Learning about being your observer self–Transactional Analysis (TA) helps us to recognize the “voices” we have inside ourselves.
When I started my transformation in 1976, I found books by Eric Berne that helped me to “see” how most of my mind was obsessed with following roles that I had adopted as a child. When you grow up in a hostile environment, your mind takes on defenses to avoid further conflict. These are called defense mechanisms and they are so effective for when we are in fear that we continue to believe we have to “defend” ourselves throughout life. We don’t.
What Eric Berne taught me through his writings about transactional analysis was that my thoughts were dictated by my choices of the three roles—parent, child and adult. He further defines these three roles into sub roles of three. By following the examples he gave, I realized that 90% of my thinking was in the “parent” role (judgmental, accusatory, condemning,) and 10% as a willful, complaining child. These are learned roles and can easily be relearned. The goal of TA is to have a large adult with the other two roles (called ego states) being smaller.
Business Balls does a good job of defining the three roles.
More links for transactional analysis:
A quite clever diagram at changingminds.org shows the interactions of the parent, child and adult. The roles pictured here are: controlling parent (Do this. Stop that), nurturing parent (It’s OK), adult, adaptive child (No. Please), natural child (Whee. Wah!), the little professor (let’s try), and my favorite role (creative-‘free child’).
TA Tudor includes a study guide for the TA 101 course and also has 400+ handouts.