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Personal construct psychotherapy, effectiveness
Although there are increasing demands for approaches to psychotherapy to have a demonstrable evidence base, or to be ‘empirically validated’, it has been questioned whether a traditional empirical approach to evaluating treatment outcome is compatible with the underlying assumptions of constructivist therapies (Bohart et al., 1998). Nevertheless, there is now a growing evidence base for the effectiveness of personal construct psychotherapy (Viney, 1998; Watson and Winter, 2000; Winter, 1992, 2003), as well as evidence of its distinctiveness from other therapeutic approaches. This encompasses studies of various client groups, including adults and adolescents presenting with a range of problems in mental health settings, and adults with physical health problems. It also includes studies of both individual and group personal construct therapies. The effect sizes (an index of degree of improvement) for personal construct psychotherapy in this research have generally been found to be at least equivalent to those in cognitive-behavioural and other therapies.

  • Bohart, A.C., O’Hara, M., and Leitner, L.M. (1998). Empirically violated treatments: disenfranchisement of humanistic and other psychotherapies. Psychotherapy Research, 8, 141-57.
  • Viney, L.L. (1998). Should we use personal construct therapy? A paradigm for outcomes evaluation. Psychotherapy, 35, 366-80.
  • Watson, S. and Winter, D. (2000). Towards an evidence base for personal construct psychotherapy. In J.M. Fisher and N. Cornelius (eds.), Challenging the Boundaries: PCP Perspectives for the New Millennium. Farnborough: EPCA Publications.
  • Winter, D.A. (1992). Personal Construct Psychology in Clinical Practice: Theory, Research and Applications. London: Routledge.
  • Winter, D.A. (2003). The evidence base for personal construct psychotherapy. In F. Fransella (ed.), Personal Construct Psychology Handbook. Chichester: Wiley.

David A. Winter

Establ. 2003
Last update: 15 February 2004