Personal Construct Psychology

Personal construct psychology (PCP) is a theory of personality and cognition developed by the American psychologist George Kelly in the 1950s. From the theory, Kelly derived a psychotherapy approach and also a technique called The Repertory Grid Interview that helped his patients to uncover their own "constructs" (ways of seeing the world) with minimal intervention or interpretation by the therapist. The Repertory Grid was later adapted for various uses within organizations, including decision-making and interpretation of other people's world-views.

Kelly explicitly stated that each individual's task in understanding their personal psychology is to put in order the facts of his or her own experience. Then each of us, like the scientist, is to test the accuracy of that constructed knowledge by performing those actions the constructs suggest. If the results of our actions are in line with what the knowledge predicted then we have done a good job of finding the order in our personal experience.

If not, then we can modify the construct: our interpretations or our predictions or both. This method of discovering and correcting our constructs is simply the scientific method used by all modern sciences to discover the truths about the universe we live in.

People develop constructs as internal ideas of reality in order to understand the world around them. They are based on our interpretations of our observations and experiences. Every construct is bipolar, specifying how two things are similar to each other (lying on the same pole) and different from a third thing. They can be expanded with new ideas.

The UK Council for Psychotherapy, a regulatory body, classifies PCP therapy within the experiential subset of the constructivist school.

(Information taken from Wikipedia)

PCP concepts underpinning Jenny’s model

  • Only when we clarify our constructs can we begin the process of deconstruction and reconstruction
  • Once you understand one’s constructs, it’s not necessary to CHANGE them
  • Idea of a scale on which to consider feelings and constructs – allows for deeper reflection.
Jenny’s credentials:

The works of Ernesto Spinelli forms part of Jenny’s model and theory provided as part of her Master’s thesis (2006)

More information: The works of George Kelly form part of Jenny's theory and model provided as part of her Master's thesis in Executive Development (Coaching), 2006