According to Berne, Making the most of our previous experiences to build on our Adult Ego State enables us to integrate the good characteristics of our Parent and Child ego-states. The spontaneous and intimate nature of our Adult ego state facilitates an experience of life that is rooted to reality and it also helps us to utilize our experiences to re-invent ourselves from time to time.
Also Read: TRANSACTIONAL ANALYSIS – Revealing Life through a New Perspective
From Berne’s perspective, a transaction is simply the building block of interaction with society which is comprised of a cause and effect scenario. It is normal for transactions to occur at both the objective and subjective levels simultaneously. You can take the scenario where an individual says something very nice but actually means something very nasty. As part of transactional analysis both sides are addressed to.
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Berne elaborates vividly about the various kinds of transactions through simple illustrations. The basic transactions that Berne elaborates on include complementary transaction. A complementary transaction is the socially “correct” way to handle a scenario where the psychological balance is maintained there is a steady flow of communication.
In a situation where one party addresses an ego state that their partner is not in, the consequence is deemed to be a "crossed transaction." This results in a breakdown in communication. Though it may sound to be a socially inappropriate transaction, it can help to cut down on unnecessarily prolonged communication that fails to yield any positive result.
There is also the "duplex" transaction. In this scenario, the social message is bundled with a cleverly hidden psychological message. To a third party, the conversation may sound to be positive and well balanced; however, there are undertones of condescending behavior and dominance which only the parties engaged can understand.
The Concept of Life Positions
According to Berne, behind these myriad transactions there exists the transactional analysis concept of “life positions.” There are four fundamental life positions based on which we perceive and expect life to unfold and these life positions have a profound influence on every transaction we perform:
1. "I'm Not OK, You're OK" (I-U+)
2. "I'm Not OK, You're Not OK" (I-U-)
3. "I'm OK, You're Not OK" (I+U-)
4. "I'm OK, You're OK" (I+U+)
Depending on perception of ourselves and others, we would tend to spend an increased or decreased amount of time in any position. From the perspective of Transactional Analysis, the objective is to lead a life in the I+U+ position and to perform from the Integrated Adult ego state, taking from our Parent and Child ego-states as deemed fit. This is done to maintain productive and healthy relationships and a clear path of communication.
Our chosen life position is the consequence of our early life events, incorporated into early life decisions, termed in Transactional Analysis as the "script". The script is the life charter that we have created for ourselves in our childhood phase. It is perceived to be the blueprint for how we perceive ourselves and how we expect life will unfold for us.
In 1976, Goulding & Goulding uncovered twelve injunctions which may be built into the Child ego state as a consequence of our early life experience.
1. Don't be (don't exist)
2. Don't be who you are (Don't Be You)
3. Don't be a child
4. Don't grow up
5. Don't make it in your life (Don't Succeed)
6. Don't do anything!
7. Don't be important
8. Don't belong
9. Don't be close
10. Don't be well (don't be sane!)
11. Don't think
12. Don't feel
To sustain ourselves regardless of our injunctions, we are more likely to use "drivers" or "working styles" to help find a way through life and to meet the requirements of others. This comprises of:
1. Be perfect
2. Be strong
3. Try hard
4. Please others
5. Hurry up
Drivers can be useful as they reinforce our skill set that we rely on in times of stress.
It is imperative that you have a clear understanding of your adopted Drivers so that you can optimize your strengths and focus on correcting your limitations; to be catalyzed by them when appropriate, rather than driven by them by default. Drivers and Scripts can be used on groups or individuals.
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