Personal Construct Psychology (PCP) is the psychological model based on the ‘philosophy of constructive alternativism’ created by George Kelly in the 1950s in response to the prevalent paradigms of the times. The model focusses on human uniqueness, approaching change through personal meaning.
As individuals we are all engaged in scientific enquiry and we are continually trying to grasp the real world by constructing our own version of it and endeavouring to anticipate our future. Our behaviour in the world becomes our experiment and in this way we discover how well our theories are working in practice. PCP suggests that we develop core constructs which are key to our sense of identity and which give meaning to our lives. These values and beliefs are at the heart of our individual construct systems, influencing all our decisions. Understanding what is core for others and which personal values they most cherish enables us to help people understand how they hold together a meaningful and positive outlook in the social and cultural contexts of their everyday lives. With its emphasis on understanding and working with similarities and difference, PCP is well-placed to underpin work on diversity and equality.
The theory’s deep respect for the integrity of individual psychological processes and its emphasis on inquiry as a way of living, gives us a firm foundation for dialogue and exploration. As such it can provide us with a comprehensive theoretical underpinning to our work with individuals, families and groups within their personal, social and cultural worlds.