By: T. Franklin Murphy | November 29, 2021
Personal constructs is the individual way we gather information from experience, evaluate it, and develop an interpretation of the information, giving incoming data a meaning. Personal constructs gives experience a subjective meaning.
Because we all use personal constructs with an experience, we can experience the same event or sequence of events but have a completely different subjective experience, influencing emotions, memories and future evaluations of experience.
Personal Construct Psychology:
Personal construct psychology is a psychological theory developed by George Kelly in 1955.
Personal construct theory suggests that we develop personal constructs about how the world works. We then use these constructs to make sense of the experience. Personal Construct theory shares many basic concepts with Harry Sacks Sullivan's self-systems theory.
Personal Construct Theory and the Cognitive Psychology Revolution
During the early 1950s, the behavioral and psychoanalytic perspectives dominated psychology. Kelly's personal construct theory deviated from these dominating views of the human mind.
Rather than viewing human beings as passive participants, suffering from the blows of associations, reinforcements, and punishments they encountered in their environments or from unconsciously learned desires from childhood experiences, Kelly believed that we take an active role in how we process and interpret knowledge. Sullivan's self-systems emerged around the same time. A few decades later, Albert Bandura presented his concept of reciprocal determinism.
These early theories of cognitive interference with deterministic powers gave birth to cognitive behavior therapy and Albert Ellis's Rational Emotive therapy. The world became a playground for cognitive interpretation, reappraisals and softening of the cold data of harsh experience.
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