Prescott Lecky

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Prescott Lecky (November 1, 1892 – May 30, 1941[1]) 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. George Kelly, in his book The Psychology of Personal Constructs, also credits Lecky as an influence. Lecky stressed the defense mechanism of resistance as an individual's method of regulating his self-concept.[2]

Lecky's self-consistency theory is 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.[3] Self-consistency theory remains relevant to contemporary personality and clinical psychologists.[4] He was well known as a psychologist and counseled John F. Kennedy when he was having trouble at Choate preparatory school.[5]

His students gathered together his ideas and posthumously published them as Self Consistency: a theory of personality in 1945.[6]

Lecky was born in Virginia and died in New York City. He's buried at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Prescott Lecky
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Merenda, PF. "Similarities between Prescott Lecky's Theory of Self-Consistency and Carl Rogers' Self-Theory." Psychological Reports. 107.2 (2010): 647-58. Print.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ O'Brian, Michael (2006). John F. Kennedy: A Biography. Macmillan. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-312-35745-0. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
  6. ^ Self Consistency: a theory of personality. Shoe String Press. 1961. p. 275.[non-primary source needed] online version