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Personal Construct Psychology has existed for almost fifty years. In 1955, George A. Kelly published his ground-breaking two-volume book "The Psychology of Personal Constructs". In this book he developed a theory of personality centred around the distinctive ways in which individuals construct and reconstruct the meanings of their lives, which he subsequently elaborated in a series of papers. While Kelly’s original focus was on applications to psychotherapy and counselling, personal construct concepts and methods have been used to understand such topics as diverse as stuttering, the development and breakdown of close relationships, vocational decision making, education, bereavement and organisational behaviour. 

Originating in the United States of America, PCP - as it is commonly abbreviated - has spread to a number of countries, the UK first, then to other English-speaking countries such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand as well as a variety of countries with other languages: Italy, Germany, Spain. However, PCP has not routinely made it into the required curricula of university education, neither in its country of origin nor elsewhere, and therefore its dissemination has mainly depended on the involvement (and the enthusiasm) of a limited number of scholars who founded training centres, edited journals or newsletters, wrote textbooks, translated English texts, and incorporated PCP in their research or practice. As is common with academic books, however, the number of copies is limited, their availability is often erratic, and therefore the number of people that have been exposed to written information on PCP have remained restricted.

Fortunately, the widespread development of the Internet in the last few years has provided the opportunity to change this deplorable situation in a fundamental way. Web sites devoted to PCP have been set up, papers have been made available on the Net, but comprehensive information on PCP has until now still not been readily accessible. Therefore, i
n 2002 we invited a number of colleagues from all over the world to contribute to this Encyclopaedia. We are happy to be able now to present a first, albeit still limited, number of entries: the first 50 of more than 250. Eventually, the joint efforts of many members of the international PCP community will have resulted in a comprehensive account of the PCP approach accessible worldwide.

The advantages of the Internet system are obvious: Once a book is printed, it stays as it is until, hopefully, enough people have bought it to make a revised edition economically viable. More often than not this does not happen, though. The Internet route, on the other hand, provides the opportunity to present a work that is continually "in progress", or, appropriately termed, a permanent "construction site". Entries can be revised whenever an author (or the readers) think it appropriate, more entries can be added as developments occur etc. Thus, up-to-date information can be presented worldwide at no (or low) costs.

This Encyclopaedia is not meant to render printed books or journals superfluous. The reader who wants to get involved seriously in the theory and practice of PCP will have to delve into the
books, articles and papers recommended in the Encyclopaedia entries. We have also included a list of books that contain both introductory and comprehensive information. Most of them are available through Internet-based booksellers such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The PCP Information Centre in Hamburg (Germany) provides more information, including links to web sites devoted to PCP.

The entries to this Encyclopaedia are "peer-reviewed" by an international Editorial Board.

Jörn Scheer (Hamburg, Germany)              Beverly Walker (Wollongong, Australia)

Establ. 2003
Last update: 4 April 2004