Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (Clinical)


Department of Psychology


The world of the individual experiencing depression is often enclosed and lonely, void of any new experiences or relationships. Kelly (1955) suggests that central to this experience is the process of constriction, where he or she makes the world more manageable by limiting the number of elements construed. Within the personal construct literature constriction has primarily been examined using the repertory grid technique. Such a use of this methodology seems questionable considering constriction refers to a reduction in elements, which are usually predetermined in a grid. An alternative non-verbal measure of constriction, photography, was proposed. A total of 22 depressed and control participants took twelve photographs in response to the question "Who are you?". In addition to this exercise the participants also completed a repertory grid. Results indicated that the depressed group showed a narrower range of themes in their photographs, and a significantly larger number of midpoint ratings on the elements 'Self and 'Future Self. The photographs taken by depressed participants were also found to contain a large number of visual metaphors providing powerful descriptions of the experience of depression. Given the positive response of participants to the photography exercise, two further case studies were conducted which explored the use of photography within a therapeutic context. Consequently, it was shown that photography is a potentially valuable research and therapeutic tool which could further utilized within constructivist approaches.