Constructivist Psychotherapy: Principles into Practice

By Neimeyer, Greg J.; Lyddon, William J. | Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, January 1, 1993 | Go to article overview

Constructivist Psychotherapy: Principles into Practice


Neimeyer, Greg J., Lyddon, William J., Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy


The field of cognitive psychotherapy has experienced considerable growth and development in recent years and, as a result, has become a prominent feature of the psychotherapeutic landscape (Dobson, 1988; Dryden & Golden, 1986; Freeman, Simon, Beutler, & Arkowitz, 1989; Ingram, 1986; Neimeyer & Neimeyer, 1987). Increased differentiation, however, has accompanied this growth, as new developments from both within and outside the cognitive and clinical sciences have been brought to bear on current configurations of the field. Among the most notable of these developments, has been the emergence of the constructivist perspective (Mahoney & Lyddon, 1988).

As Mahoney (1991) points out, the term constructivism originates from the Latin construere, which "means 'to interpret' or 'to analyze,' with emphasis on a person's active 'construing' of a particular meaning or significance" (p. 96). More formally, the term as it is used in philosophy and psychology refers to a theory of knowledge, or epistemology, that is based on the assertion that "humans actively create and construe their personal realities" (Mahoney & Lyddon, 1988, p. 200). Constructivist epistemology is often contrasted with objectivist theories of knowledge.

Objectivists tend to believe in a free-standing, stable, and external reality - a reality that gradually yields its timeless truths under the succession of increasingly accurate approximations of its innermost nature. Constructivists, on the other hand, assume that the primary source of knowledge is the human capacity for creative and imaginative thought, and thus speak of an invented reality. Constructivists and objectivists also differ with regard to the criteria by which truth claims about knowledge may be warranted. While objectivists focus on the accuracy or validity of knowledge as a measure of epistemic truth (that is, how well knowledge either copies or corresponds to objective reality), constructivists view all knowledge as inherently fallible and thus measure the value of knowledge in terms of its current utility or viability (Anderson, 1990; Howard, 1991; Mahoney, 1991). Moreover, from a constructivist perspective, human knowledge and human knowing structures are presumed to have the capacity to undergo developmental changes in the direction of increased complexity and integration (Guidano, 1990; Mahoney, 1991).

Three salient themes shape the focus of this Special Issue on the interface of constructivism and cogntive psychotherapy: pragmaticism, diversity, and integrationism. First, as the title of the issue indicates, the overriding emphasis is on the practical dimensions of constructivist psychotherapy. All the contributions to this volume are designed to elucidate the way in which general constructivist principles are translated into the everyday realities of clinical practice. In the lead article Robert Neimeyer sets the stage for this focus by differentiating traditional cognitive-behavioral features from constructivist emphases at both the level of epistemology and the level of clinical strategy. He argues that these contrasts, rather than representing distinct boundaries between various cognitive approaches (e.g., rationalist vs. constructivist), may instead be better understood as useful dimensions for measuring emerging developments within particular schools of therapy.

A second theme reflected by the contributions is that of diversity. An attempt has been made to highlight the diversity of assessment practices, strategic methods, and clinical applications emanating from contemporary constructivist orientations. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Constructivist Psychotherapy: Principles into Practice
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.