Re: Aesthetics, PCP and broaders issues in general.

Devi (
Wed, 20 May 98 11:57:37 +0100

Charles Smith writes:

>Concerning PCP and particularly aesthetics, Kelly's claimed focus of
>convenience for his theory was on enabling individuals to restructure their
>past, so a reasonable use of PCP would be to help those with obviously bad
>taste to change it. (Perhaps Devi might volunteer his love for Newcastle
>United Football Club as a test bed for treatment. I'm sure he could be

While I appreciate the affectionate intent with which this comment is
made, I'd like to focus on a more serious aspect.

Not being a clinician, my knowledge of Freudian thinking is miniscule,
but in this context, I do feel that there's a point that needs making.
Namely, that an interpersonal relationship in which one party assumes the
right to tell the other that his/her constructions of an issue are
ineffective, inappropriate, misguided, or plain "wrong" will end in just
two ways. The first party may convince the second, or s/he may not. Yes?

As I understand it, Freud's use of the unconscious, and of the various
defense mechanisms, involves just this right: the therapist knows better
than the client about the client's construing. I see no problem in
situations in which understanding is negoatiated between the two parties
such that the client accepts that the therapist knows better, and goes on
to use the analysis offered to make better sense of his or her life.

But what if s/he doesn't? It's at that point that the usefulness of a
Freudian approach terminates, and PCP comes into its own: accepting the
client's ontology and his/her constructions, it's capable of negotiating
alternative constructions that serve the client's purposes, leaving the
client to judge whether the result makes sense. The person defines his or
her personhood; for someone else to do so is a denial of personhood.

I'm sorry if this seems banal; but perhaps it's why Kelly had little to
do with unconscious motivation. (One thinks of Don Bannister's
knockabout comments on multiple agency when he discussed Freudian ideas
of personality structure, and so on.)

You'll have a hard job in convincing me that my support for Newcastle
United is misguided if you set out to "cure" me! Unless, of course, you
accept _my_ definition of "cure". ("A preference for Sunderland United
FC?" Harraway, me bonny lad: thu ciuar's worse than the diseese, Man!)

Kind regards,