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?
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
Your communication is
said to be coming from the Parent style when you are modeling how your parents
or parent substitutes communicated with you when you were a small child. Most
parents relate to their children either as an authority figure or as a nurturing
care-giver. Thus, the Parent style of communication includes words and behaviors
that are critical, domineering, judgmental, demanding, and demeaning, as well
as those that are caring, supportive, and compassionate.
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
Your communication is said
to be coming from the Adult style when you are focusing on the current situation
and are gathering and evaluating all the pertinent facts in an objective, unemotional
manner. Thus, the Adult style of communication includes words and behaviors that
are specific, factual, inquisitive, confident, and informative. Typical Adult
messages would be, This needs to go out in the ten oclock mail today,
please take care of it, or, Where would you prefer to sit, by the
window or by the fireplace? I understand they have a good chef salad here, have
you ever tried it?
of the Child Style of Communication
Your communication is said
to be coming from the Child style when it mimics the feelings and actions you
had as a young child. Thus, the Child style of communication includes words and
behaviors that are creative, impulsive, fun-loving, playful, and spontaneous,
as well as highly emotional, self-centered, rebellious, and aggressive.
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?
Each of the three styles of communicating
and interacting contributes to your relationships with others in many positive
ways. However, each style also has features that can be very anger-provoking,
depending on the time and situation. For instance, you may appreciate the Parent
message, Watch out! if you arent aware that the car driving
in the lane next to you is starting to swerve into your lane. In this situation
the parent statements such as, You should learn to drive defensively,
or, You're the worst driver Ive ever seen, may provoke your
anger, especially if the comment seems critical or judgmental.
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.
of the three styles of communication can be appropriate, given the right circumstances.
But in terms of coping with angry feelings and angry people, communicating in
a straightforward Adult-to-Adult manner is the most effective style. When you
communicate from your Adult directly to another persons Adult, you are least
likely to elicit or intensify that persons anger.
impulsive, self-centered, rebellious
values in children.
Make quick decisions.Gather
and study data.
Make logical decisions
fun. Experience life
to its fullest
|Tone of VoiceHarsh,
want, lets play
alert, good eye contact
- Hankins, G., Ph.D. with Hankins, C. (1988). Prescription for Anger. Warner Book, 140-144.