One of the most interesting applications of Kelly's personal construct theory involves the development of an assessment device, the Role Construct Repertory Test. This test defines a role as a set of behaviors that are performed by a person in response to the construction systems and behaviors of others. The test itself determines the nature of a person's system of constructs as it is related to the significant others in that person's life. The test can be used as a means of evaluating progress during psychotherapy or as a vehicle for detecting changes in interpersonal relationships.
The test involves the creation of a grid in which the person's significant others are listed. Examples would be self, mother, spouse, boss, friend, and successful person. The client then considers these individuals in groups of three provided by the therapist. The client comes up with a word that typifies two of these individuals, and a second word that is the opposite of the first word but typifies the third person. This procedure is followed for a group of twenty sorts, or sets of comparisons. This enables the therapist to determine the behaviors and thoughts of the client concerning the significant others in her life.
One of the determinations that can be made involves the flexibility of the client in dealing with others. That is, in listing those individuals on the grid who possess certain positive characteristics, the therapist would examine whether the same individuals on the grid are given credit for all the positive characteristics listed, while a second group is always viewed negatively. This would indicate a lack of flexibility in the client and might offer an area for needed change in the future.
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