TA, Recovery and Our Inner Selves
“Begin to observe your life more and try to awaken the observer in you, the high self. Thinkers from Plato to Freud have talked about the three selves we have within us. I call them the high self, the conscious self, and the basic self. The conscious self is the personality; the basic self is the child. When the conscious self decides to go on a diet, the basic self eats chocolate cake. The high self is the god within us, the part that is eternal and divine. It is always there but we need to activate it….Listen to the slow, still voice we call intuition.”
One of the techniques I used early in my recovery to get in touch with my wounded feelings was accepting my inner child. Transactional Analysis helped me to discover my parent, child and adult states. Eric Berne was the founder of TA and introduced the idea of the games we play to get what we want.
Games People Play was the title of his first book and was a best-seller in the 1960’s. After 40 years and 5,000,000 copies, Games is still relevant today. Eric Berne influenced other authors; Thomas Harris, who also wrote about TA with his book, I’m OK-You’re OK, and Muriel James’s book, Born to Win. Berne founded The International Transactional Analysis Association (ITAA) which is still active and has several of the main ideas at their site.
The main ideas from TA are ego states (parent, child and adult), strokes, transactions, life script, contracts and games people play. One of the newer ideas from the TA group is about the blame game (i.e. why do blame—simply choose steps needed to move forward).
Two of the main concepts for the TA philosophy are we are each worthy of being accepted and people can change. Of the three ego states—parent, child and adult—when I studied TA, I found that I could only identify 2 ego states. I had a very judgmental parent (these are thoughts and ideas I had adapted from my parents) and child (mine was the willful me-only child state. When I first use this information to check myself, I found that I had no adult (the ego state used to live in the here-and-now with responses dependent on new responses). No wonder that I lived in yesterday or tomorrow. I had no inner guide to deal with today.
In this post, David splits himself into two parts: “parent” and “inner child”. And he settles on nurturing the inner child. Ah! One of my favorite topics. In other posts, I’ve written about the inner child. I guide my life by two ideas I have of my inner child: (1) I don’t let her play in the “traffic”–by that I mean I don’t become my joyful, playful child God created around judgmental or critical people, and (2) I have to actively nurture her. A big sign that I am not paying attention to her is when I feel burdened. Many authors believe that we have all ages of ourselves inside. I know that my inner child can be a tyrant at times and seems to love to hold on to “getting even” with others.
www.itaa-net.org has members from 65 countires. The websites for members is included and lists the nationality of each member as well as a direct link to each member’s website. What a great way to build community among members. Books, DVDs and tapes are for sale also. The concepts about transactional analysis including ego states and tranactions, “voices in the head”, strokes, games, payoffs, roles. and scripts. Of particular interest may be the roles in the Addiction Game–addict (victim), rescuer, and persecutor. Explanations about these is included at this site.