Re: PCP psychotherapy books

Rob Adelman (
Wed, 7 Jul 1999 12:02:31 -0500

In response to the Kelly quote seekers and the question of what do you do as a
constructivist therapist, I am reminded that Kelly said somewhere that a
psychologist should not always be so intent on being a psychologist. I assume
he meant that a psychologist has to explore a variety of roles to play with the
client, and not become locked into acting solely from his/her mindset as a
"professional" helper.

> From: Tim Connor <>
> To:
> Subject: Re: PCP psychotherapy books
> Date: Tuesday, June 29, 1999 10:20 PM
> I must confess, I've been somewhat disappointed in most of the
> practice-oriented books on PCP I've read, though I wouldn't want to
> suggest that they aren't useful. I own Winter's book, as well as Fay
> Fransella & Peggy Dalton's "Personal Construct Counseling in Action" and
> Linda Viney's "Personal Construct therapy: A Handbook," and have found
> all of them valuable (Winter's is most useful as a guide to the
> literature on PCP psychotherapy; it's not at all a manual, though it
> very effectively delineates the range of techniques that have been used
> in personal construct therapy).
> It seems to me that much of the writing on PCP therapy practice goes to
> such great effort not to be a cookbook that it often falls in the other
> direction--it fails to provide much in the way of technique at all,
> seeming to proceed from the assumption that if you really understand the
> theory, you'll know what to do. There's also far too much emphasis on
> grids, compared to all the rest of the stuff that happens in therapy.
> It's a difficult line to walk--I would hate to see PCP reduced to a set
> of pat, manualized "interventions" (as if such a thing were possible).
> But I don't think that theory itself is enough to inform clinical
> practice--there needs to be some sense of how particular kinds of
> actions by the therapist help the client's reconstruing, and this tends
> to get somewhat short shrift.
> There are a lot of good chapters in edited books in the PCP
> literature--maybe when I have a bit of time I'll dig around and come up
> with a list. (One that comes to mind immediately is Bob Neimeyer's
> chapter in Rosen & Kuehlwein's "Constructing Realities": "Process
> interventions for the constructivist psychotherapist.") And there are
> some books that are not explicitly PCP oriented, but that seem (to me)
> quite compatible. One of the best of these, IMHO, is Ecker & Hulley's
> "Depth-Oriented Brief Therapy," which acknowledges some debt to Kelly,
> but not as much as it should.
> I would love to see a collection of PCP case studies, with extensive
> transcripts and commentary. Maybe someone's working on this already.
> Best,
> Tim