Re: Aesthetics, PCP and broaders issues in general.

Charles Smith (
Wed, 20 May 1998 20:50:37 +0100

At 11:57 20-5-98 +0100, you wrote:
>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.)

Yes, but I think you can also subdivide between Freud his friends, who
believed that Symbols (note the upper case) were universal and static, and
therefore needed interpretation by an expert in Symbols, and other
post-Freudians who believe, as you would, that symbols (lower case) and
their associations are individually constructed, and therefore changeable
with the help of an expert in the use of symbols in general.

Whether there are people out there needing a PCP counseling service to help
them change their aesthetics is another matter. The charge rates would
presumably depend on the extent of the required change.

>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,

I can't believe that any other human could ever understand your position, so
agree it is entirely up to you. But remember, you don't have to live with
the pain for ever. There is always an alternative.

Best wishes for next season and whey hey.