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E-Quipped to... Understand the Masks We Wear
This newsletter refers to 'Transactional Analysis – Part I', a comprehensive article found on my website.
Every day we are compelled to play multiples roles – spouse, child, employer, employee, friend etc. Our behaviour and attitude varies, more or less consciously, depending on the situation and the people we encounter. Life can be compared to a theatre where we wear various masks depending on the circumstances, but where we always follow a well-established script.
Image by: Eric Huybrechts
According to the theory of Transactional Analysis (or TA as it is often called), we can alternately play the characters of ‘Parent’, ‘Adult’ and ‘Child’ and so be in a dominating, exchange or submissive position, and freely express our feelings or alternatively hold them back.
Understanding which of these characters we frequently play can prevent us from falling into the trap of repeatedly making the same mistakes and reliving the same situations in our relationships with others, whether it be as a couple, as a family, or in the professional context.
By understanding our communication games, our ‘transactions’ with other people we can avoid becoming slaves to a particular type of reaction and constantly replaying the same scene or the same role in a play which does not necessarily correspond to the deeper reality of our situation. TA gives us a way to do this.
What is Transactional Analysis?
Transactional Analysis is an interpersonal relations approach developed during the 1960s by Dr. Eric Berne. It is underpinned by the philosophy that people can change and that we all have a right to be in the world and be accepted.
Transactional Analysis is based on two notions: That we have three sides or 'ego-states' to our 'personality (Parent, Adult and Child), and that these ego states converse with one another in 'transactions' (hence the name).
For more information on Transactional Analysis read: Transactional Analysis – Part I
What are Ego States?
An ego state is a way of us experiencing the world. It is an entire system of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours from which we interact with one another (and even with ourselves in our internal conversations).
The Parent ego state is a set of feelings, thinking and behaviour that we have copied from our parents and significant others. There are two types of parent we can play:
The Adult ego state is the 'grown up' rational person who talks reasonably and assertively, neither trying to control nor reacting aggressively towards others. The Adult is comfortable with him/herself and is, for many of us, our 'ideal self'.
The Child ego state is rooted in the past and plays back thoughts, feelings and behaviours that we experienced as a child. There are three types of Child we can play:
The healthy individual has a balance of these three ego states.
For more information on the three ego states read: Transactional Analysis – Part I
What are Transactions?
Transactions refer to the communication exchanges between people. At any one time, an individual will be transacting from one of his or her ego states. Communication works well, or is successful, when the activated ego states are complementary or sympathetic to each other. For example, to the question: "Have you seen my keys?" the answer would be, "Yes, they are on the table."
On the other hand, communication is unsuccessful when the roles oppose each other and a ‘game’ begins. So, to the question: "Have you seen my keys?" the other person answers "Oh no, not again! You always lose everything, you're just like a child!" It is easy to see that such an exchange can degenerate very quickly.
Many of our problems come from transactions which are unsuccessful. There are three ways in which we transact and each method has its own set of consequences. It is useful to understand what happens when we use each method, if we want to enjoy successful communication with others.
For more information on transactions read: Transactional Analysis – Part I
What do YOU Think?
Share your wisdom with others… How do you keep your transactions in the complimentary transaction mode
My Life Lesson Learnt in Oudtshoorn
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Thanks to Anne, Nolwazi and Peter for the feedback after last month's newsletter.
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About These Newsletters
You may have been forwarded this email by a friend. In that case, allow me to introduce myself. I am a psychologist, speaker, trainer, coach and hat lover based in Durban, South Africa.
My goal is to inspire you to make the changes necessary to live the life of your dreams! I believe that by developing your YOU-Q - the term I have created to describe your unique intelligence, creativity and wisdom - you can find your Inner winner and live a Be-YOU-tiful life right now.
On my website you'll find more ideas to get you thinking about life, love, work and other important STUFF.
Contact me for more information or visit the website:
+27 82 491 1136
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