Keynote speech

David Winter (University of Hertfordshire)
The continuing relevance and expropriation of personal construct approaches to psychological disorder and therapy
George Kelly’s perspective on psychological disorder, and its subsequent refinements, will be outlined. It will be argued that this provides a formulation-based approach that still offers a radical and necessary alternative to traditional psychiatric diagnosis, as currently enshrined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Contemporary approaches to personal construct psychotherapy will then be described, and compared with other models of therapy and constructivist developments within these. There will be consideration both of the distinctive features of the personal construct approach and of its integrative potential. The evidence base for personal construct psychotherapy will also be reviewed, and the paper will conclude with discussion of the future of the personal construct approach to clinical practice.

David Winter is Professor of Clinical Psychology and Programme Director of the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (the only such programme in the U.K. to have an explicitly constructivist philosophy) at the University of Hertfordshire, U.K. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and spent most of his working life as a clinical psychologist and personal construct psychotherapist in the British National Health Service, where he applied personal construct psychology in clinical practice and research. His approximately 150 publications include Personal Construct Psychology in Clinical Practice (Routledge, 1992), and Personal Construct Psychotherapy (with Linda Viney: Whurr, 2005), and he is currently editing (with Nick Reed) the Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Personal Construct Psychology and Towards a Radical Redefinition of Psychology: The Selected Papers of Miller Mair. Although his work has primarily been in the clinical field, it has by no means been limited to this area, and some of his more recent applications of personal construct psychology have concerned serial killers and mass murderers, as well as survivors of civil war in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

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