“Constructivist psychotherapy” is a comprehensive term encompassing a range of constructivist ideas in the realm of therapy, including personal construct psychotherapy (Kelly, 1955); narrative psychotherapy (White & Epston, 1990), dialogical therapy (Hermans & Dimaggio, 2004) and coherence therapy (Ecker & Hulley, 2008). It is founded on various constructivist and constructionist threads (developmental, personal, radical, social, etc.) and also relies on humanistic, feminist and systemic perspectives. Additionally, constructivist approach to psychotherapy is very closely related to the postmodern thought.
Constructivist philosophy implies stepping away from the idea of an objective reality based on a world which can be known. Instead, this approach offers a perspective where imaginative processes, together with human senses, shape different world views, based on various cognitive capacities of humans. If these views, i.e. mental models of the world, are successful, we interpret them as outside reality. Unlike the objectivist approach where the human mind is compared to an audience member, who has arrived late to a play, and can only notice and register what is happening on a pre-arranged stage, constructivist therapy deals with a constructivist mind. This means that what enables humans to navigate their way around life is not a precise, accurate description of the “territory” as it is, but rather a collection of mental models or “maps” which have been organized based on fictions created by humans, which serve the purpose of directing and guiding their actions.
Knowledge, as an outcome of the process of construing is not a “postcard from reality”, but rather a result of human constitutive inquiring efforts, utilized to create and interpret the world, as well as to attempt to revise and reshape these interpretations if they should prove to be unsuccessful and unreliable. Assistance and facilitation of psychological processes necessary to successfully perform these activities is the aim of constructivist psychotherapy. We may, therefore, say that constructivist psychotherapy attempts to assist individuals in changing their view of themselves, the world and themselves in the world (for more details see Personal Construct Psychology: Introduction to theory and therapy, D.Stojnov, Novi Sad: Psiholoplis, 2010).
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