Fixed Role Therapy

As an application of Kelly's theory, the Role Construct Repertory Test is an initial step in the therapeutic process. An interesting follow-up provided by Kelly is fixed role therapy. This technique begins by asking the client to develop an in-depth description of himself or herself, written in the third person. This is called a self-characterization sketch. The third-person style is used to produce greater objectivity than would be achieved with first-person narratives. This gives the therapist a clear look at the client from the client's own perspective. The therapist then establishes a role for the client which is directly opposite many of the characteristics in the self-characterization sketch. The client is asked to act out that new role for a period of time. The role would include positive characteristics not found in the self-characterization sketch. The ultimate goal of the technique is to have the client maintain many of those new positive characteristics on a long-term basis.

In evaluating applications of Kelly's work, the emphasis must be placed on the importance of knowing one's own construction system and, when appropriate, taking steps to change that system. While this may be handled through formal techniques such as fixed role therapy, many therapists make use of Kelly's emphasis upon cognitive change without strictly employing his terminology. To this extent, the influence of Kelly's work should increase in the future.

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