Prescott Lecky (1892–1941) was a lecturer of Psychology at Columbia University from 1924 to 1934. At a time when American psychology was dominated by behaviorism, he developed the concept of self-help as a method in psychotherapy of the self in the 1920s. His concepts influenced Maxwell Maltz in his writing of the classic self-help book, Psycho-Cybernetics. Lecky stressed the defense mechanism of resistance as an individual's method of regulating his self-concept.
Lecky's self-consistency theory, that self-consistency is a primary motivating force in human behavior. Lecky's theory concerned the organization of ideas of the self and the self's overall need for a "master" motive that serves to maintain for the self a consistency in ideas. Self-consistency theory remains relevant to contemporary personality and clinical psychologists. He was well known as a psychologist and counseled John F. Kennedy when he was having trouble at Choate preparatory school.
His students gathered together his ideas and posthumously published them as Self Consistency: a theory of personality in 1945.
- Ansbacher, Heinz L. (1981). "Prescott lecky's concept of resistance and his personality". Journal of Clinical Psychology 37 (4): 791–5. doi:10.1002/1097-4679(198110)37:4<791::AID-JCLP2270370418>3.0.CO;2-3.
- Stevens, Michael J. (1992). "Prescott Lecky: Pioneer in consistency theory and cognitive therapy". Journal of Clinical Psychology 48 (6): 807–11. doi:10.1002/1097-4679(199211)48:6<807::AID-JCLP2270480615>3.0.CO;2-C. PMID 1452769.
- O'Brian, Michael (2006). John F. Kennedy: A Biography. Macmillan. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-312-35745-0. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
- Self Consistency: a theory of personality. Shoe String Press. 1961. p. 275.[non-primary source needed] online version