Re: some 'technical' questions about constructs

Esteban Laso (
Sat, 28 Nov 1998 20:28:48 -0500


Bob Green wrote:

>1. Kelly in volume 1 (The Repertory Test) speaks in several places of
>constructs breaking down:
>"If the constructs of nice, gentle, thoughtful, and others to which
>aggressive has been the contrasting pole, begin to break down, the subject
>may turn to aggressive, both as a way of seeing many other people, and as a
>way of behaving himself" p.235
>" By noting the linkages the perceptive clinician can also get an inkling
>the directions of future movement the client may take as a result of the
>breakdown in the use of any one of a number of his constructs". p.237
>"The sequential mode of presentation provides a more rigorous test of the
>subject's use of role constructs. It is more likely to reveal their
>breaking points". p.241
>I don't recall seeing this term in v2, 'break down/breaking points' may be
>way of describing invalidation, but I don't really know. Any suggestions
>advice where this is discussed more fully would be appreciated.

I think Kelly used the "break down" metaphor when alluding to a kind of
disintegration of a construct, maybe following a massive invalidation but
not necessarily so. We could say that a "broken down" construct is one which
has lost its meaning (whatever that may be...) This disintegration, from
Kelly's point of view, can appear due to a shifting of the figure symbol of
the construct within its context. This is maybe the paradigm of "breaking
down". See Kelly, 1955, p. 146 ss, "Personal security within the context of
a construct"; also the paragraphs on symbolism, p. 138, "Symbolism".
(May this "loss of meaning" be related to the "loosening" process?
Hope that helps,

Esteban Laso