Re: requesting assistance

Tim A. Connor (
Wed, 19 Mar 1997 22:01:15 -0800 (PST)


Having had to do a few such brief presentations, I sympathize. My
minimalist summation of the philosophical position is as follows:

"Constructivists assert that every point of view is just that--a point of
view. That there is, in principle, no perspective so transcendent that it
ceases to be a point of view and becomes a direct apprehension of Truth.
With every shift in perspective there are gains and losses, and the
validity of a perspective is determined by whether it helps us--human
beings who are situated in particular cultural and historical contexts--
anticipate the future and move toward our goals. Positivists, by
contrast, believe that the rigorous application of some method can lead to
certain, objective knowledge whose validity is independent of the knower."

As far as application to counseling goes, I think Bob Neimeyer's chapter
J. (1987). New York; Springer) is good, at least for Kellian theory,
because it gives clinical examples to go with each postulate. Forced to
take a broader perspective in 15 minutes, I'd focus on the importance of
the credulous approach--of assuming that the client's behavior makes sense
from the client's perspective--and on ways of helping clients try on new
perspectives and imagine (and test experientially) new ways of getting on
with their lives.

Good luck,


Tim Connor, M.S. "Psychotherapy is not
Pacific University an applied science, it
School of Professional Psychology is a basic science in
2004 Pacific Avenue which the scientists
Forest Grove, OR 97116 USA are the client and his
<> therapist"
--George Kelly