When people communicate with others, their ego-states interact to create transactions.
If the ego-states interact and blend in a healthy way, transactions tend to be healthier, but sometimes ego-states can contaminate each other to create a distorted view of the world.
Transactions will be played out on both a social and a psychological level. That is the actual words/behaviours expressed will have a clear social aspect but may also contain a second, psychological message.
For example, someone may say “It’s good to see you” but their tone of voice, body language or facial expressions may convey and additional meaning (maybe the complete opposite).
Berne believed that people’s scripts begin development pre-verbally and were reinforced throughout childhood and early adulthood. Script instructions are provided verbally and non-verbally, provided by care givers and other adults and can be seen as a series of instructions on what to believe, how to think and feel and how to behave.
Since the child is so young, these instructions are then ‘swallowed whole without digestion’ and form a set of ‘unconscious’ rules for how a child experiences themselves and the world around them.
The ‘rules’ governing each person are totally unique but Berne believed that there were essentially four life positions that result. These are represented by the OK Corral – below
When discussing the decreasing of script behaviours, Berne used the analogy of ‘putting your own show on the road’, rather than repeating old, repetitive patterns of being. Transactional Analysis is a talking therapy and sessions are designed to explore an individual’s personality and how this has been shaped by experience – particularly those stemming from childhood. This is achieved through skilful questioning and the development of a ‘script matrix’ through which current ways of thinking, feeling and doing can be understood.
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