Treatment and research of Arkansas farming families

George Kelly through treatment and research of Arkansas farming families during a depression realised that because of varying cultures and backgrounds, one basic psychological technique that was applied time and again by many psychologists, In this case The Freudian Psychosexual theory had no true basis in treating these all people. But what this did do was allow Kelly to formulate his theory of Constructive Alternativism. This theory was based upon the idea that, while there is only one true reality, reality is always experienced from one or another perspective.

What was realised by Kelly was that every individual acts, reacts and behaves according to how they view their own reality. Each person views another or an event in an entirely different way to anyone else. But what forms that basic reality was of course needed to be understood. Kelly came to the conclusion that we all are mini scientists. Our entire life consists of us formulating our own hypotheses, carrying out various experiments, searching for answers, and concluding our experiments when an answer is gained.

Whether this was by self or from an external source was irrelevant, the prime directive was to gain an answer to our initial question. Once this was done we were able to store this information and apply this to other scenarios and events in our lives, believing that to be true until an alternative answer was gained. What also Kelly found interesting, was how individuals accepted so readily answers given to them by professionals such as him, even if the answer being given had absolutely no baring on that individuals life.

This he concurred was because there perception of a professional was of an intelligent individual who held the answers to there questions. Regardless whether or not the answers were sustainable or correct within their reality, they accepted the explanations all the same, and that they did make positive progress within there meetings with Kelly and his team. This proving that indeed we are all searching for answers to our own personal theories. The answers to an outcome, how we act, react to an event depends foremost upon our own initial perception of that event.

And of course up until that point, Kelly confirms we can only perceive an event in one way, that with which a similar events came about and had previously concluded. As an individual develops throughout their childhood, to begin with they believe the world works in such a way, and what their place within that world is. As time goes by, some of what that child believes to be true (their personal constructs) will change (constructs of transition) by that child’s own experiences or by witnessing these changes within the world they observe.

Depending on what changes they experience etc, whether of a negative nature or positive one, these transitions will have an overall affect on that person as they mature to adulthood and how they perceive their adult world to be. When an individuals person constructs do not match what they have preconceived them to be, or should be that individual reacts. That individual will become anxious because things quite literally are not going as they believe they should. If this is regarding something extremely important in that person’s life, their career, children, and marriage (a person’s core constructs)

Those unprecedented changes then become a threat. And rather than simply causing anxiety, this causes fear. When an individual when acting against their own core constructs, they feel a sense of guilt, regardless whether they are correct to feel this or not. They will feel this emotion because they are viewing their part within their reality, that situation as not going quite right, or that they could have behaved differently at that time. So Kelly’s theory regarding personality, behaviour, reactions and interactions, is based on each individual having their own personal constructs of how life should be.

Of how events should conclude, and how they as individuals react, interact and behave within that reality. A personality/behaviour disorder according to Kelly, is when an individual continually goes against their basic constructs, even though validation of what they are doing is wrong is repeated time and again. This Kelly calls this a broken construct, and he suggests that each individual has the ability to change their lives simply by changing the perception of their reality.

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