"Today a psychotherapist, not an economist, can save a company from a crisis".
Nowadays, when the extent of the general crisis is reflected mainly in personality crises, we hear more and more often that masks are falling and real faces of people are appearing. As I have been dealing with crises for more than 13 years, I have tried to find the simplest explanation for the phenomenon. The “tool” that helped me to explain the “mask game” is called Transactional Analysis.
In this essay I would like to introduce the term Transaction Analysis in a more popular form. The term is not well known to the public in our country, and when I mention it, the vast majority of them believe that it has to do with the economy, with finance. Even when reading the literature, which is Transactional Analysis, I did not find any explanation for it anywhere, or at least for me at the time when I had not yet studied it.
In this article I would like to show how everyone in his life with experiences comes to the basics of Transactional Analysis in a natural way. (Note: As a physics student I was a member of the Society for the Interpretation of Science of Kvarkadabra, where I “translated” high science into colloquial language. The contributions are summarized in the book: “WHY IS THE SKY BLUE?, Krtina 2004″)
If one would translate Transactional Analysis into colloquial language, one could call it Communication Analysis. These are not just the words of the message we have received. Everyone uses his own way of communication.
When we are in Slovenia and speak Slovene, it does not mean that we understand each other. In addition to the words (which is only 7%) the way of communication is also the color of the voice (which makes up 38% of communication) and body language (55%). The moment someone stands in
front of us and tells us something, we should not only pay attention to the words, because that would mean that we understand only 7% of what he wants to tell us, but we should look at him as a whole, because he tells us with his whole body. In technical language we would say that with the knowledge of transactional analysis the efficiency of information transfer is more efficient.
However, before I continue to explain what Transactional Analysis is, I want to show that I came to the essence in a purely “natural” way, which means that I got to know it from my own experience, and that this is not something that Dr. Eric Berne (founder of Transactional Analysis, Modalities in Psychothotherapy) wrote and what we are learning today. But it is something of life, something that really exists.
Already as a student of physics I started to deal with the optimization of business processes in companies, which meant that I made the existing work in a company easier. The result was visible in lower costs, fewer complaints, better relationships and relieved employees and a resulting reduction in overtime. I was very proud of the result. However, it was not clear to me why the employees in the company started to resist after a while, and they simply did not want to accept the changes. Later, I realized that with the working method I proposed, the work would be much more transparent, it would be clear what exactly someone was doing and there would no longer be any collective responsibility. So the employees did not want to take responsibility.
Later I came across Choice Theory which led me to Reality Therapy (I completed it in 2002 with Dr. William Glasser Institute at Leon Lojko). The latter states: “that everyone is responsible for his or her own actions“. I started to apply Reality Therapy when introducing Project Management into the business process. I began to teach the employees of companies to take responsibility. I felt a “stable enthusiasm” within me, i.e. the changes lasted for quite some time. I used to have a “euphoria” that lasted for a short time. Despite the stable enthusiasm, the enthusiasm did not last long. Eventually the responsibility began to be distorted somehow, as if a greater influence was coming from somewhere. By researching corporate processes, I became a leader. My realization was that the power of the director’s information is strongest in the company. Just as he communicates information from “above”, the process takes place later. So nothing helped me to change processes, to work on the responsibilities of the employees, because my work was constantly destroyed by the director. It was absolutely clear to me that if I wanted to change something in the company, I had to start with the director.
When I started to deal with directors and get to know them better and better, I saw that each of them reacted differently. But almost everyone treats their staff the same way they treat their children. I began to pay attention to how they reacted to certain information, how they communicated with the staff, and saw that the staff understood the information they wanted to convey in a very different way.
So I myself brought many elements from the pedagogical faculty into the educational process I developed. Apart from the management method and my school, my priority remains the reorganization of companies, crisis management, crisis management, which I have been dealing with for 20 years.
The expectations of the Director were much higher than the “skills” of the staff. He wanted from them the same thing that he himself was capable of, but they themselves could only do part of what he expected from them. Because the “imperfect” product came back to him, he returned it to the process and passed the bad mood on to the employees, and they put it back on him. In this way the dispute never ended and the product reached an almost desired level with a lot of energy, lost time and money.
It would be enough if the director would take the time to check that the employees would understand him and communicate with them, so that each of the employees would understand what he wanted to say. Then the task would be completed much faster, without additional costs and disputes. The director had to be taught to communicate and, above all, to be tolerant and listen to others.
But it was not clear to me why some directors were different? Not everyone was “explosive”, some took their time and were friendly to the staff, others were not interested in the staff at all, they just demanded. Then the question began to arise for me why we humans are different. Yes really, why are we all different?
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Yes really, why are we all different?
When I started to do personal interviews with managers, I saw that they often mentioned their parents, their childhood, you could see that especially in family businesses, when they took over the business from their parents and their children already worked in them. I was lucky to see all three generations in
the same working environment (365 family businesses). There I saw the director doing the same as his father and his son doing the same as himself. Although everyone wanted to do it differently.
I thought to myself: If I wanted to change the process in a company, I first had to deal with the director’s parents. Of course, I did not mean this literally, but to change the beliefs that the director has within himself.
Most interesting, however, was the information that employees were looking for methods to get as close as possible to the director.
Everyone has invented their own approach. It was really interesting to watch them getting creative. When I watched from so far away, I saw that it was a game at the company. The director is the main actor, and everyone else creates games so as not to end the show. When I brought that to life, I realized that we almost all play. These games make us creative, but they also make us very tired.
My conclusion was that problems in companies are caused by the directors. Because they do not know how to communicate or say what you want. But his communication problems are caused by their parents, because in a way they carry them inside them.
So I started talking to the directors about their childhood, about the problems they have with their parents, from where I saw more and more similarities in the attitude towards the employees and the parents of the directors towards them.
I got the answer to the question why someone does not want to move his chair and everyone in the company has to take 10 steps more. Because, for example, his parent did not allow him to ride his new bicycle to school on the first day of school.
So the way led me to Transactional Analysis (since 2006 I am a student in a Transactional Analysis training for a Graduate Transaction Analyst – psychotherapist at the Institute for Psychotherapy of Transactional Analysis under Martin Bertok), because I wanted to find out what parents actually leave
in us and how to free ourselves, how to recognize what someone is telling me and how to live without games?
"Life is a stage and we have actors on it!
A myriad of questions prompted me to research Transactional Analysis. Especially the fact that we have many games in our lives and that we can live without them. In fact we are not even aware of the games. But if we look purely from the everyday life. We start the day by waking up in the morning with the partner in whose role we are, partner, lover, husband, friend… if there are children here, we also appear in the role of parents, educators, persecutors, etc., then the profession we are in, in the role of employees, superiors, subordinates, executors, motivators, etc. … We come home, maybe we visit the shop we are in between in the role of protector, logistician, etc., and at home the morning game is repeated: hunting, please, executing, …, using various tricks, games to achieve the desired goal. And when we are completely tired, we still have to use the game of seduction (when our partner does not notice us), when we want to rest in an embrace or simply feel that we exist too.
If we do this every day, we quickly notice that we are tired. What we suddenly see for ourselves, we feel that we are no longer ourselves, that we lead a different life, that we are available for others. That there are countless different people in our lives, someone else we are tired of. And then we ask ourselves: Who are we?
Countless miles and years must pass before we realize that our life is full of play. And so we come to the same conclusion as Dr. Eric Berne, which he supported in Transactional Analysis. He has described this particularly well in the book: “What game do you play?
Alone I realized that the games were beginning to tire me and I wanted to get out of them. At the same time I wanted to see the reason why we play at all.
What I saw with myself and especially with the managers of family businesses, I realized that we learn these games from parents or educators. So their life pattern continues through us. Their way of life is “implanted” in us, which we adapt in our time and space. Dr. Eric Berne justified this as a script – a script for our life.
If we look a little different. Before we are born into this world, we do not go into some preparation room where we would learn to live, but we simply come into the world as an “indescribable piece of paper”. We bring a few things into the DNA record – mainly traits, character and the like, but we learn to speak, behave, think, react by imitation. This means that the parents give us how we will live through gestures, lifestyle, a life scenario/life plan. You could say they program us. Just as we program computers that cannot make their own decisions, but do exactly what we tell them to. If we think about it a little bit now, we realize that almost every decision we make is influenced by the excellent performance of our parents. But we have the opportunity to get rid of them!
But where are they? Where are these parents? We can see in ourselves that we have a conscious and an unconscious part of consciousness. This means that we can influence some things and others not. We are amazed at how we react; at certain moments we say, “But this is not me”. And this is where our parents hide: in an unconscious part, in a part that we cannot control. This is the place where the script of our lives is written. I am not talking about fate, but about lifestyle, about decisions, about how we should dress, etc. All these recordings happen in early childhood, until the age of six.
Before I go into the lifestyle that is written in the script, I would like to say that since my teenage years I have been haunted by the idea of what the heart and mind are. When we were unhappily in love, we used to say that our heart longed for this person and our mind distracted us from it. It was a kind of general saying, but I could not explain it to myself. I always imagined that there were two personalities in us. Well, now with the knowledge of Transactional Analysis things have become clear. There really are more people inside of us. Dr. Eric Berne described man as a being that constantly checks whether itexists. He called it a stroke, which means stroke.
An example: You walk down the street and meet a neighbor who comes in your direction, wishes you a nice day and smiles at you. You smile back and respond with the same wish. You have just exchanged “professions” with your neighbor. The line is a unit of recognition. Most of the time this exchange of professions is so close to us that we are not even aware of it anymore. Imagine a repetition of the event that happens like this. You walk down the street and meet a neighbor, you smile at him and he passes you by as if you were air.
If you are like most people, you would be very surprised at your unresponsive neighbor. You would ask yourself what is wrong? In fact, we need a stroke and feel deprived if we don’t get it (this is called attention in everyday language).
The facts are based on the findings of a very well-known study by Rene Spitz, who observed babies in an orphanage. They were well fed, clean and warm. However, they showed more physical and emotional problems than any other children raised by their mothers or other caregivers. Spitz concluded that the children lacked stimulation. All day they could only stare at the white walls of their rooms and had little physical contact with the staff at home. They lacked the touch, carding, and caress they would normally get from their parents.
Berne chose the word profession (caress), which refers to a child’s need to touch. As adults, we still crave physical contact. But we also learn to replace physical touch with other units of recognition. A smile, a compliment, a grim look, an insult – all these are signs that our existence has been recognized. Recognizable hunger is a term used by Berne to describe the need for recognition by others.
Professions can be verbal (greeting, praise, insult,…) or nonverbal (smile, gloomy look,…). Positive pods are those that the recipient perceives as positive, and negative pods are perceived as painful. From this we could conclude that people are looking for positive professions but avoiding negative ones. However, this is not true. Maybe there are even more! In reality, every profession is better than none.
This idea is also supported by an interesting study on rats (study name, performer). Two groups of rats were raised in the laboratory in identical empty boxes. One group received electroshocks a couple of times a day and the other no stimuli. To the surprise of the experimenters, the group receiving electroshocks developed better than the group without stimuli.
We, too, like rats, use both negative and positive pods to satisfy our hunger for stimuli. As children, we instinctively perceive this. We all experienced in early childhood how it is not to get a positive profession when you crave it. So we came up with different ways to get negative pods, despite their painful effect. We would rather suffer pain than be left without any profession (which is mainly reflected in families with violence).V odraslem življenju pogosto preigravamo ta vzorec iz otroštva in nadaljujemo z iskanjem negativnih strokov. To je izvor nekaterih vedenj, ki se zdijo samouničevalna.
Here we could also get the first answers as to why we are playing. Namely, our life scenario (Script) is constantly checking whether it is on the right track? Do we live as our parents taught us? If everything is according to the “plan” then everything is OK, if not, we cause a new game or in other words, we make the situation around us so that we will be Ok.
The goal of each scenario is ‘death’. Because it is the basic goal of life, it appears to us in almost every moment of life. If I write a little ironically, “Everything we do, we do to die,” which would otherwise say that the vast majority of things we do against our will, we do them to accommodate a life scenario written to please others. So I wrote earlier that we may even look for negative professions more often than positive ones.
I mentioned earlier that I found out for myself that there are several people living in us, whom I also met through Transactional Analysis.
Dr. Eric Berne also named these persons. In other words, he defined Transactional Analysis as a personality theory that shows us the psychological structure of a person. It uses a three-part model called the “ego state model”. This model also helps us to understand how people function and express their personality through behavior.
An ego state is a set of related behaviors, thoughts and feelings. It is the way we manifest a part of our personality at a particular time.
When I know, think and feel in harmony with what is happening around me in the here and now, and when I use all the resources available to me as an adult, I find myself in my “adult ego state”.
Occasionally I may know, think and feel in a way that reflects the reactions of my parents or other people who were important to me during my adolescence. Then I find myself in the “parent ego state”.
Sometimes I return to the way I behaved, thought and felt as a child. In these cases I am in the “ego state of the child”.
Each time we enter into communication, we address the interlocutor on the basis of one of the three basic states of self: as a child, as an adult or as a parent. Our interlocutor also addresses us on the basis of one of these conditions. The child and the parent have roots in our childhood, in the past. We know that the past characterizes us; Freud already said that a child is the father of man. Childhood determines our adult life in many ways. One might even say that somehow half of human beings are born, and the other half is created through education. Through education our inner psychic structures are formed. Someone who has very strict parents will probably be very strict with himself. And vice versa. A child is often characterized by inflammatory reactions similar to those in childhood; the parents, on the other hand, “return” to childhood by imitating the behavior of the parent figures.
If it can be said of parents and child within us that they are bound to the past, this does not apply to the adult. The adult does not imitate or present content from the past, but reacts independently, here and now. His behavior is in harmony with the reality of the moment. We all have all three forms of behavior, and every time we enter into any kind of communication we use one of these roles. If we look deeper, we could say that there are more roles. If we are a parent, we can be a caring parent, one who praises and caresses, an angry parent who forbids and criticizes, and so on. It’s the same with the role of the child: The first can be obedient, the second spontaneous and free, the third defiant. The concrete choice in this particular situation may depend largely on who our interlocutor is, on his or her form of communication with us. If he speaks to us sublimely, a defiant child will quickly awaken within us.
The choice of self-states is not fundamentally arbitrary, it depends on the individual’s experiences with himself and on previous personal experiences. In most cases, people behave spontaneously, especially if they are not familiar with these theories. Communication can also be very complicated: For example,
if our conversation partner reacts to an attack by a parent, the conversation can quickly end in an argument. If a conversation is continued as a child, he or she is immediately in a subordinate position. This type of communication can only be interrupted if we are aware of what is happening, which means that we are different from these roles, i.e. that we are an adult all the time.
So if we want to live without games, we need to resolve all resentments with our parents!
Transactional analysis is a method by which we can see more than others. We see the invisible and understand very well what someone is telling us. We could say that life makes us easier, because with a better understanding of ourselves and others, we do not waste time and nerves.
Of course, the article is not a promotion for transactional analysis, but is just one of the best tools I use to liberate the past. To sum it up in some way. The ego accompanies us throughout life. We actually learn to survive with it, but we have to be careful that something that is first a “solution” then does not become a cage for us. Namely, until we get rid of the shackles with our parents, we cannot get rid of the influence of the ego, and therefore parents who are initially supporters of life can represent an “effort” in a few years.
As I wrote in the title, indeed our parents write our screenplay, but that doesn’t mean we have to live it too, because we are the directors of our lives and we can change the screenplay at any time.
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