|Implicative dilemmas are
relationships between an individual's constructs which present that
person with a dilemma or conflict. The
term was originally used
by Hinkle (1965) to describe relationships between two constructs, A-B
and X-Y, in which ‘A and B imply X, and B implies Y’ or ‘A implies X
and Y, and B implies X and Y’ (p. 18). As an example, he described a
relationship between the constructs ‘desirable - undesirable’ and
‘realism - idealism’ in which both realism and idealism implied
desirable and undesirable aspects for the person concerned. More recent
examples have tended to focus on interrelationships between three
constructs which present logical inconsistencies. Consider, for example
the following relationships between the constructs ‘depressed - happy’,
‘sensitive - insensitive’, and ‘desirable - undesirable’: happiness is
desirable, but implies being insensitive, which is considered
Such dilemmas may provide an explanation for the maintenance of
symptoms (Ryle, 1979), and have been associated with lack of response
therapy (e.g. Catina and Walter, 1989).
Implicative dilemmas may be identified from repertory grids, and some computer
have been devised for this purpose (Slade and Sheehan, 1979; Bassler et
al., 1992; Feixas and Cornejo, 1996), although in some cases a high
of conflict suggested by such an analysis may reflect a loosely
construct system (Winter, 1983). They can also be identified by laddering
(Hinkle, 1965) and by Tschudi’s (1977) ABC technique.
A therapeutic method has been developed for the resolution of dilemmas
identified from repertory grids, and this is currently being evaluated
(Feixas et al., 2000).
M., Krauthauser, H., and Hoffmann, S.O. (1992). A new approach to the
identification of cognitive conflicts in the repertory grid: an
illustrative case study. International Journal of Personal
Construct Psychology, 5, 95-111.
A. and Walter, E. (1989). What is a successful therapy? Paper
at1st. European Congress of Psychology, Amsterdam.
G. and Cornejo, J.M. (1996). Manual de la Tecnica de
Rejilla mediante el Programa RECORD v 2.0. Barcelona: Paidos.
G., Saul, L.A., and Sanchez, V. (2000). Detection and analysis
of implicative dilemmas: implications for the therapeutic process. In
J.W. Scheer (ed.), The Person in Society: Challenges to a
Constructivist Theory. Giessen: Psychosozial-Verlag.
D. (1965). The Change of Personal Constructs from the Viewpoint
of a Theory of Construct Implications. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Ohio
A. (1979). The focus in brief interpretative psychotherapy:
Dilemmas, traps and snags as target problems. British Journal of
Psychiatry, 134, 46-54.
P.D. and Sheehan, M.J. (1979). The measurement of ‘conflict’ in
repertory grids. British Journal of Psychology, 70, 519-24.
F. (1977). Loaded and honest questions: a construct theory
view of symptoms and therapy. In D. Bannister (ed.), New
Perspectives in Personal Construct Theory. London: Academic Press.
D.A. (1983). Logical inconsistency in construct relationships:
or complexity? British Journal of Medical Psychology, 56,
David A. Winter