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The constructivist psychologies theorize about and investigate how human beings create internal systems for meaningfully understanding their worlds and experiences. [1] In psychotherapy, for example, this frame could translate into a therapist asking questions that confront a client's world-view in an effort to expand his or her meaning making habits. The assumption here is that clients encounter problems not because life is inherently problematic or because they have a mental disease but because of the way the client constructs their problems through language.

This approach to the development of values, attitudes and beliefs through processess in the internal world should be seen as complementing and reacting with the processes identified in social constructionism which mediate group and societal identities in the external world.

Main Constructivist TheoriesEdit

Personal Construct TheoryEdit

Main article: Personal construct psychology

George Kelly was concerned primarily with the epistemic role of the observer in interpreting reality. He argued that the way we expect to experience the world alters how we feel about it and act. In other words, we order ourselves by ordering our thoughts. The goal of his therapeutic approach was therefore to allow the client to explore their own minds, acting as a facilitator but not intervening.

Genetic EpistemologyEdit

Main article: Genetic epistemology

Jean Piaget argued that positions of knowledge are grown into; that they are not given a priori, as in Kant's epistemology, but rather that knowledge structures develop through interaction.

In contrast to Kelly's implicit verificationism, Piaget's theory is ultimately falsificationist: "behaviour is the motor of evolution." Change only occurs if the subject engages with experiences from outside its worldview.

See alsoEdit


  • Raskin, Jonathan D.(2002) Constructivism in Psychology: Personal Construct Psychology, Radical Constructivism, and Social Constructionism, American Communication Journal. Volume 5, Issue 3.
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