Core Constructs

Charles Smith (
Fri, 22 Nov 1996 21:55:08 GMT


I follow your method of finding core constructs, but I'm never so confident
of what I find, or whether my technique is up to it.

I was recently talking to someone about their career, when he mentioned the
importance of being a manager. When I asked "why is it important to be a
manager?" the response was a long silence, a look of complete despondency,
and ultimately "do you know, I've never thought to ask that before". Is this
a core construct? It seems unlikely? It certainly isn't in universalist
terms. I'm more inclined to accept an Object Relations explanation at this
point - that there was an early relationship which created anxiety and
"being a manager" is the remains of a defence now irrecoverable. A
psychoanalyst would claim to be able to recover this - I certainly don't.

Perhaps the core construct at the top of everybody's ladder is just an
existentialist black hole, and you are only finding how near to that hole
you can get, or the subject invents some 'values' to fill the hole when
being interviewed by a Personal Construct therapist.

I'm sorry, but this depressing rambling is just a fear that we may have a
circular argument: (a) to find a core construct you ladder as high as you
can (b) a core construct is what you have when you ladder as high as you can.

If you can extract me from this circle I would be more than grateful.

Best wishes

Charles Smith