Re: PCP and movements
Thu, 21 Nov 1996 22:03:46 +0100

Vic Jones raises an interesting issue with Jim Mancuso on this thread:
>how do we know when
>we have accessed a superordinate or core construct with a client?
Since he posted here on the mailing list rather than by direct e-mail to
Jim, I hope neither will mind if I butt in.

I don't know if this is of any use, but I use laddering and
resistance-to-change technique to arrive at superordinate constructs which
I regard as core with respect to the original ones, and having the nature
of personal values.

I decide that I've arrived at a personal value when:

a) the client looks at me with amusement or puzzlement when I iterate the
laddering question "why, for you, is this pole preferable?" (or words to
that effect). And _I_ feel daft for questioning something which at that
point sounds self-evident to both of us.
As Donald Super suggested years ago in the manual to his Occupational
Values Inventory, "a value is an objective we hold for its own sake,
without needing to question it". That my questioning it seems amusing or
surprising to the client, then, is one indicator.

b) the client doesn't provide a construct at a higher level of abstraction,
but provides a variant which elaborates on the construct I'm trying to
ladder at about the same level (or even reverting back down the hierarchy
to a greater level of behavioural specificity). If one assumes that there
is a "top" to a person's construct hierarchy, that's what you'd expect
closer to the top, as it were.

c) the client is talking in rather universalist terms: "the world...";
"life..."; "being..."; "existence...". Again, the sort of vocabulary you'd
expect if you were dealing with personal values rather than the fairly
behaviourally and operationally explicit constructs from which you began
the laddering.

d) the client says "yes" when I ask him/her, on noticing one of the three
foregoing characteristics, "Sounds like this is a statement of a personal
value for you?". (cf. Kelly, "if you want to know what a person thinks, why
not ask him, he might just tell you".)

Hope this is useful. It's very pragmatic, and offers nothing in response to
the remainder of your query about therapy, memory processes, or early
childhood, so your question may be a lot deeper than I anticipated:
particularly if you're pursuing a theoretic agenda which is beyond my ken.

But, with the non-clinical adult employees with whom I work in an
occupational setting, these rules of thumb (coupled with the obvious
personal and emotional enagagement of my respondents with the
subject-matter, talking as they are at this point with depth, sincerity,
and a sense of questioning self-discovery) seem to work well when a
straight descriptive account of their personal values is required.

Kind regards,

Devi Jankowicz.