Studies in Meaning
Studies in Meaning is the official book series of the Constructivist Psychology Network (CPN). Each volume contains new contributions intended to advance the study of constructivist theory, research, and practice. Volumes are typically organized around one or more unifying themes in order to provide readers a variety of timely papers that resonate with one another and the theme at hand while standing as scholarly contributions in their own right.
This volume marks an effort by prominent constructivist scholars both to overview varieties of constructivism and to examine the implications of constructivism for psychological research, theory, and practice. Among the constructivist approaches compared, contrasted, and integrated throughout the book’s fifteen chapters are personal construct psychology, radical constructivism, and social constructionism. Specific topics include sexual abuse, abnormal behavior, psychotherapy, human science research, and applied psychology. The contributions contained herein highlight current thinking and new directions on the burgeoning constructivist landscape.
Constructivist psychology focuses on how people create meaningful ways of understanding themselves and the world, which they in turn use to navigate everyday life. However, a persistent point of contention has been whether our constructions primarily originate from individuals or the social context. Those coming from an individual or personal perspective have argued that each of us subjectively constructs a private, idiographic understanding of the world. By contrast, those from a social or relational perspective contend that the ways we understand our world and ourselves are primarily communal products, constituted via the dynamic interplay of culture, language, and ongoing relationships. This book marks an attempt to “bridge the gap” between personal and social perspectives within constructivism. The chapters within stress the emerging integration of personal and social aspects of therapy, research, and theory development. As a result, this volume continues an already vibrant scholarly dialogue about personal and social perspectives within constructivist psychology. The chapters stand on their own as unique contributions, while also expounding on important personal/social themes.
Constructivist psychotherapy remains somewhat unfamiliar to many clinicians, despite offering a variety of innovative and practical therapeutic approaches and techniques. In this volume, constructivist psychology is presented as it relates to everyday practice. The chapters provide many examples of what constructivist psychotherapy looks like in the real world, showing how one can make the transition from constructivist theory to constructivist practice with ease. Constructivist therapy often gets labeled as too theoretical and lacking in clinical specificity. Yet here is a volume with chapters that succinctly and cogently explicate basic theoretical concepts and then demonstrate them with vivid case examples taken from applied experience in the field.
This volume highlights constructivism's multiplicity through fourteen stimulating and, at times, controversial scholarly contributions intended to sharpen the implications of constructivism for social critique and psychological practice.
Is constructivist psychology still relevant? Was it ever? Is it merely an obtuse cluster of theories bogged down in obscure epistemological debates of little to no relevance for most people? Why is it that constructivism is so often referenced in the clinical literature, yet organizationally it counts only a small number of people among its identifiable adherents and struggles to sustain itself as a coherent movement within the field? This volume takes up these issues by having prominent constructivist theorists put aside the usual topics of their scholarship and instead directly grapple with the very questions posed above. Borrowing the language of radical constructivism, the resulting contributions are intended to “perturb” the status quo and get constructivists and non-constructivists alike thinking about constructivism’s past, future, strengths, weaknesses, and overall utility.