Transcendent formation anthropology and the personal constructs theory of Van Kaam: A critical formative analysis

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education Major in Religious Education and Values Education

Subject Categories

Anthropology | Philosophy | Religious Education


College of Liberal Arts


Theology and Religious Education

Thesis Adviser

William Garvey, FSC

Defense Panel Chair

Carolina B. Fallarme

Defense Panel Member

Renato De Guzman
Eduardo Domingo
Claro R. Ceniza
Corazon Manalo


Human and social sciences go hand in hand with natural sciences and techniques. Formation science or science of formative spirituality joined human and social sciences as one of their youngest additions in the 1980's. Formation science is a human science. It fosters in all its methodological categories new designs and modes that are more qualitative, experiential, and empirical-experiential. Its material object is human life as foundationally human or spiritual. Its formal object is concrete human formation. Formation is the developmental, dynamic essence of human life itself. In dealing with people, van Kaam was struck by the image or concept of the human presented by religio-spiritual traditions as spiritual. He dreamt of constructing one kind of psychology that would be able to integrate at times various schools of psychology, with all their rich contributions to understanding of human nature, and religious perspectives as well.This study is an attempt to examine and analyze systematically, the formation science of van Kaam, its underlying transcendent formation anthropology, and its suprastructure, that is, its personal constructs theory. Thus this study discusses these points: I. Transcendent formation anthropology with its characteristics, its philosophical assumptions. II. The personal constructs theory of van Kaam, where are discussed first, his personal constructs of classical psychologies, such as, the four forces of psychology, cognitive psychology, and traditional Eastern psychologies that underlie Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism then foundational structural effects of his personality formation and finally, his proper personal constructs structure.

Globally, the study uses the descriptive analytical appraisal method of research. It makes use of the descriptive developmental method, but the analysis follows the methodology conceived by formation science. In this study, the researcher first, analyzes Adrian van Kaam's methodology and then using this methodology, discusses his formation anthropology and personal constructs theory. The researcher follows the formative process: appraisal, dialogical attention, comparison, and selection at the identification of generalizable facets of diverse contemporary classical personality theories. The research process also includes dialogical articulation followed by elucidation approach. Elucidation is mainly analytical-theoretical. Related to the auxiliary sources, the process will use the translation, transposition, and integration that enable the researcher to assimilate the findings of the auxiliary sources, after consultation, into his research.Using the Nine Questions of van Kaam for formation traditions, the researcher discusses in the Vietnamese context, how the classical faith and form traditions, such as Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Christianity are articulated by his transcendent formation anthropology and his transcendent formation personal constructs theory. Implications relating to the young Vietnamese are also pointed out.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

432 leaves ; Computer print-out (photocopy)


Spiritual formation; Philosophical anthropology; Personal construct theory; Repertory grid technique; Van Kaam, Adrian L., 1920-2007

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