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Let's Talk

Let's Talk
Using Personal Construct Psychology to Support Children and Young People

June 2008 | 96 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Includes CD-Rom

'If you want to know what's wrong with someone, ask them - they may tell you!'

Kelly, in Bannister and Fransella (1986)

This quote from George Kelly, originator of Personal Construct Psychology (PCP), illustrates with humour his important theory that each one of us has developed a very personal and individual system for making sense of the world. The ways in which we think, feel about and understand the world around us all depend on the nature of this system of personal constructs we have devised. In order to make sense of the behaviour of another person we have to begin by understanding his or her personal constructs, which means talking to them and asking them to talk about themselves.

Simon Burnham is a practitioner who uses and teaches personal construct theory and has written a practical book which;

- introduces the theory in an accessible way

- provides exercises and examples to illustrate the relevance of PCP to all our lives

- explains how to use PCP in support and interview sessions with young people

- extends its use into the practice of advocacy and representation.

Readers attempting to understand the views and motivations of children and young people, and representing or explaining these views to others, will find that this book offers valuable practical ways to enhance the work they do. The book sets out to influence practice and includes a PowerPoint interview and assessment session which can be used with a child or young person via a laptop or PC and printed to provide a structure for recording the outcomes of the discussion.

We are all scientists
'a unique knowledge'
Some personal reflection
George Kelly's three 'big ideas'
What is a construct?
Constructive alternativism: what does it mean to reconstrue something?
Behaviour as hypothesis-testing: the need for prediction and control
Eliciting constructs
How would you describe yourself?

Triadic elicitation

Drawing 'Me as I am'

Exploring constructs


Salmon Lines

Appearances are deceptive - Annie, Sean and Robbie
Why should I be normal? - Daniel, Chester and Haley
How can I change? - Charlie, Toby and Rory
Using Let's Talk
Age range
Notes to accompany slides 1 - 16

'I enjoyed reading this book and could envisage the value of the Let's Talk programme. The simplicity of the book and the relaxed writing style belie the complexity of the ideas that underpin it...I would recommend this book to people who wish to increase their understanding of the meanings that experiences can have for the individuals with whom they work. The links the author makes between increased understanding and the potential avenues for change makes this a very practical and useful book'
- Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs

'This book provides a useful introduction to the world of personal construct psychology and its application and offers a well-balanced mix of theory and practice... It should appeal not only to psychologists but also to parents and teachers, particularly behaviour support teachers, and indeed to any adult seeking to understand children's behaviour '
- Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs

'Simon Burnham has devised a very accessible publication that lives up to its title and has found a new and exciting way of presenting PCP to professionals working with children.I highly recommend it to all professionals who wish to develop more effective practice. I am now joining the Simon Burnham fan club!' -
Personal Construct Psychology Association

'Everything Simon covers is in conversational style and supported by many, many excellent examples....All very enjoyable and so many illuminating ideas....I would recommend anyone working with children to read it and also those who work with adults who have communication problems' -
Fay Fransella, Centre for PCP

Good intro to approach

Mr Keith Walmsley-Smith
Psychology & Mental Health, Staffordshire University
June 5, 2014

This is an excellent book on pcp. It will definitely go on all my recommended reading lists for research methods courses. Only wish there were more books like this on use of pcp in classroom based research. Highly recommended.

Dr Shirley Larkin
Graduate School of Education, Exeter University
May 2, 2012

While this textbook needs to be accompanied by other reading, included in its reference list, it is essential reading for educational psychologists and educators alike. It gives enough information about Personal Construct Theory (PCT) for novice and still keeps the more experienced reader interested. It contains many practical examples of how PCT could be used inthe real world with children and young people. It is written in an engaging manner.

Dr Dario Pellegrini
Child and Family, Tavistock Centre
March 6, 2012

Useful CD included to use as teaching aid.

Childcare, Cornwall College
December 5, 2011

this gives useful information and practicval examples which will be useful to students

Dr Simon Claridge
Educational Psychology , Cardiff University
April 11, 2011

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ISBN: 9781412920896

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