Use of Drawings and Reflective Comments in Family Construct Development

Giles, Lucille Dorrean (2004). Use of Drawings and Reflective Comments in Family Construct Development. PhD thesis The Open University.



Family drawings, reflective comments, and observations of associated interactions amongst family members were used to develop shared family constructs. Previous research by Kelly (1955) proposed that constructs guide an individual’s thoughts and actions; later Procter (1981) and Dallos (1991) demonstrated that verbal responses within a family aid in the development of family constructs.
The current research improves on shortcomings of previous construct development methods, and makes new contributions to Personal Construct Theory by using meanings found in family members’ drawings. This comprehensive method was found to be simple, effective and non-threatening for all family members and allowed everyone an equal opportunity to portray their family and develop constructs relating to it.
Illustrations done by the families and the process through which their constructs were formed and analyzed are included. A phenomenological analysis of the collective constructs resulted in the major family themes of Connection to Family of Origin, Family Values, Family Structures, Family’s Everyday Concerns, and Management of Change. These construct-based themes were shown to be relevant to the recent literature on families’ functioning. Results of this research suggest that using family members’ drawings and reflective comments as a method to develop shared family constructs could improve assessment techniques for family therapy.

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