PCP Development Thoughts for Discussion

Thu, 9 May 1996 01:25:00 -0400

Some thoughts on PCP Development for Response By Others.... Why Bill's
Criticism's Could Strike Such a Chord of Fear and Response of Defensiveness
or Guilt...MyTthoughts...

I have read all of Kelly's works and most books and articles
published prior to the establishment of the journal. I have subscribed to the
journal since it's inception. I am fully aware of changes that occurred in
information exchange regarding Kelly's work brought about by publishing
disputes re Kelly's original work *** and the establishment of a
centralizing "International Journal" published in America.
These changes all occured in the early and mid eighties when Bill
Chambers did much of his research and in an environment when Kellians were
being ignored because of lack of exposure and good work and ideas were not
being used. Many arguments occured within the field between "grid
methodologists" (Real Science- We must prove the theory) and "Pure
Clinicians" (People are not numbers). There was also an argument between the
" marketers" (If people do not know about the theory, does it exist?- Make it
Accessible- Make it Simpler , Get it out there, and then teach the details
and the richness of the theory) and the "Purists" (Read just Kelly- Don't
Bastardize it- Screw people who can not and will not read Real Kelly- Do not
change a word of the original text).
With considerable fan fare (for Kellians, previously an understated
quiet bunch), and with much trepidation, the Journal was launched. The
Journal was purchased by myself and others as a way to preserve and support
the theory and it has done fairly well since and is a triunmph of the"
This has also put tremendous responsibility in the hands of a few to
preserve Kelly's ideas and was fraught with difficulties from the beginning.
I think attempts have been made to to include all the continents and
countries with a mixed degree of success and perhaps with some loss of
focused research. I have noticed for instance that perhaps too much time is
spent ensuring geographical representation rather than ideological
representation. This has created the United States Grid methodologist versus
the English grid methodologist and may stifle a free flowing discussion
(about difference within grid methodologists across countries) about the
ideas promoting rather a discussion about who will be the presenter. I
understand the politics of why this has happened and even refer to my own
observations about lack of some important works later in this posting.
Perhaps the resonance or sensitivity to Bill's critisisms, is the
fear and the need to check any hint of abuse of power in exposure of new
ideas. Considerable scrutiny must be put to the editorial content of the
journal and Bill writes about a critical time (in my mind) during which this
consolidation occurred. Much bad stuff may have occurred at that time and
many bad feelings occurred by the question of who is in and who was not put
into that Journal. I spent much of my time and personal research reading and
looking over the great wealth of work done in Australia (in 1984-88) that was
over looked by others for some time (my opinion). Corrections have occured
across time and this is a process that is still occurring rather fitfully as
change usually does. I am happy to say that most of the people I met in
Memphis still are a part of this listand academia and have survived the
centralization of the information fairly well so something must have gone
some what correctly. I remember more than a few people predicting the
failure of the Journal in 1987 or considerable skeptisism as to whom would be
allowed to appear. Widespread jealosy was prevalent although I do know if
anyone else wanted to take the time to start a Journal. I find the Journal
to be a good source of information for locating other references and
published works about PCP and wish to give those who work on it the credit
for presevering throughout the past eight years. It has helped me to keep in
touch and current with proponents of the theory regardless of the merits of
the individual articles selected for publication. It is a resource and not
my only source of PCP information.
The internet could have been a new forum for Bill Chambers or others
neglected but Bill Chambers did not use it as such and squandered his chance
instead. He lost his chance in this forum on the basis of his behavior here
and not because of any one in the past. I look to this as a new forum.for
new ideas and exchange rather than a recreating of what went wrong before. I
had seen new names and people who were quite knowledgeable who were not
published often. I did not find the Net to be almost exclusively American
until recently. I hope it returns to what it was and that more will be

John Fallon
Thresholds Rehabilitation Center
Chicago, Il USA

***- Background on Kellian theory since Kelly's death (Long-Time Kellians can
correct any inaccuracies if they are here)
For those new to Kelly, there was a publishing dispute (After George
Kelly's death in 1969) in which the two volume set was not available and was
being stolen from the university libraries. It could not be reordered any
longer. Norton, the original publisher, would not republish both volumes
(insufficient demand for a large publisher and the high cost of the books
themselves which discouraged sales) but also would not give up rights to the
first three chapters (a paperback which was quite popular and profitable as a
text book although missing some of Kelly's best ideas).. No one else would
republish the whole work without these rights and George Kelly's estate
fought for years to get the book republished without success. The theory,
quite unlike other theories at the time, was revolutionary and yet was in
danger of not being able to be accessed. It was the work of Don Bannister
who helped more than any other to keep the theory alive worldwide and Kelly's
students such as Alvin Landfield and Franz Epting who formed a loose
association to continue to study his works and to teach others. England had
the largest following of Kellians despite the theorie's conception in the USA
and develped the first training center. Australia, Canada, Hong Kong
developed core groups held together by what was an 80 or so member "mailing
list" (1984?) and an every other year conference. Holland, Italy, Spain, and
Germany developed followings and later (1987) an International Journal was
formed to study development of Personal Construct Psycholgy with Greg and Bob
Neimeyer as editors. There also is a history of the theory written by Bob
Neimeyer published in 1985.
All of this activity was designed to expose others to a theory that
its proponents (including myself) believed was far superior to any other set
of available ideas at a time when other theories and ideas were increasingly
obscuring it. Kelly's ideas did not fit into traditional "pigeon holes" for
introductory psychology. It was a legitimate fear that the theory, like
latin would die, except for a few intellectuals unless people banded together
and helped to allow people to see the utility of Kelly's work.