Publication 5465

Polkinchorne D. E. (1995) Piaget’s and Derrida’s contributions to a constructivist psychotherapy. Journal of Constructivist Psychology 8(4): 269–282.
Psychotherapy is primarily concerned with the realm of human meaning. Four theories of meaning are investigated – traditional empiricist theory, structuralism, and Piaget’s and Derrida’s positive corrections to the traditional and structuralist understandings of meaning. Piaget held that conceptual systems are open-ended and changeable, and Derrida proposed that meanings spill over individual concepts and thus are products of an entire conceptual system. Piaget’s analysis reminds psychotherapists that they are to remain open to further development of their meaning systems, and Derrida’s work calls attention to the need to appreciate that a client’s meaning and the meaning of psychological texts are more than the meaning of the particular words used.
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