Section 1: Introduction: Varieties of Constructivism
George Kelly
Ernst von Glasersfeld
Humberto Maturana

Section 2: Self-Organising Systems
The Personal Construct System as a Self-Organising System.
Change and Stability
Stabilising Change
The Cognitive Domain

Section 3: Implications for Psychotherapy and Ethics
Apostolic Zeal:
Kelly: Types of change
Concluding Comments




Section 1 - Introduction: Varieties of Constructivism

George Kelly

In using the term "constructivism", Kelly (1955) intended the dual meaning of "Constructive Vs Destructive" and also `constructive' as in creating or inventing something new, some innovation or novelty. The central philosophy of the `Psychology of Personal Constructs' is that of Constructive Alternativism which connotes the human capacity for audacious creativity and surprise. We do not have to be `victims of our own biography' but rather we can `transcend the obvious' by reaching beyond what appear to us to be inviolable `objective truths`. That is, we can reach beyond our "psychological redundancies" (p.9, 1977) through processes of construing as opposed to 'representing' or 'simulating' the environment (p.4, 1988). The following quote illustrates the philosophy of alternativism on which Kelly's work is premised.

"What we think we know is anchored only in our own assumptions, not in the bed rock of truth itself, and that world we seek to understand remains always on the horizons of our thoughts. To grasp this principle fully is to concede that everything we believe to exist appears to us the way it does because of our present constructions of it. Thus even the most obvious things in this world are wide open to reconstruction in the future. This is what we mean by the expression constructive alternativism, the term with which we identify our philosophical position." (Kelly, P. 6, 1977).

He goes on to say that we will "assume also that there is indeed a real world out there, one that is largely independent of our assumptions".

In these quotes we see Kelly's emphasis on our own responsibility for personally inventing reality. He believes that there is no event which could be called "stark reality" because there is no event which we cannot reconstrue alternately. The central assumption is that we can invent something that is not already known or is not already in existence.

His view of alternativism is made clear where he says,

"Whatever exists can be reconstrued" and, "I do not believe either the client or the therapist has to lie down and let facts crawl over him." (P. 227, 1969).

He adds this clarification,

"... for me to say that whatever exists can be reconstrued is by no manner or means to say that it makes no difference how it is reconstrued. Quite the contrary. It often makes a world of difference. Some reconstructions may open fresh channels for a rich and productive life. Others may offer one no alternative save suicide". (P. 228, 1969).

Heinz von Foerster (1984) echoes this position where he says

"I would like to now uphold the basic idea of really coming up with something which has not arisen before; you have not `stumbled' over anything at all, you have brought something into being, it is a creative act." (P. 270, 1984)

Further, when asked how is it possible for us to have surprises in the light of the notion that we construct our own realities he replies " You are a very inventive character - you even invent your surprises." (P. 188, 1984).

In the above quotations from Kelly we see his emphasis on our own responsibility for personally inventing reality. He believes that there is no event which could be called ‘stark reality’ because there is no event which we cannot reconstrue alternatively. The central assumption is that we can invent something that is not already known or is not already in existence.

We can characterise the position of his early writings as that of `trivial' (Vs radical) constructivism where he avows the existence of a real world which is there independently of any observer. His theory is that we construct a system or 'map' of the territory which we can continually improve by testing it out against the objective reality of the territory.

The objects of the real world can `object' to our `map' and cause us to change our system of axes, or our psychological space. Thus, the Kellian person exists in a dual reality, that of the real world and that which he makes of the real world (his constructions). Central to the characterisation of a constructivist theory as ‘trivial’ is the notion that we can ‘improve’ or get better in our mapping of the world.

Ernst von Glasersfeld

Ernst von Glasersfeld (1984) goes beyond Kelly's position into radical constructivism by stating that the most we can ever achieve is to discover what the world is not. Unlike Kelly he does not believe that our constructions of reality can `match' (reflect) the independently existing reality, nor can we discover any "ultimate correspondence" between the two. This would be epistemological cheating; rather as if a blind man were to have occasional access to vision in order to check how well his touch sensations map was matching up with how things really looked. Instead, von Glasersfeld proposes that our constructions may `fit' with reality in the way that a key may fit a lock. The fit of the key is defined in terms of its effectiveness in opening the lock and so fitting is a description of the key's capacity and does not refer to the lock. Furthermore, several different keys (constructions) may fit the same lock. This theory also encourages alternativism in that we should be flexible enough in our living to carry many `alternative keys' to ensure our effectiveness when faced with life's locks. This position is radical because,

"... it breaks with convention and develops a theory of knowledge in which knowledge does not reflect an 'objective' ontological reality, but exclusively an ordering and organization of a world constituted by our experience" (von Glasersfeld in Dell 1985, P. 292).

Even in this radical position there is still this implacable ‘real world' out there with which we continually collide with varying degrees of surprise and discomfort. Von Glasersfeld maintains that this `real world' "manifests itself exclusively there where our constructions break down". (P. 39, 1984). However, since we must construe these breakdowns in terms of our own (same) system of constructs which have already led to the failed structure (un-fitness), then we can never be in a position to know anything about the world that triggered the breakdown. We can only reconstrue our own system of ordering and its closed recursive processes.

Humberto Maturana

Humberto Maturana takes the issue further by criticising the notion of radical constructivism as not going far enough. Maturana (1980) states that there is no objectively existing reality independent of any observer. Without the observer there is nothing (no-thing). Furthermore, due to the organizational closure of the nervous system, that at the moment of experiencing we "cannot experientially distinguish between what we call perception and hallucination." The observer `brings forth' his own reality by making his operations of distinction as the following quote makes clear.

"Therefore, we literally create the world in which we live by living it. If a distinction is not performed, the entity that this distinction would specify does not exist; when a distinction is performed, the created entity exists in the domain of the distinction only, regardless of how the distinction is performed. There is no other kind of existence for such an entity." [Maturana, 1978]

By putting {objectivity} in parentheses Maturana insists on reminding us that our reality is our own creation, completely dependent on our operations of distinction. From this position he criticises radical constructivism for proposing the notion of `fit' as the criterion of knowing where our theory breaks down, since this implies that we have access to an objective reality, independent of any observer which can falsify our constructions.

"By putting objectivity in parenthesis we recognise that living together, that consensual operational coherences, that operations of distinction in language, constitute the generation and validation of all reality." (Mendez, Coddou and Maturana, 1987).

Kelly in some of his writings comes very close to Maturana's position where he emphasises the personal nature of the construction of reality.

"Neither our constructs nor our construing systems come to us from nature, except, of course, from our own nature. It must be noted that this philosophical position of constructive alternativism has much more powerful epistemological implications than one might at first suppose. We cannot say that constructs are essences distilled by the mind out of available reality. They are imposed upon events, not abstracted from them. There is only one place they come from, that is from the person who is to use them. He devises them. Moreover, they do not stand for anything or represent anything, as a symbol, for example, is supposed to do". (1970).

Here we see Kelly emphasising the closure of the construct system, the ontology of the observer as Maturana calls it. However, it falls short of Maturana's position insofar as there are still 'events' separate from the observer upon which he places his constructions. For Maturana it is the construct distinctions which actually bring forth the events. The territory is the map. However, Kelly does repeatedly attempt to warn us of the danger of confusing objects and constructs, that the map is not the territory. It must be made clear at this point that a ‘construct’ is an individual act of discrimination and not the objects so discriminated, nor is it the verbal label we use to speak about such a sense-making discrimination.

"It must always be clear that the construct is a reference axis devised by a man for establishing a personal orientation toward the various events he encounters. It is not itself a category of events or even the focus of a class."

[Kelly, 1969 p. 10]

"..this is a case of the subject matter being confounded with the constructs one has devised in order to understand it." (P.2, 1977).


"What we tend to do is to accept familiar constructs as downright objective observations of what is really there, and to view with great suspicion anything whose subjective - though possibly more remote - origins usually escapes us. We continue to refer to them as objective observations, as the "givens" in the theorems of daily existence." (P.5, 1977)

Maturana also takes great pains to highlight this danger which he discusses in terms of how easily the object we bring forth obscures the very operation of distinction which used to bring it forth. The result is that we take our own creations as if they were objectively existing, independently of our distinctions.

Therefore, in construing we are relating our ‘selves’ to the events at hand within the personal orientation domain generated by our construct [meaning] system. This relates to later comments below on the cognitive domain within which we are oriented, simultaneously, toward effective interactions in our medium, and to the conservation of our organisation.

In discussing a related theme, that of `representing' events as opposed to `construing' them Kelly comes very close to one of the most radical aspects of Maturana's theorising, i.e. where he abandons the notion of mental representations that correspond to events in the world. Since for Maturana the nervous system is organisationally closed, and he has no place for notions such as information being transmitted, or inputs arriving to the organism, or the independent existence of `things' outside the observer then he has no need to postulate mental models which try to accurately represent reality. Rather he substitutes his notion of `structural coupling' in the place of `representations'.

Kelly does not go so far but he does attempt to substitute his notion of construing for that of representation. Instead of attempting to simulate or symbolically reproduce events we must rather develop approaches to events which can help us to achieve a transcendent understanding of them.

"Our constructs must enable us to subsume his constructs, not merely simulate them....

Furthermore, it seems clear that if we are to talk psychologically about any subject matter at all we cannot allow ourselves to rely upon simulative terms alone., We must use constructive terms, and these are terms for which we must hold ourselves - not their objects - firmly responsible...

‘It is sometimes said that man is the only animal who can represent his environment. The implication is that this ability to simulate reality is the principal psychological feature of man, and, hence, something we all ought to cultivate. To be sure, the reproduction of reality is one of the post hoc tests of understanding - prediction, for example, is another. But the mere reproduction of reality adds precious little to one's understanding of it. Man can and does do better than that. This, of course, is something every artist knows. As for the artist, so for all of us; to construe the surrounding world is to visualise it in more than one dimension. And this is no less true for the psychological theorist. He, like the artist - and man - must transcend the obvious. A simulative theory is not enough; in fact it is no theory at all, only a technician's blueprint for the reproduction of something." (p.3-4, 1977).

This clear rejection of ‘representation’ is an aspect of these theories most likely to shake our ‘common sense’ notion that we can and do have clear representations which correspond to our immediate environment. If we remove this ‘common sense’ then it seems to be very difficult to imagine what type of world we are left with. In fact, Ernst von Glasersfeld invites us to view our environment as a ‘black box’ because we can never come to know it as if an objective reality.

"What we experiment with, in the last analysis, never anything but the interrelation of our signals which we have come to consider input to, and output from, the black box of the ‘universe’; and what we modify or control by our activities are always, as William Powers [1973] has formulated it, our own perceptions, i.e., the signals we call sense data, and the ways in which we coordinate them. ... even the most spectacular successes we achieve in predicting and controlling our experience give us no logical ground whatsoever for the assumption that our constructs correspond to or reflect structures that ‘exist’ prior to our coordinating activity. " [von Glasersfeld, 1987, p. 108].

With these comments on self-coordination we may now proceed to the next section.


Section 2: Self-Organising Systems

The second law of thermodynamics states that order is unstable and that processes inevitably move towards an increase of chaos and breakdown. However, a number of theories have emerged in the recent past which argue that the opposite is also true in certain physical, chemical and biological phenomena where it is found that it is chaos which is unstable. There has been a shift from the previous concern with the itemisation of static components to a process-oriented view, from 'being' to `becoming'. In his attempts to propagate the constructivist process view of persons, Heinz von Foerster suggests that we should no longer call ourselves `human beings' but rather `human becomings'. His work in the Biological Computer Laboratory (University of Illinois) emphasised the self-organising features of living systems. Ilya Prigogine's work on dissipative structures in chemical systems led to the development of a new ordering principle which he called `order through fluctuation'. Erich Jantsch`s (1980) theorising on self-organising systems led him to attempt to integrate a variety of theories of self-regulation and self-organization within the framework of the phenomenon of dissipative self-organization. In particular he tried to unify within his paradigm Prigogine's theory of dissipative structures (order out of chaos), Maturana's concept of autopoiesis (self-production) and Eigen's (1971) theory of self-reproducing hypercycles.

Jantsch viewed autopoiesis as "one of the ways in which the self organization of non-equilibrium systems manifests itself". (P. 66, 1981). He also states that

"Autopoiesis refers to the characteristic of living systems to continuously renew themselves and to regulate this process in such a way that the integrity of their structure is maintained. Whereas a machine is geared to the output of a specific product, a biological cell is primarily concerned with renewing itself." (P. 7, 1980).

These theories are unified by being oriented to generating models of living, interactive systems which are characterised by the features of autonomy (self-determination), self organization, and self-renewal.

Maturana defines an autopoietic system in this way:

"...A composite unity whose organization can be described as a closed network of productions of components that through their interactions constitute the network of productions that produce them, and specify its extension by constituting its boundaries in their domain of existence, is an autopoietic system." (P.39, 1986).

Autopoiesis is therefore a very particular type of organization characterised by a recursive self-production where it is impossible to distinguish the product, producer or production. Any system, biological or otherwise can be analysed in terms of its organization and its structure.

While the notion of autopoiesis was invented specifically for the context of the cellular domain and does not translate readily to the domains of the social or the psychological, any system, biological or otherwise can be analysed in the more generalizable terms of organization and structure. The structure of a system is defined as the concrete components and the actual relations that exist between them which realise or materialise the system as a particular composite unity characterised by its particular organization.

"In other words, the structure of a particular composite unity is the manner it is actually made by actual static or dynamic components and relations in a particular space, and a particular composite unity conserves its class identity only as long as its structure realizes in it the organization that defines its class identity." (P. 335, 1987)

What then is the organization? This refers only to a subset of all the actual relations of structure. For the organization to retain its class identity invariant this specific subset of relations among components must be conserved.

"In other words, the organization of a composite unity is the configuration of static or dynamic relations between its components that specifies its class identity as a composite unity that can be distinguished as a simple unity of a particular kind." (P. 17, 1986).

Therefore, all changes must occur through the structure of the system. The system is structure-determined. Its structure may change endlessly while keeping the organization invariant. The system lasts as long as its organization (class identity) is conserved. Living consists in the conservation of identity. This is realised in structures which change continuously. There are only two types of structural change, that in which the organization is maintained (changes of state) and that in which the organization is destroyed. These two categories of change have a correspondence to the emergence of psychological difficulties in personal construct psychology. We can define psychological distress in terms of -

(1) Structure, as where a person repeatedly uses some construct system structure despite having experienced consistent invalidation of it, and

(2) Organization, where the structural changes are so widespread throughout the interconnected system that whole system disintegrates and the current organization (identity) is lost.

As we have seen, Maturana defines a living system as one which must conserve both its organization (identity) and its means of "fitting" with its environment (structural coupling). In Kelly's terms, the core constructs of the system are the self-maintenance processes (conserving our organization), while our subordinate system of constructs provides the instrumental channels whereby we directly relate ourselves to the world as embodied subjects. The whole personal construct system can therefore be seen as organizationally closed while being structurally open. It is in the latter that we find the way the person changes himself in order to conserve his stability (Keeney, 1983). Dis-order or dis-organization arises when either level of conservation is threatened. That is, dis-order of the relations of `fitting', or dis-order of the relations of self-constitution. Since the system cannot make mistakes, what is usually called a `symptom' is merely an alternative means of `fitting' with the world, of relating oneself to one's circumstances, of carrying out an experiential experiment, or, in Maturana's terms, it is a way of structurally compensating for an environmental perturbation. The more the person does (practices) the `symptom', the more it is recursively recycled into his core-role (identity). In this way the person cleaves or specifies a meaning-space within which he can effectively act to maintain his autopoiesis. (His organization specifies his cognitive domain).

In all of this it is important to bear in mind that constructs are not something that one ‘has’ [like instruments or possessions] which one may ‘apply to’ external objects or events. Rather, you are your constructs. ‘Being’ is brought forth through enacting what is ‘known’. The ‘construer’, the ‘construing’, the ‘constructs’, and the ‘constructions’ are all one indivisible wholeness.

In Maturana's view the circular organization of the living system is premised on the assumption that previous interactions will recur. Since the organization specifies the interactions that the system can engage in., this prediction of recurring interactions is crucial since if they do not recur, the system will disintegrate. Maturana continues thus:

"Accordingly, the predictions implied in the organization of the living system are not predictions of particular events, but of classes of interactions. Every interaction is a particular interaction, but every prediction is a prediction of a class of interactions that is defined by those features of its elements that will allow the living system to retain its circular organization after the interaction, and thus, to interact again. This makes living systems inferential systems, and their domain of interactions a cognitive domain" (P.10, 1980)

This is also something that Kelly certainly agrees with since at the heart of his theory is the notion that a construct system is an anticipatory system of predictions and inferences. Because the system of constructs is interrelated and many lines of inference are to be found throughout the network of constructs they can form the basis of consistent and effective anticipations. Constructs are both descriptive and prescriptive, i.e. they describe events and tell us what to do with them.

In discussing the other issue which Maturana deals with in the above quote, i.e. that what is predicted is a class of interactions, Kelly has this to say:

"A person anticipates events by construing their replications. Since events never repeat themselves, else they would lose their identity, one can look forward to them only by devising some construction which permits him to perceive two of them in a similar manner....Perhaps it is true that events, as most of us would like to believe, really do repeat aspects of previous occurrences. But unless one thinks he is precocious enough to have hit upon what those aspects will ultimately turn out to be, or holy enough to have had them revealed to him, he must modestly concede that the appearance of replication is a reflection of his own fallible construction of what is going on. Thus the recurrent themes that make life seem so full of meaning are the original symphonic compositions of a man bent on finding the present in his past, and the future in his present." (pp. 11-12, 1970).

The emphasis on the anticipation of recurrences tends to make the system a conservative entity prone to ‘self’-fulfilling prophecies and increasing rigidity in the repertoire of viable ideas. To steer us away from rigidifying formulae and to keep us in the spirit of constructive alternativism, Kelly polarises a `world of chaos' against a `world of certainties' and warns us to beware of the obvious. While many people are tortured by the uncertainties of life, Kelly is suspicious of narrowing down our experience to things we can appear to know with assurance.

"But those things I once thought I knew for sure, those are what get me into hot water, time after time. They are a lot more troublesome than those things I have known all along that I didn't understand. Moreover, a world jam-packed with lead-pipe certainties, dictionary definitives, and doomsday finalities strikes me as a pretty gloomy place. How can there be any room in a world like that for such a nascent thing as life?

I suppose it would have to be conceded that life in the opposite kind of world - a world of chaos - might seem pretty hopeless after a while. But, as between the two - world without hopes or a world without doubts - I think for myself, I would prefer the world without hopes." (P.51, 1969).

Kelly therefore encourages us to destabilise our construct systems and to become dislodged from our sense of self. The process whereby we should do this is spelt out in his five-phased Cycle of Experience which begins with Anticipation where we begin to project our selves forward into oncoming events, continues with personal Investment, experientially Encountering the predicted events, the emergence of Confirmation or Dis-confirmation of one's initial Anticipation and the Constructive Revision of one's system. This leads one back again into a fresh experiential cycle beginning with new anticipations and so on. As far as Kelly is concerned the cycle of experience is not complete unless it concludes in "fresh hopes never before envisioned". (P. 9, 1977). The more we can invest ourselves in our anticipations and constructive revisions following falsification, the more vivid is our human experience. Kelly notes the following:

"But if he invests himself - the most intimate event of all - in the enterprise, the outcome, to the extent that it differs from his expectation or enlarges upon it, dislodges the man's construction of himself. In recognising the inconsistency between his anticipation and the outcome, he concedes a discrepancy between what he was and what he is. A succession of such investments and dislodgements constitutes the human experience. [Kelly, 1970, p.18]

Symptoms emerge from incompleted cycles of experience, where the client has become unable to fully engage in the cyclical flow. People become stuck at various parts of the cycle, for example by having such ambiguous anticipations that they cannot be fully specified in action; by being too afraid to risk themselves in commitment to personally investing themselves in the anticipatory prescriptions; by fearing encounter so much that when the event arrives they feel too threatened to fully 'indwell' it to use Polanyi's (1958) phrase; by having a system which refuses to construe any perturbation as a falsification; or by having a system which refuses to construe the outcomes of falsification or having done so the revised construct "is left to stand as an isolated axis of reference" (P.19, 1970) and so remains largely ignored. The emergent novelty or change must be cycled into the construct system if any change in the system is to take place. Kelly observes that

"....A symptom was an issue one expresses through the act of being his present self, not a malignancy that fastens itself upon a man. What they experienced as symptoms were urgent questions, behaviourally expressed, which had somehow lost the threads that lead either to answers or to better questions. The symptom was even a fragment of proper human experiment - one designed in childhood, perhaps, and repeated again and again in later years. Yet the experiment could never be carried through to its conclusion because the generating hypotheses had lost their contexts or because the current outcomes had slipped out of focus." (P. 19, 1969).

When we complete an experiential cycle we have revised our construction of events and also revised our perspective on the processes whereby we arrived at our new conclusions. In other words, at the outset of our next cycle we will have not only our new anticipation of events but also a new anticipating regarding the `effectiveness of the experiential procedures' we used last time round. (P. 21, 1970). Our construing of the way we go through the cycle of experience is a powerful mechanism for changing the ways we allow ourselves to change. Much of therapy is directed at changing the ways the client changes himself. From this point of view, symptoms are reframed as the way the person changes himself in order to remain organizationally invariant. In `choosing' to live in a world of no doubts a person may transform his experiential chaos into the order of symptoms. Another way to transform personal chaos and attempt to maintain one’s organisation is, paradoxically, to commit suicide. Taking affirmative action in the face of chaos is a way of validating what remains of one’s core structure.

Some of these notions together with the phenomena of self-sacrifice and altruistic behaviour raises complex issues for the theory of autopoiesis, discussion of which lies beyond the scope of this paper. There is a discussion of "nonautopoietic behaviour" in Andrew (1981).

The Personal Construct System as a Self-Organising System.

What I hope to show here is that Kelly’s views on personal construing are premised on treating the system as a closed network of self-production within a structure-determined framework. The corollaries of the formal theory variously emphasise the issues of conservation of organization in relation to possibilities for structural change. In what follows I group the various corollaries around these issues, although this is somewhat artificial, since they form a complex whole and so cut across simple change / invariance boundaries. It has already been implied that the notion of ‘pathology’ has no place within Kelly’s theory. Each one of us is ‘symptomatic’ to the degree that we abandon our various cycles of experience part-way through, leaving unexplored questions, unexpressed commitments, unapproached encounters, unexperienced dislodgement, or unintegrated novelty scattered about our experiential space.

In what follows, the role of the therapist as a co-experimenter with the client in activating, unfolding and elaborating the construing system must be kept in mind. Kelly characterised this role as that existing between a research student and his supervisor. The student is the expert in his own subject matter [in this case himself], and the supervisor is an expert in how to design viable experiential experiments, so that the joint explorations may lead to even more constructive living questing.

We now turn to examine the formal aspects of Kelly's theory - the Fundamental Postulate and the eleven elaborative corollaries - in terms of Maturana's distinction of organization & structure.

The Fundamental Postulate states the central core of the theory of personal constructs. It says:

"A person's processes are psychologically channelized by the ways in which he anticipates events."

The philosophy of constructive alternativism is embedded in this statement along with much else. Kelly sees his work as a metatheory, i.e. a psychological theory about how we can create psychological theories, and the inherently idiosyncratic personal nature of such creations. Having specified that the person is a form of movement, what has to be explained, is the direction of the personal processes and not the transformation of static states into processes (e.g. `motivation theories'). While Maturana explains the direction of drift in terms of the moment to moment co-ontogenic structural interactions of the system in its medium, (while conserving its organization and adaptation i.e. structural coupling), Kelly, on the other hand accounts for direction in terms of ways of anticipating events.

"...neither past nor future events are themselves ever regarded as basic determinants of the course of human action - not even the events of childhood. But one's way of anticipating them, whether in the short range or in the long view - this is the basic theme in the human process of living." (P. 10, 1970).

One’s ways of anticipating are of course determined by the repertoire of structure existing at any one moment. Earlier we have seen that Kelly and Maturana substituted their respective notions of `construing' and `structural coupling' in the place of `mental representations`. In this passage they substitute the same concepts (anticipatory construing and structural coupling) as their explanatory principle for direction of drift. That is, the ways in which we structurally couple with / construe events gives the channelized direction of drift to our social-psychological processes.

Leaving this discussion of Kelly's Fundamental Postulate we will now briefly examine his eleven corollaries in terms of their specification for the construct system of Structure and Organization, especially in terms of the place of change/stability and the Cognitive Domain.

Structure -

Components: An important feature of the components (constructs) is defined by the Dichotomy Corollary which states "A person's construction system is composed of a finite number of dichotomous constructs." According to Kelly, thinking is essentially dichotomous. Anything which can be said has an implied contrast which may either be obvious or difficult to articulate. He wishes to emphasise the intimate interpenetration of opposites like Heraclitus who promoted the notion of 'unity in diversity, and difference in unity'.

The meaning of any construct is generated by the complementarity of opposite poles. This corollary reminds the therapist to seek for implied or hidden contrasts about which the client cannot be explicit. It is only by coming to understand what else the person might have been that we can make any sense of what he has in fact become. In developing his argument for 'descriptive complementarity', Varela (1979) comments:

"There is, evidently, a need to overemphasise a neglected side of a polarity. Similarly, autonomy cannot in fact be conceived without a complementary consideration of how the system is also controlled in a dual context; in particular, autopoiesis and allopoiesis are complementary rather than exclusive characterizations for a system. What I will argue now is that an operational explanation for the living phenomenology needs a complementary mode of explanation to be complete, a mode of explanation that I have referred to as symbolic." (P. 71).

Relations: Next we turn to those corollaries which make statements about the relations obtaining among the components.

Organization Corollary: "Each person characteristically evolves, for his convenience in anticipating events, a construction system embracing ordinal relationships between constructs." This spells out the fact that the system must be comprised of clear channels of inference and movement, allowing the resolution of crucial contradictions, paradoxes and conflicts. The system must have a network of relations among constructs so that we can move among the network in an organised manner. This is a network of implicative relationships so that we can follow lines of inference from one construction to another. While these lines of implicative relationships generate the possibility of movement, at the same time they form a web of constraints outside of which we cannot move. Thus, the personal construct system is a hierarchically organized system, systematically patterned to minimise incompatibilities and inconsistencies in the ways we approach events. Within the hierarchical organization, the higher-order superordinate constructs tend to be increasingly abstract, value-laden, and invariant. The most superordinate are called core-constructs and these govern our identity and continuing existence.

Fragmentation Corollary: "A person may successively employ a variety of construction subsystems which are inferentially incompatible with each other." This tells us that subsystems of constructs within the overall system do not have to relate to one another in a logically coherent manner. When we closely examine our construct systems we find hypotheses or predictions which are not derivable from one another. Degrees of inconsistency, self-contradiction and inferential incompatibility are allowed, or even more so, valued.

"For man logic and inference can be as much an obstacle to his ontological ventures as a guide to them. Often it is the uninferred fragment of a man's construction system that makes him great, whereas if he were an integrated whole - taking into account all that the whole world have to embrace - the poor fellow would be no better than his "natural self". (P. 20, 1970).

There are three other corollaries commenting on construct relations i.e. Experience, Modulation and Choice, but I will deal with them under later headings.

Change and Stability -

General Processes of Change: We have already noted that the Fundamental Postulate contains a specification of the person as a form of movement in continuous cycles of anticipation. Kelly construes processes as more basic than inert substances (P. 10, 1970) as the following corollaries outline.

The Construction Corollary helps to define how we engage in anticipating: "A person anticipates events by construing their replications." Life only makes sense when we plot it along the time dimension. Earlier we saw the agreement between Maturana and Kelly regarding the anticipation of recurrencies of events. In the ever changing stream of life's events we bring forth invented repetitions through our predictive processes. From this viewpoint the Construction Corollary helps to create stability in the midst of flux.

The Experience Corollary helps to elaborate the effects of our invention of recurrencies on our construct system. It states that "A person's construction system varies as he successively construes the replications of events." This underlines the evolutionary nature of the system. When our anticipation of events is invalidated or shown to be ineffective we are immediately invited to reconstrue. As we are exposed to invalidational perturbations in the medium our construct system will vary to compensate for these aspects of our experience. Maturana echoes this position:

"For a change to occur in the domain of interactions of a unit(y) of interactions without its losing its identity with respect to the observer it must suffer an internal change. Conversely, if an internal change occurs in a unit(y) of interactions, without losing its identity, its domain of interactions changes. A living system suffers an internal change without loss of identity if the predictions brought forth by the internal change are predictions which do not interfere with its fundamental circular organisation. A system changes only if its domain of interactions changes." (P. 11-12, 1980).


If the person does not alter his construct system in the light of invalidation he cannot have `new' experience but only the `same' experience endlessly repeated. Unless internal change occurs he cannot put himself into a different embodied relationship with events. He cannot change his interactions.

"...the succession we call experience is based on the constructions we place on what goes on. If those constructions are never altered, all that happens during a man's years is a sequence of parallel events having no psychological impact on his life." (Kelly, P. 18, 1970).

Kelly explains that accuracy of prediction cannot be taken as evidence that `one has pinned down a fragment of truth', but suggests that a better criterion of effectiveness is the imaginative opening up of novel dimensions of interaction.

"And yet, however useful prediction may be in testing the transient utility of one's construction system, the superior test of what he has devised is its capacity to implement imaginative action. It is by his actions that man learns what his capabilities are, and what he achieves is the most tangible psychological measure of his behaviour." (P. 33, 1969).

Kelly’s comment here about the ‘transient utility’ of one’s sense of knowing is in entire concordance with von Glasersfeld’s radical constructivist position of the viability of the system as something which gets by the constraints of the ‘real’.

Stabilising Change

Three particular corollaries specify the limits to change within the system's way of evolving itself.

The Modulation Corollary introduces the notion of construct "permeability" as the central mechanism for controlling change in the system. This corollary proposes that "the variation in a person's construction system is limited by the permeability of the constructs within those ranges of convenience the variants lie." This places constraints on the degree of evolution suggested in the Experience Corollary. Changes occur within the overall comprehensive framework of the system, and to the degree that the relevant superordinate constructs are permeable then the more likely it is that the system can accommodate changes of structure. In discussing the experience cycle we saw that the system must have the capacity to admit and integrate the revised construct which emerges at the end of the cycle. Thus, what Kelly means by permeability is not the `plasticity' of a construct as such but "its capacity to be used as a referent for novel events and to accept new subordinate constructions within its range of convenience." (P. 19, 1970). Unless we can integrate the novelty into the system it is likely to remain ignored.

Less formally Kelly defined a permeable construct as one which "takes life in its stride." It allows new experiences to be added to the going system. By contrast, an impermeable construct is one which rejects new events purely on the basis of their newness. Examples of impermeability may be found among our more compulsive research colleagues who need to open a new life for each new variable (or experience) they encounter. In summary, permeability refers to the recognition of novelty (`outside') and to the integration of novel constructs within the superordinate hierarchy (`inside'). As a structural limitation this corollary implies that you can learn only what your framework is designed to allow you to bring forth in events. This is the fundamental constraint on how much structural change we can undergo before threatening our organization with disintegration.

The Choice Corollary unpacks further implications for the evolution of the construct system and constraints on the directionality of construing processes. It states that "A person chooses for himself that alternative in a dichotomized construct through which he anticipates the greater possibility for the elaboration of his system." Kelly believes that the person will always make choices which will increase the usefulness of the system. This increase is achieved in two ways, by defining the system and by extending it. The definition of the system involves either clarifying how constructs are applied to events or by specifying how the constructs are related ton one another within the system (network of implications). This is an attempt to consolidate one's system. Attempts to extend the system involves amplifying it to cover new areas of application. In this case the intention is to extend the range. Notice that 'making a choice' for Kelly refers to self-involvement and is not defined in terms of the 'external' object in question.

"So when a man makes a choice what he does is align himself in terms of his constructs. He does not necessarily succeed, poor fellow, in doing anything to the objects he seeks to approach or avoid. Trying to define human behaviour in terms of the externalities sought or affected, rather than the seeking process, gets the psychologist pretty far off the track... So what we must say is that a person, in deciding whether to believe or do something, uses his construct system to proportion his field, and then moves himself strategically and tactically within its presumed domain." (P.16, 1970)

This is very similar to Maturana’s notion of how the organization specifies the cognitive domain wherein we can act with reference to the conservation of our organization. The construct prescribes what the person does and not what the object does. Furthermore, the choice is between the alternatives expressed in the dichotomous construct and not between the events discriminated by using the construct. This re-emphasises the closure of the psychological system in that the person engages in an internal conversation with themselves. The choice is also constrained by the dichotomy corollary's statement that the system is composed of a finite number of bi-polar constructs. This is similar to Maturana's notion of structure-determinism, since the person must choose from within the current structures composing his system. Further, in order to positively elaborate the system he must `choose' those dichotomized alternatives which will lead to extension and/or definition of the system. Since these implicative pathways are already laid down one could argue that the `choices' are illusory since the structures of the system already contain the preferential direction of movement. Maturana is not a constructive alternativist because at the moment of choosing there are no other alternatives possible. The choice made was the choice determined by the system's coherence. It had to be made. Curiously, Kelly would appear also to be not an alternativist from this reading into his corollaries of choice, dichotomy and modulation.

There are many clinical examples of clients who present for psychotherapy precisely because their bipolar constructs (and their system of implications) offer `choices' which are all negative. For example, the anorexic who fears to become obese, or the manic person who fears moving to depression again. Whichever pole of the construct they attempt movement through leads them to painful experience and a sense of being trapped. Thus, where you place yourself along the construct axis is not nearly so important as the fact that you have evolved that particular construct in the first place. Once it is part of your structure you are constrained by it. Thus, construct structure can be alternatively liberating or imprisoning.

The Cognitive Domain

Maturana uses the cognitive domain to characterise effective action of the system over time.

"A cognitive system is a system whose organization defines a domain of interactions in which it can act with relevance to the maintenance of itself, and the process of cognition is the actual (inductive) acting or behaving in this domain." (1970, P. 13 - The Biology of Cognition).

From Kelly's point of view this involves the Modulation Corollary since the superordinate constructs and their relations relate to the organization of the system. It is the organization which specifies the cognitive domain, where our actions can be effective in the maintenance of autopoiesis. We have seen that a system undergoes change only if its domain of interactions changes. As we have also seen there are only two types of changes - changes of state and changes that destroy organization. The Modulation Corollary attempts to place limits on novel perturbations in order to conserve organization. This can be so successful that it leads to a rigidity of the system or what Kelly called the "hardening of the categories". Dorothy Parker's version was that "you can't teach an old dogma new tricks".

The Range Corollary also helps to define the cognitive domain in terms of those events we can effectively interact with. It states that "A construct is convenient for the anticipation of a finite range of events only." The issue here involves a question as to the number of events a construct can effectively deal with. The Range indicates those events which the construct allows one to anticipate and understand. Few constructs (if any) are relevant to everything, and certain features of Kelly's Theory lets us know when the construct system as a whole is out of its depth - these involve the transitional constructs which help us construe personal transitions or becomingness as our system moves into self-reconstruction.

There are three final corollaries relevant to the domain of interactions.

The Individuality Corollary underlines the idiosyncratic and autonomous nature of construing. It states that "Person's differ from each other in their constructions of events." Kelly's view is that construing is so personal a matter that no two people are ever likely to invent identical systems.

Furthermore, he suggests that `even particular constructions are never identical events'. This emphasises his view of continuing change within the individual's meaning system. This goes well with Maturana's statements about each observer bringing forth a different reality and not merely alternative `versions' of the same objective reality. It also fits with the `closure' thesis of Varela (1979) which leads to the abandonment of notions of `instructional interactions' and `programming' people. Varela notes that,

"...closure and the system's identity are interlocked, in such a way that it is a necessary consequence for an organizationally closed system to subordinate all changes to the maintenance of its identity." (P. 58, 1979).

To counterbalance this corollary, Kelly proposed the Commonality and Sociality Corollaries which brings us more into the domain of interpersonal role enactments.

The Commonality Corollary states that "To the extent that one person employs a construction of experience which is similar to that employed by another, his processes are psychologically similar to those of the other person." This reaffirms the constructivist position that our actions are governed by our constructs. Insofar as people construct events in a similar manner to one another (irrespective of whether or not the events themselves are identical). It is what we make of events that matters.

"...the extent of psychological similarity between the processes of two persons depends upon the similarity of their constructions of their personal experiences, as well as upon the similarity in their conclusions about external events."

Maturana's reference to this phenomenon is in terms of the structural intersection of systems. He says that

"when two composite unities structurally intersect through their components, they share components and have as composite unities the same domain of existence." (P.347, 1987).

Kelly's corollary of commonality does not say that the two people have to have experienced the `same' events, nor even that their cycles of experience were similar. What must be similar is their construction of experience.

The final corollary is Sociality: "To the extent that one person construes the construction processes of another, he may play a role in a social process involving the other person." Kelly here distinguishes between construing merely the behaviour of the other person as opposed to the necessity of construing his construction processes. The construing of mere behaviour (as if people were automata) does not generate social processes but rather lead to the development of manipulative devices which attempt to assert the myth of instructive interactions. The alternative is to construing the other's construing processes where we `strive for some notion of the construction which might be given your behaviour its form.' (P. 24, 1970). The latter approach allows the emergence of a social role as opposed to merely `doing' things to others.

"If I fail to invest in a role, and relate myself to you only mechanistically, ... I shall probably take my predictive failures as an indication only that I should look to see if there isn't a screw loose somewhere' in you." (P.25, 1970).

This leads us into the next section of the paper where we construe some common psychotherapeutic language in Kellian terms.


Section 3. Implications for Psychotherapy and Ethics

Within the constructivist model and particularly Maturana's notion of [objectivity] many conventional psychotherapeutic distinctions must either be redefined or dropped from our lexicon entirely.

Apostolic Zeal:

One of the first issues that psychotherapists must deal with is what Michael Balint (1977) called ‘apostolic zeal’ and what Kelly regarded as the therapist's "overwhelming desire to compel the client to get well" (P. 1194, 1955). Kelly's model of the psychotherapeutic relationship as a creative, co-operative, experiential and experimental process clearly implies that therapy is not something the therapist `does to' the client. There are no mechanical technologies of influence `applied to' the person. There is no linear causality that can dictate changes in another's system. Mistakenly believing that there is such causality often leads to therapist hostility toward the client. The broad aim of psychotherapy is to aid the client in precipitating a healthful psychological process at a more rapid rate of change than he might achieve from his own efforts. This is not to say that we aim to create a fixed state of mind or well-being by the end of therapy, but rather that the client has resumed his own growth process, i.e. his ability to conserve his organization and his adaptation (structural coupling) has been enhanced. The therapist's role is not to provide a blueprint of what the client must eventually become but rather to guide the person in experimenting with some of his burning issues through a full cycling of the experiential cycle. The idea is not merely to get people back on their feet again, but rather to get them moving.

"...the purpose of therapy is not to produce a state of mind but to produce a mobility of mind that will permit one to pursue a course through the future." (Kelly, 1955, P. 208).

Since ‘pathology’ is brought forth by the distinctions of the observer, so equally would be the specification of `health'. Having abandoned the myth of instructive interactions the constructivist therapist can also abandon the notion of being responsible for `causing' the person to `improve' or be `cured'. Rather, therapy must be based on co-evolving a coherence with the client (getting into a co-ontogenic structural drift) in such a way that we provide an experimental context within which the client may begin to change his way of changing to conserve his stability. Kelly agrees with Maturana that we cannot predict or predetermine the outcome of drifting in therapy.

"But the psychotherapist does not know the final answer either - so they face the problem together. Under the circumstances there is nothing for them to do except for both to inquire and both to risk occasional mistakes." (P. 229, 1969).


Given Maturana's view of organizational closure and (objectivity) every distinction made by an observer is a `transference'. That is we bring forth our own reality by projecting ourselves (our interpretations). For Kelly, the provision of a fresh set of elements is important in forming a novel context which may trigger the person to create new constructs. The therapist will frequently use himself as a fresh element to perturb the transferences of the client. The therapist continually interacts in such a way as to extricate himself from the client's attempts to transfer onto him parts of his outmoded construct system. The client is thus `invited' (triggered) to bring forth the therapist in alternative and novel ways. If the client were to succeed in dressing up the therapist as a figure from his past or present life, the therapist could find that he had unwittingly donned a strait-jacket and was now severely constricted in his capacity for therapeutic effectiveness. That is, he now helps to constitute the client's organization by interacting with him through the crucial axes constituting the client's construct system. The therapist becomes part of the problem and not part of the solution.

For Kelly the issue of transference therefore involves the experimentation with role constructs. It becomes a problem only when the person continues to impose the same transferred construction onto the therapist and does not make something out of the disconfirming interactions of the therapist. It is a problem therefore of an inability to complete the cycle of experience and invent new constructions. (P. 223, 1969).


Many therapists who continue to believe in instructive interactions will inevitably encounter "resistance" or "stubbornness" in their clients who will be described as "refusing to see the point", or as "sabotaging directives or interventions", or as "deliberately not wanting to recover". However, from the constructivist point of view the person is doing the only thing that makes sense for their system to do. Their interactions are governed by their construct structures (structure-determinism) and as Kelly notes, he found that invoking the concept of `resistance'

"bespoke more of the therapist's perplexity than of the client's was possible to see resistance in terms of the therapist's naiveté." (P.83, 1969).


In personal construct psychotherapy what is emphasised is getting the client into novel interactions (experimentation) and the purpose of therapeutic conversations is not to `produce insights' but rather to produce movement along construct channels which will commit the client to constructive action. As von Foerster's (1984) aesthetical imperative states, "If you desire to see, learn how to act." Therapeutic conversations are also forms of experimental (inter) action where experiences never before spoken about (brought forth) are encountered within the languaging of the consultation.

Kelly recommended using a language which would never confirm or make anything certain (1969, P. 159), but rather would allow us to approach events propositionally. Therapists often become `stuck' at a point where the client develops what is, from the therapist's point of view, a clear and accurate perception of hitherto confusing experiences. Several sessions later as the client continues to move through other levels of construction which supersede the previous "clear perception", the therapist is often found attempting to bring the client back to the 'truth of the matter'. Where the client shows (appropriate) irritation at being held back in his progress, Kelly notes that,

"One of the most amusing yet baffling experiences in psychotherapy is the way today's "insights" can become tomorrow's "resistance". Psychotherapists often stand on their heads to retain what they once hailed as a remarkable insight in their client's step-by-step analysis...if he had regarded the client's new construction as a hypothesis rather than an insight in the first place, he could have saved himself a lot of anxiety once it became clear to both of them that the therapy must move on to other levels of construction." (P. 159, 1969)

Within personal construct psychology, "insight" is another notion that has no place since the philosophy of alternativism says that any one event can be viably seen through many different "insights" each with their own validity. Thus, in the same way that all the observer's operations of distinction are transferences, so they are also all "insights". That is to say the experience of `insight' is simply that something novel has been brought forth, i.e. that something new is `in sight'.


The important features in developing a conversational-constructivist model for psychotherapy are as follows.

(1) The notion of embarking in a co-ontogenic structural drift with the client.

(2) The generation of a boundary to the dyad (or family) through the network of interactions between the participants.

(3) The maintenance of this boundary.

(4) The triggering of the observer role in the client.

(5) Leading to what Maturana calls 'reflection in the domain of action'.

(6) The identification / bringing forth of the organization of the conversations which the client must constitute and by so doing becomes defined as a client. (`Listening to the listening').

(7) The identification of orthogonal axes of approach to the client's system.

(8) Triggering changes of structure destructive of the current organization.

(9) Changing the way the person changes himself in order to remain stable - i.e. dissolving (Vs solving) the problem.

The family organization can be identified in terms of the network of conversations which contains the relations of constitution of the family. Each family member is a component of the system who contributes the specific axes or construct dimensions which constitute the family organization. The only way to disintegrate this organization is through interactions which do not pertain to relations of constitution of the system, but rather encounter the components (individuals) in an orthogonal manner (i.e. through axes irrelevant to the constitution of the organizational invariance of the system). If we do not interact orthogonally we simply become an extension of the family problem and thereby help to constitute and validate its organization. The therapist must therefore offer a suitable blend of the intriguingly alien with the reliably familiar in order to be in a position to destroy the self-maintenance constructs of the family and individual systems. To do this is to dis-confirm the going system and to cause it to disintegrate. Initially this is done by composing an alternative lexicon for conversations taking place within the therapeutic system.

Kelly: Types of change

Kelly points out that there are two main ways to change the construct system, namely to `reroute' the person within existing channels or to invent new channels of movement. These two correspond to Maturana's two forms of structural change, i.e. changes of state and destructive changes. Only two of Kelly's 8 strategies qualify for having the potential to trigger a disintegration of organization and these two involve the alteration or redefinition of the meaning of a construct and the invention of new dimensions for movement. Kelly did not much believe in attempting to `repair' a broken down system but rather felt we should strive to create something new.

"As long as any client is inclined toward undoing the mistakes of his past rather than creating a constructive system which does not call for the repetition of those mistakes in the future, very little psychotherapeutic movement is likely to take place." (P. 380, 1955).

The therapist’s objective therefore, is to promote the emergence of novel structures in the construing system which brings forth an alternative reality which does not support the presence of the previous problematic reality. That is, the person no longer makes the operations of distinction to bring forth the dilemma in a domain of existence within which he was previously trapped. It is no longer a focus of his anticipatory coherence. Indeed some therapists who remain unconvinced of their client’s progress are often found ‘prescribing a relapse’ where the previous constructions are again ‘exercised’, presumably to exorcise the fears of the therapist as to the ‘genuineness’ of the client-system transformation.

Within the range of approaches invented by Kelly his method known as ‘Fixed Role Therapy’ most clearly illustrates his emphasis on orthogonality, reflection in the domain of action, and the increasing of the cognitive domain and domains of existence through the invention of a different identity. This approach involves getting the client to write a self-characterisation which the therapist then analyses with the objective of producing a different invented character whose domain of existence is orthogonal to that of the original sketch. Recalling that we are a "multiverse" of selves, only certain structural features (components and relations) of each individual are required to be constitutive of the system and hence, there are many axes/dimensions which are superfluous, i.e. dimensions not constitutive of the system. It is with these structural dimensions that the therapist must interact, thereby remaining orthogonal. Whatever he does with the system structure must not confirm the organization.

In writing the invented character the therapist uses these orthogonal dimensions and may introduce novel dimensions also. If we imagine the current organization/structure of the client's system as a ship in a path of drift, then what we aim for is to get the client to "jump ship" and land on another ship composed of a different (orthogonal) organization/structure and so begin to move in a different drift. Through enacting the invented role the client comes to define and interact in a novel cognitive domain. Through changing his domain of interactions the person changes his system.

Maturana comments as follows:

"...there are as many domains of cognition as there are domains of existence specified by the different identities that living systems conserve through the realization of their autopoiesis. These different cognitive domains intersect in the structural realization of a living system as this realizes the different identities that define them as different dimensions of simultaneous or successive structural couplings, orthogonal to the fundamental one in which the living system realizes its autopoiesis. As a result, these different cognitive domains may appear or disappear simultaneously or independently according to whether the different structurally intersecting unities that specify them integrate or disintegrate independently or simultaneously...

It follows from all this that a living system may operate in as many different cognitive domains as different identities the different dimensions of its structural coupling allow it to realize. It also follows from all this that the different identities that a living system may realize are necessarily fluid, and change as the dimensions of its structural coupling change with its structural drift in the happening of its living. To have an identity, to operate in a domain of cognition, is to operate in a domain of structural coupling". (P. 361-2, 1987).

Since causality is ruled out by virtue of abandoning instructive myths then therapists can no longer consider themselves to be `agents of change' who operate directly on ‘clients’ in order to change them. Furthermore, people do not `begin' to change just because they have arrived in therapy. Rather, people/systems are in continual flux. While we can get into a co-drift with an individual or family, we cannot control this drift. One of Kelly's training methods for therapists involves asking them to predict the drift of the client between sessions. However, for Maturana, structure-determinism does not mean that the drift is pre-determined or that we should be able to predict the course of structural change.

Concluding Comments

Individual responsibility is paramount in the constructivist model since we become aware that we are self-inventing it is our responsibility to be careful as to how we go about this task. Since nothing exists without the observer then also we are fully responsible for what we bring forth in our lives. Events have no separate existence apart form our distinguishing them. Thus when a therapist brings forth a `family' it is his invention, and he must keep in mind that for each member of the family there is a different reality (family) brought forth. The temptation for the therapist to believe that his "family" is the `really real' family must be abandoned along with any notion that he has a privileged access to independently existing reality. Maturana concludes that

"...all things, are cognitive entities, explanations of the praxis or happening of living of the observer, and as such, as this very explanation, they only exist as a bubble of human actions floating on nothing. Every thing is cognitive, and the bubble of human cognition changes in the continuous happening of the human recursive involvement in co-ontogenic and co-phylogenic drifts with the domains of existence that he or she brings for the in the praxis of living. Everything is human responsibility." (P. 377, 1987).

Kelly concludes that -

"Free will, with its implicit moral responsibility, and determinism, with its hope that everything can be accounted for in some grand plan, are alternative constructions that we currently employ in our quest for better approximations to the complete understanding of man. And they are not altogether antithetical as principles, unless one makes the mistake of regarding them as intrinsic to the events which we attempt to construe by means of them...whether an event is regarded as a determinant or a consequent is a matter of construction...moreover, the constructions of determinism and free will are matters for which we must ever hold ourselves and our theories responsible, not the events themselves." (p.18, 1977, Kelly).


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A later revised version of this paper was published as -

Vincent Kenny [1989]. Anticipating Autopoiesis: Personal Construct Psychology and Self-Organizing Systems. In : Self-Organisation in Psychotherapy [ed.] A. Goudsmit. Springer-Verlag: Heidelberg.


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