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Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 297–313 | Cite as

Existentialism and Constructivism: A Bi-Polar Model of Subjectivity

  • David Klugman
Article

Abstract

The philosophical systems of existentialism and constructivism have generated distinct clinical approaches based on seemingly incompatible conceptions of subjectivity and its role in clinical work. The premise of this paper is that, taken together, existential and constructivist perspectives provide an essentially dialectical view of personal identity, suggesting that a bi-polar model of subjectivity may yield a broader therapeutic gain than either/or positions. I demonstrate this premise by illustrating the central tenets of each approach using clinical vignettes, then further elucidate each position by drawing upon its philosophical underpinnings. Finally, I present a longer clinical illustration that contains both an existential and a constructivist phase.

subjectivity constructivism existentialism identity 

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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Klugman

There are no affiliations available

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