The person as co-investigator in self-research: Valuation theory


  • Hubert J. M. Hermans

    Corresponding author
    1. Psychological Laboratory, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    • University of Nijmegen, Psychological Laboratory, Department of Clinical Psychology and Personality, P.O. Box 9104, 6500 HE Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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Recent developments in self-research show the self to be increasingly conceived as an organized and highly dynamic phenomenon. In combination with the arguments presented in the preceding article, these developments are a good reason for adopting a method in which the psychologist and the subject work together in the study of the self: The self-confrontation method and the theory on which it is based—valuation theory—are presented as an example of such an approach. This method construes the self as an organized process of valuations, a valuation being any unit of meaning that the person finds of importance in thinking about his or her life. Formulated in the language of the person him- or herself; these valuations and how they develop over time are considered in a dialogue between the psychologist and the subject. For the purposes of demonstration, two phenomena that are not easily observedare discussed here: (a) the existence of an imaginal figure not visibly present but functioning as a signifcant other in the person's daily life, and (b) the presence of a character in a recurring dream, which later gets included as an integral part of the self: Finally, the present approach is briefly discussed as representing a constructivist view of personality psychology.