BiographyI am a psychologist interested in the process of ‘composing and re-composing the self’ in transition and daily life as art, which can be practiced and enriched by contemplative openness to experience and creative agency in shaping it. I developed the Composition Work method and training, based on Dialogical Self Theory (Hermans, 2001) and contemplative traditions. From 2006 I have been working internationally, in Europe, Asia, and North America, giving training and supervision to professionals and groups of people who are interested to practice the art of composing and recomposing one’s self. In my training, coaching, and therapy I put emphasis on embodied emotional awareness and value accessing the implicit and unknown in the self. We need an attitude of ‘not knowing mind’ as a gate to the ‘knowing body’, to include the unspeakable in the democracy of our self. Even though our culture accentuates 'knowing', in my view a ‘not knowing curiosity’ is the edge of growth in any change.
I am an Associate Director at the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition, contributing my specific expertise to the programs, developing the portfolio and new strategic lines. I maintain a private practice in The Netherlands, working mainly for expats who experience major transitions. I have a PhD in psychology of emotions, am an author of publications on Dialogical Self Theory, Composition Work, emotions, and transition published in 5 languages. I am the editor (together with H. Hermans and M.Gonçalves) of ‘Handbook of Dialogical Self Theory and Psychotherapy. Bridging Psychotherapeutic and Cultural Traditions’ (Routledge), and co-author (with H. Hermans) of 'Dialogical Self Theory. Positioning and counter-positioning in globalizing society’(Cambridge University Press).
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Dialogical Self, emotions, transition, contemplative psychology
Abstract Art, Zen Aesthetics, Buddhism
Published: Aug 10, 2017 by Journal of Constructivist Psychology
Authors: Agnieszka Konopka, Robert A. Neimeyer & Jason Jacobs-Lentz (2017):
Composition work is an artistic method of work with identity and emotions, used in therapy, counseling, coaching, and training. Practiced in the context of constructivist counseling and grounded in dialogical self theory, it involves representation of a community of self or I-positions reflecting different aspects of one's identity through the use of small stones and other natural objects in a way that depicts their dynamic relation to one another.
Published: May 13, 2014 by Journal Journal of Constructivist Psychology
Authors: Agnieszka Konopka and Wim van Beers
This article presents compositionwork as a method based on dialogical self theory, according to which the self is understood as a multiplicity of I-positions (different sides of the self) in the landscape of the mind. The person making the composition uses language and stones to represent relevant I-positions of her- or himself self, thus externalizing these and creating a personal landscape of mind.