rattling (contrast reconstruction)
change, or "contrast reconstruction", is one of the more simple, and
enduring, change processes in PCP.
In a slot change, the person construes
people, events, or themselves on the opposite pole of an existing construct.
timid person might for example "act as if"
they were a confident person, or
someone who perceives a situation as worrying might try construing the
situation as exciting.
contrast reconstruction can be an enlightening experiment in
change, and can lead to some elaboration of the person’s system,
further development. More often, such experiments fall into Kelly’s
category of "superficial movement". When the confident-acting person
difficulties or invalidation in their new
behaviour, they are likely to revert back to the original pole of timidity, hence the term "slot-rattling" as
the person moves from one pole to another and back again.
a person makes a slot change, it may appear initially that an enormous
has been made resulting in markedly different behaviours. The
results from there having been no elaboration of the construct system,
that particular construct, which remains a well-used and viable path to
no alternative routes have been added.
This will be
important to remember when
working with Kelly’s technique of fixed
role therapy, through which a
experiments with new behaviours based on a character sketch prepared
with or by
the therapist. A suitable character sketch for the timid person would
unhelpful and unrealistic written as supreme confidence. We would be
instead for a character with enough in common with the client for them
comfortable in role, but different enough for this to be a worthwhile
experiment. We may create for example, a character who feels a little
times, but who generally expects things to work out well, and who
wholeheartedly, thus avoiding the potential for a simplistic slot
movement may be triggered by threat,
prompting us to move to the contrast pole
to recover our ability to anticipate;
by invalidation, leading us to
the only alternative we have immediately available; or by new
through their unfamiliarity call for different behaviours.
describes this kind of movement as "sometimes worth seeking", but also
that it will all too often "end up in
see-saw behaviour". While it may have been a useful experiment or enactment tool, we are advised that "from a
psychological point of view one should not consider such behaviour
indicating any more than a minimum of personality development".
G. (1955) The
Psychology of Personal
Constructs. Vol 2, pp 19-20. New York: