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The Theory Transactional Analysis Ta English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1946 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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In this assignment I shall be exploring life scripts which originates from the theory Transactional Analysis. I want to build an understanding of my own life position and what association this may have with my own life script.

I believe the particular model parentification has considerable similarities with my own script. However there are aspects of the model I wish to debate as some do not apply.

After my model parentification has been explored, I want to understand what techniques a transactional analysis practitioner my use when working with an individual with the same life script as myself. I also want to try and identify what influences there could be if the practitioner has either the same life positions as myself or has experiences similar circumstances within life.

Philosophy of Transactional analysis

TA believes that people decide their destiny; decisions can be changed, everyone has the ability to think, and finally people are okay.

People are okay is a belief I would like to explore in further detail, in order for an individual to be okay, the idea is that they have adopted a life position known as ‘I’m okay and you’re okay’.

My understanding of a life position is that an individual in their early childhood will collect information about themself and their parent’s by witnessing behaviours and attitudes thus enable the child to understand themselves, others and the world they live in, this will influence a life position a child may adopt.

‘A persons basic beliefs about self and others, which are used to justify decisions and behaviour; a fundamental stance which a person takes up about the essential value he or she perceives in self and others’ I. Stewart and V. Joines (1994:330)

There are four life positions

I am okay, you are okay. – Children may have had enough of their needs met on a whole the individual will be able to remain okay throughout life.

I am not okay, you are okay. – Children can be at risk of interjected values from their parents. For example parent message ‘you were never good in school, university will be a waste of time’ this is an interjected value you are not smart enough. Children may feel mistreated by others.

I am okay, you are not okay – Children may adopt this life position due to abusive parents who treat their children cruelly, children must become self-reliant and not trust others.

I’m not okay, you are not okay – children may have had parents who are absent emotionally or physically, who are recognized as unloving. Children may feel hopelessness and no one is able to help as they too are not okay.

Once a life position has been adopted a child will operate from this belief of themselves and others throughout adulthood this is then known as a Script.

What is a life Script?

Once an individual has decided their position in life, they then begin to write their life script. My interpretation of a life script is to consider it as a life story, the plot has been written from a young age and throughout life due to circumstances the individual will begin to add detail to their life story working towards the final chapter known as the ‘pay off’. The script writer may have pre-decided what kind of ending their life story may have, meaning it may have a tragic script outcome which has an overwhelming conclusion the script writer my decide that their ‘pay off’ with result in suicide, murder or self-harm thus known as tragic.

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The script writer may have also decided what the general story line which takes place thought out the life story will be. It could be winning, losing or non-winning. Winning script I believe is a story of the individual which has achieved their personal intentions in life and is happy. A losing script I imagine the individuals story to be sad or painful in which intentions the individual may have had where never fulfilled. Non-winning I imagine this story to be who does not win nor lose but simply exists.

It is important is note that when a script is written it is done so within the subconscious, the script writer will subconsciously living their pre-determined script (life story) repeating patterns and behaviours, this is known as being in script or displaying script like behaviours.

‘The young child decides on a life script because it represents the best strategy that the child can work out to survive and get by in what often seems a hostile world’ I. Stewart and V. Joines (1994:5)

Children my perceive the world to be a hostile due to the messages they receive also known as script messages. It is believed that these messages mainly come from the child’s parents.

‘it is reinforced by parental influence, that is through actual, specific, observable transactions with the parents or carers, such script messages are both non-verbal and verbal’ C Feltham and I Horton 2006:312

These script messages can be displayed verbally or through body language, which children form decisions about themselves and others. I believe that script messages are repetitive, it is known that script messages can take place as a command for example ‘go away’ or an attribute or stating characteristics for example ‘you are horrible’

However with in my reading in regards to script messages I have failed to notice any reference regards to other methods a child may receive script messages instead of their parents , I feel that other messages may reach a child via others for example child-minders, nursery nurses, primary school teachers. **expand*

My Life Script

Applying this knowledge to myself has not been easy to undertake, the difficulty is trying to understand my own script, my life story which I have sub-consciously written, where do I start in attempting to unravel this.

I have been able to identify my own life position as I’m not okay, you are not okay. The reason being there have been many occasion within my childhood in which my script messages have confirmed that I am not okay and my mother is not okay a couple of example follow.

Scenario one – I remember being two years old and watching a children’s film known as Beauty and the Beast, towards the end of the film there was what I perceived to be a scary monster (the beast). I remember running to my mum in tears holding on to her leg telling her what scared me. My mother response ‘Stop being silly and go watch the film’ my mother’s believed there are much bigger things to be scared of then a cartoon, my interpretation of her response was simple ‘I have not got time for your silliness, go away’. This is one of few earliest memories I have as an example of my mother not able to comfort me when I felt like I needed it.

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Scenario two – I was eight years old, my step dad (who floated in and out) However when he left my mother after ten years physical/mental abuse, she was devastated and became dependant on alcohol and anti-depressants. Consequently responsibilities burdened me. My new born brother would be fed, soothed at bed times, his nappies would be changed by me. Housework would also be completed by me. My mum would often ‘compliment me’ fully aware of the responsibilities I took she would often say to others “I wouldn’t have been able to survive without Zayna, she’s been ever so good, does as she is told, helps out with her brother and makes no fuss at all”

There have been a number is occasions in which the messages I received from my mum confirmed that she is not okay, and therefore neither am I.

As I have received these messages throughout my childhood I began to write my life script based around parentification. This was the only way to get any needs met from my mother.

What is parentification

My understanding of parentification is that a child carries the responsibility of the parent, behaving as though a parent should, for me this could mean

‘Family entails a functional and/or emotional role reversal in which the child sacrifices his or her own needs for attention, comfort and guidance in order to accommodate the care for logistical or emotional needs of the parent. Because children need their parents, children learn readily to respond to what their parents need … when a parents dependency is too great and when the parent abdicates parental responsibility for structuring and protecting the child from “doing to much” or “carrying the load,” the parentified child may learn in this process that her needs are of less importance then those of others’ N. D CHASE (1999:5-6)

parentification model I found implications this can have on a child. For example it is believed that a child who has been conditioned into this role reversal may lead to

DISCUSS- critical analysis – how does this model relate and does not relate to myself

how do I feel about this?


Discuss TA how therapy would assist a client with a life script of parentification,

Due to five years of therapy although it has not transactional analysis I feel this has helped me to reconsider my life position and challenge my belief of myself and others around me, if this can be achieved I feel it will naturally cause me to change my life script, the TA terminology for this change is known as ‘script cure’

The aim of TA therapy is to aid the client to do the same, the practitioner will assist the client, to operate from the ‘I am okay, you are okay’.

In order for the practitioner to be able to do this there are a number are practice principles in place.

‘The therapist is expected to monitor their work to ensure that there is sufficient protection, permission and potency for the client to engage in the therapeutic work necessary to achieve script cure.’ Widdowson 2010:8

Protection, Permission and Potency known as ‘The Three P’s’ as explained in extract above these principles to the help the therapeutic process for the client, protection is there to keep the client safe to explore their own script and life position along with any feeling this may bring. My understanding of permission is the practitioner is to give the client permission to think and perform outside of their script. Potency means to be strong therefore I feel potency is to be strong enough to offer the support the client may need.

offering XYZ, find more on script process

If the TA practitioner is able to provide the follow then this will aid the client as mentioned above to work towards a script cure, what is meant by this is that the client will be able to operate from ‘I’m okay you are okay’ life position., meaning the client will hold improvements discuss script cure

There is a risk of always slipping back in to the ‘I’m not okay’ life position this can happen because of life events with trigger memories or moments for the client which will take them back to they life position and in turn a client may fall back in to their life script.


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