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Your client, who feels he or she may have gotten the Great Catch, may be maintaining their relationship with their Great Catch by co-creating a Parent-Child Communication dynamic. Ask yourself, am I treating a client currently who is involved in a controlling, abusive relationship who may benefit from a review of the following T-A basics?
Transactional Analysis (T.A.), developed by Eric Berne, is a system for understanding human behavior and analyzing the basic types of communications or transactions people have with one another. According to Bernes system of Transactional Analysis, there are three basic ways people can relate to their environment or interact with others. Berne labeled these the Parent, Adult, and Child...not because people use these styles when they are a specific age, but because those terms are descriptive of the attitude represented by each style. (A simplified description of each of these styles is provided at the end of this chapter.)
of the Parent Style of Communication
Typical Parent-type messages would be, Youd better get this d--- report out by ten oclock sharp! Do you hear me? If you f--- up, you can just start looking for a new job! or, I think we should sit over here where the sun wont be in your eyes. You should have a chef salad for lunch today, it will be good for you and it wont make you sleepy after you eat.
of the Adult Style of Communication
of the Child Style of Communication
Typical Child messages would be, Gee whiz, I need this stupid report mailed by ten oclock. Which one of you guys wants to do me a teensy weensy little favor and drop it in the mail lickety-split? or, Come on, guys, let's sit next to the window. I get a charge out of people-watching while I eat my lunch! What do you say we all take a break from our nutrition kick and have a big, fat, juicy hotdog and hot fudge sundae with all the trimmings!
Who is the Most Effective Communicator?
lack of emotion and spontaneity that make rational, logical, practical Adult statements
ideal in situations that call for problem-solving also make this style of communicating
very frustrating to people who are sad and seeking sympathy, or happy and looking
for a playful companion. Similarly, the carefree, impulsive nature of Child statements
can be very enjoyable and uplifting under the right circumstances. Their irresponsible,
highly emotional nature, however, can be very exasperating to deal with -- especially
when you have serious matters to discuss or important decisions to make.
Hankins, G., Ph.D., & Hankins, C. (1988) Prescription for Anger. Warner Books.
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