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The term refers to an actual or impending change in one’s construct system. Different transitions – corresponding to as many diagnostic constructs (see diagnosis) – can be discriminated on the basis of their reference to nuclear or peripheral structures, to comprehensive or incidental changes, to the participation of one’s core role in the change, and other criteria. Kelly (1955) described six constructs having to do with such dislodgment: threat, fear, anxiety, guilt, aggressiveness, and hostility, and two cycles of construction: the C-P-C cycle and the creativity cycle. McCoy (1977) translated in terms of transitions many other emotions of traditional psychology.
However, it is important not to consider transitions as simple equivalents of emotions. Kelly did not accept the mind-body duality and the cognition-emotion division. Rather, he tried to remain within the general framework of his own theory that, ontologically, is a form of monism (neutral monism) whereby both mind and matter are merely convenient ways of organizing events.
The notion of transition has a fundamental role in personal construct psychotherapy.

  • Kelly, G. A. (1955). The psychology of personal constructs. New York, Norton.
  • McCoy, M. M. (1977). A reconstruction of emotion. In D. Bannister (Ed.), New perspectives in personal construct theory (pp. 93-124). London: Academic Press

Gabriele Chiari & M. Laura Nuzzo

Establ. 2003
Last update: 15 February 2004