Message 5 of 5:Pre-Congress Workshops

Jerald Forster (
Wed, 26 Feb 1997 20:51:58 -0800 (PST)

The XIIth International Congress on Personal Construct Psychology
JULY 8, 1997

There will be four 4-hour workshops available on July 8, 1997. The
leaders of the two workshops taking place from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM, are
Fay Fransella and Michael Mohoney. The leaders of the two workshops
taking place between 2 PM and 6 PM are Hubert J.M. Hermans, and Larry
All four workshop leaders are well-known, experienced teachers
with well-developed constructivist perspectives.

Fay Fransella has been a leader in Personal Construct Psychology
for many years. She founded the Centre for Personal Construct Psychology,
Therapy and Counseling in the early 1980's and also co-authored Inquiring
Man with Don Bannister. Her 1995 book about George Kelly is "must read"
for PCP enthusiasts. She is the ideal person to offer a workshop on the
essentials of personal construct theory.

Hubert J.M. Hermans, a professor from The Netherlands, has been
studying self-confrontation and valuation for several decades. He is the
author of many books and articles. He is the co-author of two recent
books, The dialogical self: Meaning as movement, in 1993, and
Self-narratives: The construction of meaning. in 1995. People come from
all parts of the world to study with him and participate in his workshops.

Michael Mahoney has presented several pre-conference workshops
before PCP conferences. His extensive background in philosophy and
psychological theory provides a base for stimulating and informative
coverage of constructivism and self-organization. He has authored or
co-authored numerous books and articles, including Human change processes
in 1991, Cognitive and constructive psychotherapies: Theory, research, and
practice in 1995, and Constructivism in psychotherapy, which he co-edited
with Robert Neimeyer in 1995.

Larry Leitner, Professor of Psychology at Miami University in
Ohio, has co-authored or edited three books, including Assessing
experience in psychotherapy: Personal construct alternatives, in 1993. He
received the Distinguished Visiting Fellow Award from the Australian
Psychological Society. He is a dynamic teacher and workshop leader who
grounds his ideas about therapy with his own experience as a therapist.

COSTS: Each 4-hour workshop costs $60. If you sign up for one in the
morning and one in the afternoon, the total cost will be $95. Register
for workshops using the PRE-CONGRESS REGISTRATION FORM available from:
Jerald Forster, Ph.D., University of Washington, Box 353600
Seattle, WA 98195-3600, USA
FAX 206-543-8439; e-mail:

An abstract of Fay Fransella's workshop, "Essentials of personal construct

George Kelly wrote two theories of how people go about the
business of living their lives, the one enmeshed within the other. One is
the skeleton. This is made up of personal constructs formed into a system,
and used to make the best sense of what is happening around and within us.
The second theory is about our experiencing of the world.
Experiencing is related to our construing of it.
Being a physicist, mathematician and on the way to being an
engineer, Kelly set out his theory like a blue-print with a fundamental
postulate elaborated by a set of corollaries. His background training
also led him to design a way of measuring the relationship between
personal constructs - the repertory grid.
This workshop will outline the substance of these two theories and
give participants experience of aspects of the theory and methods for
eliciting the personal constructs from oneself and others; provide
opportunities to design and complete a small personal repertory grid and
to complete Kelly's other method of assessment - the self
characterisation; and, lastly, to explore the implications of such
theoretical points as behaviour being the question we put to nature rather
than an answer.

An abstract of Hubert J. M. Hermans' workshop, "Valuation theory and the
self-confrontation method."

In this workshop participants will try out an abbreviated
self-confrontation method as a theory-based, idiographic method, allowing
a gradual transition between assessment and change. Working in dyads,
they play successively the roles of client and psychologist. Clients are
invited to tell a few story parts referring to their past, present, and
future, whereas the psychologists help the clients to derive from these
stories some personal units of meaning (valuations). Next relate their
valuations to a set of affective terms, some of which reflect
self-enhancement (e.g., pride, strength) whereas other terms reflect the
longing for contact and union with something or somebody else (e.g.,
caring, tenderness). Next, participants are taught how to analyze the
content and organization of their valuation system in qualitative and
quantitative ways. Finally, participants continue their conversations in
the same dyads, incorporating the experiences and insights from the
process of self-confrontation.

An abstract of Larry Leitner's workshop "An introduction to experiential
personal construct psychotherapy."

This workshop will illustrate the technical principles of
psychotherapy from an experiential constructivist perspective. The
workshop will begin with a conceptual overview of experiential
constructivist therapy, focusing on issues of diagnosis, case
conceptualization, and the process and goals of therapy. The use of these
concepts for structuring and managing the initial interview will be
demonstrated. The workshop then will consider the therapist-client
relationship, the most critical aspect of experiential constructivist
therapy. The focus of this segment will include issues of transference,
countertransference, how clients validate and invalidate therapist
interventions, and the experience of optimal therapeutic distance. Issues
of client threat, pacing of interventions, as well as client resistance
will be covered in the third section of the workshop. Finally, "cutting
edge" issues (e.g., use of the body, levels of awareness, structural
arrests) will be considered. Each section of the workshop will integrate
conceptual material, technical principles, and care illustrations.

An abstract of Michael J. Mahoney's workshop, "Constructivist

This workshop will focus on the principles of constructive
psychology as they bear on the practice of psychotherapy. After a brief
history of its emergence in philosophy, psychology, and psychotherapy, the
basic principles of Constructivism will be summarized. Spanning the major
theoretical systems, constructivism emphasizes (1) the central importance
of human activity in the (2) ongoing creation of "personal realities" --
organized patterns of perceived order and meaningful relationships. One of
the most important of these dynamic ordering processes is that related to
(3) the unique and complexly-organized individuality (identity or self) of
the person, which is elaborated within (4) social and symbolic contexts.
All of this self-organizing activity reflects the operation of (5)
dialectical (contrast-driven) and dynamic developmental processes, which
challenge the individual to engage in a lifelong protection, elaboration,
and differentiation of themselves and the processes by which they organize
their living. Across diagnostic categories and programs of therapy (brief,
episodic, and intensive), these principles can guide psychological
services. The clinical relevance of these points will be illustrated in
discussions of difficult cases, resistance to change, cyclic progress and
regress, and the importance and complexity of the therapeutic relationship
as a secure base in and from which clients can experience, explore, and
experiment with old and new patterns of activity. Among the clinical
methods to be discussed will be individualized homework assignments,
mirror time, stream of consciousness, and embodiment exercises. The
workshop will conclude with a discussion of clients' and therapists'
experiences of change processes, and the unique burdens and blessings of
life as a psychotherapy practitioner. Recommendations will be made for
further explorations and therapist self-care practices.