Scientific conference report - “Developing Sociality in the 21st Century” XIV Biennial Conference of the European Personal Construct Association, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, July 5th to 8th, 2018

Between 5. and 8. of July this year, the European Personal Construct Association (EPCA) or-ganised its latest scientific conference.

The audience had the distinct pleasure to hear Michael Mascolo, from the Merrimack Col-lege in Massachusetts, as the keynote speaker addressing the use of the dialectical approachand Kelly’s idea of role relationship in conflict resolution.

Sociality and intersubjectivity, the concepts that highlight the primacy of social relations in the construction of meaning, were just some of the topics covered by a number of work-shops and discussions. In that sense, the theoretical bases of said concepts, as well as their application in therapy and research were covered in depth. One particularly interesting lecture was Harry Procter’s presentation of the qualitative grid as an instrument designed to analyse how relationships between two or more people are being construed.

As per usual, the programme also involved a number of topics on clinical and psychotherapeutic use of personal construct theory. One workshop addressed a constructivist approach to depressive symptoms occurring with patients with fibromyalgia, while the others covered a variety of ways constructivist therapy can be used with people diagnosed with psychotic disorders, children and adolescents, abused women, cases of borderline personality disorder, and Internet addicts.

Professor Dušan Stojnov had a remarkable report under the name Alternative constructions of personality: From mask to discourse, in which he revealed the changeability, historicalness, and discursive design of personality, personhood, self and identity by allying the idea of constructive alternativism with Foucault’s genealogy. The obvious resonance of this re-port has led to its second presentation as requested by Trinity College in Edinburgh.

Dr. Vladimir Džinović presented his report titled PCP and the multiple self, describing Mair’s community-of-self metaphor and Bakhtin’s concept of poliphony as the theoretical footings in understanding the multiple self. He has also demonstrated the methodological approach to understanding the multiple self, as well as a model of enforcing reconstruction within the self based on one constructivist method – rologram. The use of this model was illustrated on a case of a woman suffering anxiety in the context of university.

Dušan Mandić participated within the poster section, with the paper Breaking the school discipline – an insight into students’ personal meanings. His paper presents five case studies on high school students disciplined for class absence and teacher confrontation, all five providing an analysis of each student’s construction of their own offence. The analysis revealed that students experience their problematic behaviour as a mean of protecting their preferred experience of self. Thanks to this paper, Dušan Mandić won the award for the best poster presentation of the congress.

We are particularly pleased to point out that the Serbian Constructivist Association has a distinct honour to host the next European Personal Construct Association conference, which will take place in Belgrade in 2020.

Additionally, it has been decided that the conference of 2022 be held in Brno, Czech Republic, and hosted by Miroslav Filip, from Masaryk University.