Transaction analysis

Parent, adult, child – according to the psychotherapist Eric Bern, they live in each of us. We must learn to recognize their voices in order to understand why we behave in different ways with different people, and they, in turn, with us. The psychotherapist Vadim Petrovsky tells about the method of transactive analysis.

How we communicate? We calmly and confidently speak with some people, teach others, indignantly demand something from the third. American psychotherapist Eric Bern suggested that in different situations the three states of our “I” – a parent, an adult and a child appear. Bern developed a psychotherapeutic method that allows you to analyze the behavior and find out why we often do not understand our colleagues, partners, children or friends and what we need to do to change this position.

On different voices

During his therapeutic sessions, Eric Bern drew attention to how the intonations and the timbre of the voice of patients change when they tell their stories: at some point, voices, like in childhood, are harsh, teaching, like a father or a father or a father or a fathermother dissatisfied with the behavior of the child. Observations of patients and themselves led Bern to create a theory of transactive analysis, which studies our interaction with other people in different states of our “I”. Bern believed that at each moment of communication with ourselves or others we are in one of three states: we objectively evaluate the situation and make decisions as an adult;We demand or take care as a parent;fantasize, capricious or obey as a child.

Burn called the moments of our communication with others “transactions”. This word is literally translated as “transaction”. And, if you understand communication as a deal that should lead to a positive result, it becomes clear why this result is not always as good as we would like. I just wanted to seriously and thoughtfully discuss the problem with another adult, but in his place he unexpectedly discovered, for example, an irritated parent or an offended child and could not agree with him.

Stages of work

Transact analysis is a group and individual work associated with the word, emotions and feelings. Typically, therapists recommend combining both methods. From the very first sessions, the client concludes with the therapist an oral “change contract”, which determines the goals of the

work and ways to achieve them. During therapy, the contract may be changed.

With the help of the therapist, the client learns the structure of his personality, learns to recognize by external signs in what states of the “I” he most often happens and how this affects his behavior and communication. Therapy helps the client change – to regain a natural child in himself, to strengthen the position of the parent who was tired of the struggle, learn to resolve his problems from the perspective of an adult and restore self -confidence and in his abilities. The work usually does not last long: the task of a transactic analyst is to free the client from problems as soon as possible.

Three states of our “I”

These are not the roles that we play. We become a parent, adult or child at one time or another, often not realizing this report. For some of us, only one of these states is familiar: we communicate with everyone, for example, as obedient children or, conversely, exclusively as adults, not allowing ourselves to play or offend.

By building relationships from the perspective of an adult, we are guided by the principles of reality, we can find compromises, we are objective, independent and act on the basis of collected information, and not only our own desires or public regulations.

When the parent is included in us, this means that the requirements of our parents or the intonations of other people who were our idols are the main ones for us at this moment – this can be a beloved musician or even a literary hero.

“As a child, I really loved Ostap Bender, dreamed of becoming like him,” says Olga. – Now, when I am 33, this passion has passed, but sometimes I catch myself on the fact that with ironic intonation I pronounce phrases in the “Bender” style. And at these moments, my right eyebrow rises sarcastically “.

According to the theory of transactive analysis, the parent inside us can be controlled and guardianship. For the control parent, the main word – “it is necessary”, the main actions are to force and punish (it is his wife that the wife says, demanding to give out a salary, or the boss, when he is reprimanded). Those of us who have too often “turn on” the controlling parent often become tyrants for themselves and others. The guardian parent cares about whom he educates, and often indulges any of his desires. It’s not scary to call such a friend in the middle of the night with a complaint that you can’t sleep. And a woman who is constantly in this state of the “I” will always allow her children to miss the school.

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