George Kelly’s Personal Constructs: Threat, Fear, Anxiety, and Guilt

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The different ways people are engaged in life events affect the decisions making process and the outcomes of such situations. According to George Kelly, the way people perceive reality is strongly attached to their personal constructs; that is, how people analyze, think, or interpret certain events or life situations (Chiari, 2017). Although he does not believe in emotions, Kelly argues that threat, fear, anxiety, and guilt are four elements of human disturbance, which might influence a person’s resistance. Given that human emotions considerably affect their feelings and moods, actions and behaviors, it is crucial to examine Kelly’s perception of core elements of human disturbance, which have a direct impact on human sense of resistance. Moreover, this essay aims to compare each of these constructs with the Scripture’s viewpoint of these particular factors.

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Threat is one of the human disturbance elements, which have a significant influence on one’s ability to endure and resist. Ding et al. (2018) define threat as the awareness of an imminent situation likely to change the core structure of the circumstances resulting in the development of stressful moments in a person. For this reason, in Mathew 5:30-39, Jesus said that a person should not feel stressed or threatened by others when they are struck; instead, they should stay open to the offender and bless the enemy rather than exercising revenge. Regardless of Jesus’s teachings in the Scriptures, threat tends to create aggravate resistance in a person towards making a certain decision or hesitation in the decision-making process.

Fear and anxiety are the other human disturbance elements, which are sometimes confused by people and used interchangeably but affect individual resistance differently. Fear is a stressful situation developed by a threatening moment but anxiety is a confused state for perceived danger (Shackman et al., 2016). In Luke 12, Jesus calms the fears and anxiety developed by the people when he told the disciple to stop worrying about food and clothes. Similar to Jesus in the Scriptures, Ding et al. (2018) note that human beings tend to develop higher resistance in their state of fear or anxiety created by life-threatening situations. Therefore, fear represents a key concern with the individual’s inner self, while anxiety states for confusion within one’s construction system.

Guilt is considered the fourth element of human disturbance constructs, which considerably influences individual resilience. Guilt occurs when a person has made the wrong decisions leading to stressful or disastrous moments in life (Ding et al., 2018). King David, in 2 Samuel is a perfect example of a person suffering from guilt because of sending Uriah to die at the war frontline so that he could take his wife. When people are about to make the wrong decision in their lives, they develop regretful feelings even before they perform the act. For this reason, they avoid implementing a decision they believe or perceive to cause harm or be wrong depending on their life experiences.

A comparison of Kelly’s human disturbance elements with the examples from the Bible Scriptures reveals that they directly affect individual resistance. When a person feels threatened, they tend to avoid the activities which can cause harm. As a consequence, they can develop fear particularly if they have experienced the life-threatening situations similar to what they are likely going to face. Hence, humans are prone to developing anxiety because of what they believe will come. If an individual plays the role of the instigators and causes the imminent danger, he or she can become guilty concerning the adopted decision. The Bible also attests to these sentiments and it is the reason why Jesus tried to teach his disciples and the congregation to avoid stressful moments because it will impede His followers from serving the Lord.

References

Chiari, G. (2017). Recent advances in personal construct psychotherapy. Personal Construct Theory & Practice, 14, 15–24.

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Ding, C., Zhang, J., & Yang, D. (2018). A pathway to psychological difficulty: perceived chronic social adversity and its symptomatic reactions. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 615.

Shackman, A. J., Tromp, D. P., Stockbridge, M. D., Kaplan, C. M., Tillman, R. M., & Fox, A. S. (2016). Dispositional negativity: An integrative psychological and neurobiological perspective. Psychological Bulletin, 142(12), 1275–1314.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, February 1). George Kelly’s Personal Constructs: Threat, Fear, Anxiety, and Guilt. Retrieved from https://psychologywriting.com/george-kellys-personal-constructs-threat-fear-anxiety-and-guilt/

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, February 1). George Kelly’s Personal Constructs: Threat, Fear, Anxiety, and Guilt. https://psychologywriting.com/george-kellys-personal-constructs-threat-fear-anxiety-and-guilt/

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"George Kelly’s Personal Constructs: Threat, Fear, Anxiety, and Guilt." PsychologyWriting, 1 Feb. 2022, psychologywriting.com/george-kellys-personal-constructs-threat-fear-anxiety-and-guilt/.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'George Kelly’s Personal Constructs: Threat, Fear, Anxiety, and Guilt'. 1 February.

References

PsychologyWriting. 2022. "George Kelly’s Personal Constructs: Threat, Fear, Anxiety, and Guilt." February 1, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/george-kellys-personal-constructs-threat-fear-anxiety-and-guilt/.

1. PsychologyWriting. "George Kelly’s Personal Constructs: Threat, Fear, Anxiety, and Guilt." February 1, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/george-kellys-personal-constructs-threat-fear-anxiety-and-guilt/.


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PsychologyWriting. "George Kelly’s Personal Constructs: Threat, Fear, Anxiety, and Guilt." February 1, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/george-kellys-personal-constructs-threat-fear-anxiety-and-guilt/.