Psychotherapy has not escaped the widely used scheme in the psychology of dividing human activity into behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. Therefore, therapies place more emphasis on some of these components. However, this division distances us from a holistic vision, in which these psychological phenomena (as well as dreams, fantasies, images, and body posture) form a whole, although not always well integrated. From an integrative constructivist perspective, what underpins all this phenomenology is the sense of personal identity, interdependent of our shared and co-created identities.

It is legitimate for psychotherapists to try to generate changes in the behaviors, emotions, etc… of their clients, but they should not lose sight of the fact that any significant (and lasting) change involves a transformation in their sense of identity. This involves reconstructing their thoughts about “who am I?” or “what does it mean to be me?”, intertwined with the thoughts about who or how the significant others are.

Constructivism proposes to psychotherapists to de-center their favorite theoretical schemes to focus on the ones their clients have built. It is about understanding the world as they construct it, in their own terms, a true phenomenological exercise. To delve into the universe of the other, it may be useful to have a map of the personal constructs that he/she uses to give meaning to his/her experience. The “grid” interview can be a structured procedure to achieve a graphic representation of his/her construct system and the place of the current self, the ideal self, and the others on that personal map.

EYME-Explore Your Meanings is a technological resource that can facilitate this exploration process from a platform (accessible by computer, tablet, or smartphone) that offers a navigable 3D image of the personal map and also recreates it immersively using Virtual Reality.

Professor at the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Barcelona (UB)
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