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 the individual, like the scientist, is to test the accuracy of that constructed knowledge by performing those actions the constructs suggest. If the results of their actions are in line with what the knowledge predicted, then they have done a good job of finding the order in their personal experience. If not, then they can modify the construct: their interpretations or their predictions or both. This method of discovering and correcting constructs is simply the scientific method used by all modern sciences to discover the truths about the universe we live in.
Kelly proposed that every construct is bipolar, specifying how two things are similar to each other (lying on the same pole) and different from a third thing, and they can be expanded with new ideas. More recent researchers have suggested that constructs need not be bipolar.
A main tenet of PCP theory is that a person's unique psychological processes are channeled by the way s/he anticipates events. Kelly believed that anticipation and prediction are the main drivers of our mind. "Every man is, in his own particular way, a scientist," said Kelly, in that he is always building up and refining theories and models about how the world works so that he can anticipate events. We start on this at birth (for example, a child discovers, "if I cry, mother will come") and continue refining our theories as we grow up. We build theories--often stereotypes--about other people and also try to control them or impose on others our own theories so that we are better able to predict their actions.
All these theories are built up from a system of constructs. A construct has two extreme points, such as "happy-sad" and we tend to place people at either extreme or at some point in between. Our mind, said Kelly, is filled up with these constructs, at a low level of awareness. Kelly did not use the concept unconscious; instead, he believed that some constructs are preverbal. A given person or set of persons or any event or circumstance can be characterized fairly precisely by the set of constructs we apply to it and the position of the thing within the range of each construct. So Fred for instance may be just half between happy and sad (one construct) and definitively clever rather than stupid (another construct). The baby above may have a preverbal construct "Comes... doesn't come when I cry".
Constructs are applied to anything we put our attention to, including ourselves, and also strongly influence what we fix our attention on. We construe reality constructing constructs. Hence, determining a person's system of constructs would go a long way towards understanding him, especially the person's essential constructs that represent very strong and unchangeable beliefs; and also the constructs a person applies to him/herself.
Kelly believed in a non-invasive approach to psychotherapy. Rather than having the therapist interpret the person's psyche, which would amount to imposing the doctor's constructs on the patient, the therapist should just act as a facilitator of the patient finding his or her own constructs. The patient's behavior is then mainly explained as ways to selectively observe the world, act upon it and update the construct system in such a way as to increase predictability. To help the patient find his or her constructs, Kelly developed the repertory grid interview technique.
The repertory grid
To build a repertory grid (a sort of matrix) for a patient, Kelly would first ask the patient to select about seven elements whose nature might depend on whatever the patient or therapist are trying to discover. For instance, "Two specific friends, two work-mates, two people you dislike, your mother and yourself", or something of that sort. Then, three of the elements would be selected at random, and then the therapist would ask:"In relation to... (whatever is of interest), in which way are two of these people alike but different from the third"? The answer is sure to indicate one of the extreme points of one of the patient's constructs. He might say for instance that Fred and Sarah are very communicative whereas John isn't. Further questioning would reveal the other end of the construct (say, introvert) and the positions of the three characters between extremes. Repeating the procedure with different sets of three elements ends up revealing several constructs the patient might not have been fully aware of.
The repertory grid itself is a matrix where the rows represent constructs found, the columns represent the elements, and cells indicate with a number the position of each element within each construct. There is software available to produce several reports and graphs from these grids.
In the book Personal Construct Methodology, researchers Brian R. Gaines and Mildred L.G. Shaw noted that they "have also found concept mapping and semantic network tools to be complementary to repertory grid tools and generally use both in most studies" but that they "see less use of network representations in PCP studies than is appropriate". They encouraged practitioners to use semantic network techniques in addition to the repertory grid.
PCP has always been a minority interest among psychologists. During the last 30 years, it has gradually gained adherents in the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, Australia, Ireland, Italy and Spain. While its chief fields of application remain clinical and educational psychology, there is an increasing interest in its applications to organizational development, employee training and development, job analysis, job description and evaluation. The repertory grid is often used in the qualitative phase of market research, to identify the ways in which consumers construe products and services.
Salla, Marta; Feixas, Guillem; Ballén, Cristina; Muñoz, Dámaris; Compañ, Victoria (January 2015). "The couple's grid: a tool for assessing interpersonal construction in couples". Journal of Constructivist Psychology. 28 (1): 53-66. doi:10.1080/10720537.2013.859110.
Winter, David A.; Procter, Harry (2014). "Formulation in personal and relational construct psychology: seeing the world through clients' eyes". In Johnstone, Lucy; Dallos, Rudi. Formulation in psychology and psychotherapy: making sense of people's problems (2nd ed.). London; New York: Routledge. pp. 145-172. ISBN9780415682305. OCLC894506578.
Carrillat, François A.; Riggle, Robert J.; Locander, William B.; Gebhardt, Gary F.; Lee, James M. (2009). "Cognitive segmentation: modeling the structure and content of customers' thoughts". Psychology and Marketing. 26 (6): 479-506. doi:10.1002/mar.20284.
Gabalda, Isabel Caro; Neimeyer, Robert A.; Newman, Cory F. (December 2009). "Theory and practice in the cognitive psychotherapies: convergence and divergence". Journal of Constructivist Psychology. 23 (1): 65-83. doi:10.1080/10720530903400996.
Winter, David A. (2003). "The constructivist paradigm". In Woolfe, Ray; Dryden, Windy; Strawbridge, Sheelagh. Handbook of counselling psychology (2nd ed.). London; Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. pp. 241-260. ISBN0761972072. OCLC52594976.
Epting, Franz R.; Probert, James S.; Pittman, Stephen D. (January 1993). "Alternative strategies for construct elicitation: experimenting with experience". International Journal of Personal Construct Psychology. 6 (1): 79-98. doi:10.1080/08936039308404333.
Epting, Franz R.; Neimeyer, Robert A., eds. (1984). Personal meanings of death: applications of personal construct theory to clinical practice. Series in death education, aging, and health care. Washington, DC: Hemisphere Pub. Corp. ISBN0891163638. OCLC9557799.
Led Digital Marketing Efforts of Top 500 e-Retailers.
Worked with Top Brands at Leading Agencies.
Successfully Managed Over $50 million in Digital Ad Spend.
Developed Strategies and Processes that Enabled Brands to Grow During an Economic Downturn.
Taught Advanced Internet Marketing Strategies at the graduate level.
Manage research, learning and skills at defaultlogic.com. Create an account using LinkedIn to manage and organize your omni-channel knowledge. defaultlogic.com is like a shopping cart for information -- helping you to save, discuss and share.