Tuesday, September 1, 2009

transactional analysis.

psychologists, like all club-members, whether they want to or not, codify thier language and make up words to mean things that the general public don`t understand.

this is true of all people all the time.

microsoft makes up words to describe processes so that normally intelligent people are reduced to tears trying to figure out what is going on inside thier computer.

children take on slang to insulate themselves from adults. mostly this occurs unconsciously.

i found out recently that when my child says something is sick, what he really means is that it is good.

mostly, the codification of words within a group is benign, and the slang between members strengthens the group.

the difficulty, of course, comes when someone from outside the group needs to communicate with someone from inside the group for and important reason.

like when you need a straight answer from a lawyer, doctor or most any other bureaucrat when the issue involves your health, finances of freedom.

so....in the fifties, as psychology emerged into modern society, it became obvious to some practitioners that they needed to be able to communicate more clearly to thier patients about what was happening in thier lives.

most practitioners to this day treat thier patients as if they couldn`t understand what was going on and so merely write notes and keep a closed file and sit and listen to thier patients day in, day out.

some psychologists realised they needed to cut the psycho-babble and really involve the patient in the healing process, and so transactional analysis was born.

quite simply, t.a. posits that we are basically operating in one of three ego states at any one time.

parent, adult or child.

these three states are available to the adult person in various forms as they interact with themselves and with others.

the adult state is where we are resourseful and confident and healthy, balancing a cheque book, returning phone calls and being good to the niegbour`s kids over the fence.

the parent state is where we are fully telling others and ourselves what to do, how to do it, and how fast.

the child state is where we play, but also where we are fearful.

so we have p. a. and c.

and so does everyone else.

our parent and adult and child are constrantly interchanging inside our heads as we make decisions, communicate and act in our lives.

and so is everyone else.

mostly we have adult to adult conversations about things. simple mundane things like going ot the bank and withdrawing money, of buying a coffee, or filling up at the gas station.

where the problems lie is when a parent part of us is harsh towards someone else, and thier not-ok child reacts badly, or a person`s not-ok child attacks seemingly irrationally...or any one of a number of games that can be described in terms of the intraction between the parent, adult and child states as they rise and fall inside a person.

what is the parent style you are most familiar with?

do you use this style to teach, to guide or to explain to others?

is your internal child ok enough to play with others, or does it want ot hide or attack?

are you adult enough to rationalise and be patient with others, or do you try to dominate or manipulate to get what you want?

this simple way of explaining ego states and interactions with others is a simple and yet powerful way for the therapist or counseler to include the client in the psychotherapeutic process and making people much more aware of themselves and of others as they move through thier day.