Re: Personal Projects Analysis

MS Offer (
Tue, 09 Feb 1999 10:48:58 +0000

Travis Gee's comments incite me to enter the fray though I am not a
clinical psychologist. Isn't it possible that we confuse "sociality" and
"commonality"? How far is commonality necessary as a basis for sociality?
As I remember my reading of Kelly, the mark of sociality is to subsume the
construct system of another. This is a morally neutral term - and sociality
might be demonstrated by, say, a prison goevernor of a prison or a
concentration camp commandant who could anticipate effectively the
constructions their inmates would put upon their actions and situations
arising, and thus take action ahead of them to forestall a break out.
Demonstrating sociality is thus a necessary but not sufficient condition,
which, while without it you cannot as Kelly says, play any role in relation
to others, is by no means the end of the matter and may not involve your
constructs being "mapped on to" anyone else's - which suggests commonality,
but "docked with" - in the way a shuttle might dock with a module in space,
and hence be able to take control of it or communicate with it, etc. In
therapy, of course, other ethical considerations will be involved and give
a special colour to sociality.You need to add some notion of reciprocity,
caring etc.which are not ipso facto or automatically implied by "sociality"

However, the idea that if a therapist could supply constructs to a client
and the latter could use them, this would show "validity" seems more
likely, to me, to prove that the client can subsume the therapist's
construct system ("sociality" on the client's part) rather than the
validity of using those constructs?

And if a construct is, as Kelly said, a way in which two things are similar
to each other and different from a third, isn't any unipolar "construct"
simply one where the nature of the implied third element hasn't been
identified or articulared? I know nothing about therapy, but to my naive
view, that sounds a bit sloppy and potentially dangerous or at least
misleading - how do you know what someone really means unless you also know
what they don't mean? (Unless you are relying on the fac that you are both
e.g.white, male and protestant, and assuming that you share a common
construction?) Isn't one of the key ways in which people's construct
systems differ, the use of opposite poles that are not like those of
others? It's what they don't say that is interesting, often, rather than
the fact that they agree with you or appear to use the same words.

This is a case of fools rush in where angels fear to tread - as a mere
careers counsellor/trainer, I guess I should duck below the parapet now!

Best wishes

Marcus Offer
National Institute for Careers Education & Counselling
27 Vale Way
Kings Worthy
SO23 7LL
Tel 01962 885619
Fax 01962 881411