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Fixed Role Therapy

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Definition

A form of brief, constructivist therapy in which the client enacts a make-believe character drafted by the therapist to portray an alternative identity for a fixed period of time, typically 2 weeks. Rather than teaching specific social skills, the enactment is intended to convey to the client that change in one’s outlook and social role is possible at any time, if one is willing to try on an alternative way to approach one’s life, including its challenges.

Related Terms

Fixed role therapy; Personal construct theory

As the original brief psychotherapy, fixed-role therapy (FRT) was pioneered by American psychologist George Kelly in the late 1930s to foster rapid personal growth and resilience in the urgent context of the Great Depression, and it has come to be used in a great range of clinical settings in the decades since. Like personal construct theory (PCT), the overarching theory of personality and clinical psychology of which it was part, this active experimental approach...

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References

  • Abe, H., Imai, S., & Nedate, K. (2011). Effects of fixed-role therapy applying decision-making theory on social anxiety. Japanese Journal of Counseling Science, 44(1), 1–9.

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  • Dalton, P. (2009). A constructivist approach to depression. International Journal of Psychotherapy, 13(2), 26–31.

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  • Horley, J. (2006). Personal construct psychotherapy: Fixed-role therapy with forensic clients. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 12(1), 53–61.

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  • Kelly, G. A. (1955). The psychology of personal constructs. New York: Norton.

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  • Neimeyer, R. A., Ray, L., Hardison, H., Raina, K., Kelly, R., & Krantz, J. (2003). Fixed role in a fishbowl: Consultation-based fixed role therapy as a pedagogical technique. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 16, 243–271.

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  • Neimeyer, R. A., & Winter, D. A. (2006). Personal construct therapy. In N. Kazantzis & L. L’Abate (Eds.), Handbook of homework assignments in psychotherapy. New York: Kluwer.

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Correspondence to Robert A. Neimeyer .

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Neimeyer, R.A. (2020). Fixed Role Therapy. In: Zeigler-Hill, V., Shackelford, T.K. (eds) Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24612-3_897

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