How to be your own Psychologist
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Steven Codling MA, UKCP, MBPsS
5th April, 2011
If you have ever wondered how you could help yourself to manage your problems and difficulties more effectively then perhaps Personal Construct Psychology (PCP) can provide an answer.
PCP was devised by George Kelly, an American writer and philosopher who wrote his seminal work in the 1950s. Kelly thought that we know more about ourselves than anyone else and because of this we were best placed to manage our problems with help support and facilitation from a therapist. For Kelly the individual is always in the driving seat and it’s the role of the therapist to help them to move on from situations in which they might find themselves stuck.
So, how do you do this. PCP says that when we are confronted with difficulties and distress in our lives, although this may be hard for us to manage, we can add to our unhappiness by the way in which we interpret our distress.. As humans we are constantly seeking meaning in our lives and this leads us to see (or construe) the world uniquely and in a personal way. We create our own worlds but because we construct them we can also de construct them and find our own way out of our distress.
Initially we may need help to do this which is where the PCP therapist can help. In PCP the role of the therapist is to help the client build bridges and become unstuck. As a therapist I have seen this approach work for many groups and individuals in a variety of different settings. It is very effective and robust and because the eventual aim of therapy is for the individual to become their own therapist they tend not to return to therapy again once they have been helped by PCP because they are able to find their own solutions to their difficulties.
So how might you become your own therapist? Well the next time you find yourself feeling depressed for example you might try asking yourself some questions which could help you to see things in a different light. Here are some examples:
How might we see this situation differently?
Although things might appear hopeless at present you have managed to achieve this much so far.........wouldn’t this have been difficult for you in past, don’t you think this is progress?
How might someone else view the situation, for example a close friend?
In a year from now how might you view this situation?
The purpose here is to teach people the ability to challenge their negative perceptions for themselves in order that they become their own therapist by asking themselves similar questions and radically challenging their self defeating world views
What I have outlined above Kelly called constructive alternativism. This is just one aspect of PCP and there are many other techniques and strategies that you can learn to help you to help you change the way you see the world and become your own Psychologist.
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