continue, some of
which will be accessible through the remarkably informative and versatile
Web page organized by Shaw and Gaines at Univ. of Calgary (check it out at The Web page even includes the
Repgrid program, enabling sophisticated online grid elicitation and
analysis (at no charge) by users anywhere on the planet with access to the
Web. Apparently over 2000 users have already tried it in their own

Finally, I don't think we have to worry about fading out as an identifiable
group anytime soon. Jerald Forster and several other NAPCN members are
already hard at work in organizing the next international congress in
Seattle, WA (USA), following up on the large and successful effort put
together in 95 by Botella, Feixas, & Villegas in Barcelona. For more info,
contact Jerald at

As to what all this means for the future of the theory group is anyone's
guess. In sociological studies of scientific specialties, there is a
tendency for once radical groups to either fade into oblivion, or permeate
the mainstream of relevant disciplines, eventually losing some of their
cohesiveness, but broadening their impact. My own guess is that the latter
course is being followed by PCT (I'd be happy to send some papers on this
theme to anyone interested), but this might itself be an interesting point
of discussion. Whatever the future holds, I'm sure that many of us will
continue to find PCT a touchstone for our thinking about a whole range of
issues, and will use the theory to provoke, refine, and extend the
thinking, methods, and practices in which we and others are engaged.
Here's hoping (and expecting) that the dialogue will continue! --Bob
Neimeyer (

Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
University of Memphis
Memphis, TN 38152
(901) 678-4680
FAX (901) 678-2579


> This is not meant to be a negative question. It is a concern. I hope
>to receive replies personally or publically. I will respect a person's
>choice. I would like feedback from those whom may address my concerns. Are
>they real or not?
> I have received a mailing for the Journal called "Constructivist Change"
>which is affiliated with the "Center for Constructive Change." I could only
>have received this from my affiliatiation with NAPCN and the International
>Mailing List. The executive Director is Michael Mahoney and several people
>whom are on this mailing list are on the Executive Board including one of the
>two editors of the "Journal of Constructive Change", Personal Construct
>Psychology's only journal." This new journal seems to compete with the
>"Journal of Constructive Change" which was to supplement and now seems to
>have replaced what was once called the "Personal Construct Clearinghouse."
> My last copy of the Clearinghouse is from 1988. I had always found the
>Clearinghouse to be terribly personal and a labor of love put together by a
>few people who worked hard in the early days of paper mailing lists to keep a
>small group of non-traditionalists together. The "community" chipped in
>together to help defray mailing costs. It certainly never made a profit.
> In 1988, when the "International Journal of Personal Construct
>Psychology" was founded, I believed this would keep me up to date and
>initially seemed linked to the International Community and helped also to
>regionalize interest groups by having contact persons in specific regions.
> In 1994, the Journal began to be called the "Journal of Constructivist
>Psychology" to further broaden the circulation base as way to further
>"integrate into a larger community." It also further diluted Kellian
>representation and contact with the "Personal Construct Psychology" community
>which is already spread very thin.
> In recent months, there has been much discussion which will not be
>reopened again about what it means to be a Kellian (Let us not again refer to
>it as the corporation etc as this has been discussed at length). My concern
>is wether it is losing meaning by lack of training by the continuing
>loosening of the definition to include more people as part of a base. I am
>afraid I am seeing less and less representation of more traditional Kellians
>and am beginning to wonder if they are still around? Basic concepts now must
>be discussed at length to reach a consensus because of such diverse
>philosophical underpinnings to terms that only sound alike. Am I missing
>another forum or am I misguided in my concerns? I would not mind at all if I
>am wrong but want people to look at this issue who have been involved with
>Kellian Psychology for awhile.
>John Fallon
>Thresholds Rehabilitation Center
>Chicago, Il USA