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What is Personal Construct Psychology Pt 7

What is Personal Construct Psychology Pt 7

Kelly did not deal in concepts of ’emotion’ or ‘drive’ or ‘motivation’; he felt that psychology should stay within its own range of convenience rather than offering, say, a physiological explanation for a psychological phenomenon.  He drew our attention to specific constructs, defining them as aspects of construct systems in a state of change.  These constructs are anxiety, hostility, guilt, threat, fear and aggression.

Anxiety  Anxiety is awareness that events with which one is confronted lie outside the range of convenience of one’s construct system, e.g. sex for the chaste, books for the illiterate, adulthood for the adolescent.

Hostility  Hostility is the continued effort to extort validational evidence in favour of a type of social prediction which has already been recognised as a failure.  There are times when we find it too difficult to modify our constructs; being wrong is too painful or we may not see an alternative way to view the situation.  In this case we may try to bully people into behaving in ways which would confirm our predictions

Guilt  Guilt is the awareness of the dislodgement of the self from one’s core role structure.  The core role structure refers to the constructs that deal specifically with the self.  If we offend these we suffer from guilt.  It means we incorrectly predicted our behaviour, which is uncomfortable, and may lead to producing ritual and rule-bound (hostile) behaviour as coping mechanisms.

Threat  Threat is the awareness of an imminent comprehensive change in one’s core structure, which is one’s understanding of the world around.  When major beliefs are invalidated, the world seems chaotic and one is threatened.  Therefore, in therapy, change must be introduced carefully.

Fear  Fear is awareness of an imminent incidental change in one’s core structure.  As only part of one’s world becomes unpredictable one is not threatened but experiences fear.

Aggression  Aggression is the active elaboration of one’s perceptual field.  It defines aggression in terms of what is going on within the individual instead of in terms of the reaction of others.  By extending the range of one’s constructions and activities into new directions, then checking the validity, others may interpret this as an attack on them and respond appropriately.  However, in terms of the person’s system it is essentially an extending and elaborating process and is the opposite of hostility.

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