re: core constructs
Mon, 16 Dec 1996 22:23:42 +0100

Esteban Laso writes, inter al.,

about my tentative rules of thumb for recognising when core constructs
(which I identify with personal values) have been "identified" through

>could it be that the perplexed answer of your patient shows a core
>construct that he considers evident, a kind of a cultural basic and
>implicit assumption? That would be the answer of _I've never thought to
>ask that before._ He is threatened (in Kelly' sense) by the possibility
>that being a manager is _not_ important: there is his discouragement.

Well, yes, that's what I mean: the self-evident nature of the constructs
are _exactly_ my touchstone for identifying them as value-laden. And though
I'm not a clinician and don't especially make use of Kelly's concept of
threat, that's exactly what one would expect according to Kelly's

I _think_ I part company with you on the issue of "discouragement" and
perplexity. As I remember the original posting on this issue, Charles Smith
was puzzled that his respondent found an "existential hole" when asked "why
is being a manager important", and I tried to suggest that, whatever this
form of questioning might lead to, it is _not_ likely to help in
identifying core constructs. The whole point about core constructs is that
they are about why anything is important _to the person him/her-self_, and
not in the abstract.

To ask "why is being a manager important _to you_" is to ask about core
constructs and personal values.

To ask "why is being a manager important" is a different question, which
may or may not relate to core constructs; it's certainly a more abstract
and less personally relevant question.

As Esteban himself points out, in seeking to explore core constructs we're
exploring a person's maintenance processes!

Kind regards,

Devi Jankowicz