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The hypothesis that people assess both others and themselves in terms of an ‘ideal’ image, has lent a new dimension to theories of inter- and intra-personal perception. Investigation of these theories has led to the development, at Wingrove Cottage Community Clinic, of a test aimed at elucidating the role of the ‘ideal’, both for greater theoretical understanding of this concept and for its obvious utility in clinical applications. Using standard personality questionnaires, (Cattell's 16 Personality Factors Test(I6PF) and Edward's Personal Preferences Questionnaire (EPPQ)), both patients and nonpatients were presented with an eleven point scale between the standard descriptions of these factors. They were asked to rate:- (i) themselves, (ii) their ideal self, and either (iii) (a) Wingrove Receptionist, or (b) their spouse. In addition, each subject completed the full form of these scales, in order to establish an ‘actual’ personality profile. The results of these studies, comparing the four profiles obtained, provide strong evidence for the existence of an internalized, socially constructed and cognitively-prejudicing ‘ideal’ personality profile which significantly influences both the interpersonal relationships and self esteem of patients. The findings obtained afforded a powerful basis for subsequent discussion and analysis between patient, therapist and .spouse, through which prejudices were revealed and cognivitely/affectively unlearned.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1985-01-01

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