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George Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory

George Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory


Personal Constructs - Characteristic ways of construing how some things are alike and different from each other.


Kelly’s Fundamental Postulate:  Behavior, thoughts and feelings are determined by personal constructs used to anticipate events


Kelly’s 11 corollaries:

1- Construction

2- Individuality

3- Organization

4- Dichotomy

      Definition - application of a construct allows for it to become more explicit and refined.

      Extension - Using a constuct to predict events to which the construct has not previously been applied.

5- Choice

6- Range

7- Experience

8- Modulation

9- Fragmentation

10- Communality

11- Sociality -


Kelly’s Role Construct Repertory Test (Rep test)

    -constructs that are important to an individual are those that will be used to evaluate events.

    -important constructs are identified by similarities and  contrasts they use to compare events, people & ideas


Psychological Distress - (psychopathology)


Behavior problems are the result of difficulties in interpreting or predicting events

-Discovering construct system is inadequate for dealing with a situation results in anxiety

-People feel threat when they become aware that important elements of your personal construct system need to be changed.


Fixed role therapy-

1-Client describes his/her strengths and weaknesses

2-Therapist develops a role for the client to follow

3-Client tries role and discusses result with therapist

4-Client gains perspective



Strengths & Weaknesses of Phenomenological Approach:



        -Consistent w/ Human Experience

        -Emphasizes Present & Future

        -Focus is Idiographic

        -Rogers: Therapeutic Innovation

        -Rogers & Kelly:  Comprehensive Theory



        -Assessment of Subjective Experience

        -Generality Issues

        -Disregard of Developmental History