Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Mary Goulding

Mary Goulding has died at age 83 after a rich life intimately related to transactional analysis.

Words cannot express my admiration for this woman. I was last with her on a sunny, cold Agust day on the Berkeley marina where she, my wife Jude and I, met for lunch.

The day before she died (12/7) she wrote a letter in which she anticipated her death. I include the text of that extraordinary letter and a picture as she was on August 2008.
I also include a statement by Jude who had just recently met her and who is, for now, better able to express how much she meant, than I.
Additional comments from Marylin Marx
Feel free to comment or add your own narratives. I will administer this blog as long as it continues as a meeting place for Mary's fans. Or you can e-mail me a statement to csteiner@igc.org and I'll post it. If you want to post on the blog click on comments at the very bottom of this post. It's very easy!
From Mary: (This letter was forwarded from Mary by Carol Salomon who says: "She wrote it on
Friday the 6th of December and worked very hard on it during the day.")
It was the darndest thing!
On Saturday, November 30th, I was to go to the thoroughbred races with step-daughter Kathleen Callahan, but woke up very tired. I stayed home on Saturday and Sunday. On Monday I had a new sensation, difficulty breathing, so I dressed in my flashy pink jeans and my lavender sweatshirt from my daughter Claudia and called my favorite cab driver, “Maybe I should go to Alta Bates”. He asked why and I told him I was having trouble breathing. He said “Unlock your front door. I’m calling you an ambulance.” I’d been admitted one other time for the birth of my son, David, sixty years ago.
It turned out I had congestive heart failure, a heart attack on Saturday and one on Monday. Seems diabetic Women are prone to silent heart attacks. I have pneumonia in both lungs and pulmonary edema, which is getting worse. Long explanation of why I am dying.
I feel strangely calm as I drift in spite of medicine and a constantly needed oxygen mask. I know the pain of saying good-bye to the living. As an atheist moving into nothingness, there is no pain. No matter when I died there would be places left to visit and beauty still to enjoy. I cannot imagine a better life than I have had – so much of it stimulated by ITAA.
Many thanks and much much love to all of you,
From Jude:
Mary became a special person for me rather instantaneously, in one particular moment. I was sitting at lunch with her and Claude in Skates restaurant. I had met her years before but it was a tumultuous time and there were many people present; for me it felt like we were meeting for the first time. When the subject of writing came up, I was ready with a little something I brought along, an LA arts magazine with a poem of mine. She read the poem and looked up at me and said, "You really are a writer".

I told her that the editors failed to italicize certain words. She looked again at the poem, then said, "You're right, it would be better with the italics". "Wow," I thought, she gets the poem and she can edit it in her mind and see that it would be better. In that moment and the short exchange that followed, I felt recognized and validated. And she did it with charm, generosity, and that engaged mind, which was surprising in a 94* year old, and hard to find among people of any age.

There was more laughter that afternoon than I would usually expect from such a get together. I learned that she was a sort of a Marxist, a veteran of TA psychotherapy practice and theory, and that despite being 94* and having great difficulty walking, she had a lover in Cuba whom she went to see regularly. She was radically left-wing, but didn't seem like an embattled old leftist, like some left-wingers I know. And she was a truly positive person; despite political convictions based in the awareness of injustice and suffering, despite having lost her beloved husband and being so limited in her movements (probably with no small amount of pain), despite her diabetes, she gave the impression of being totally interested in the world. She was an avid reader and encouraged me to send her one of my stories and gave back a detailed reaction.

We had lunch again about six months later (in Augut 08). I would learn that Mary's lover was black and 7 or 8 years younger than herself. She went to see him and other Cuban friends four times a year! She would say zany, uninhibited things. When Claude mentioned that she was an older woman dating a younger man, she simply said, "Well, it's just as well that he's younger I suppose, otherwise we wouldn't be able to have sex." (!) I noticed that at times I would look across at Mary and find her smiling at me. I wasn't sure what to make of it, but knew it was a sign of an unusually open heart and a very embodied, uninhibited form of self-expression.

I was delighted to suddenly have a 94*-year-old friend who was an unapologetic Marxist, journeyed regularly to Cuba, and had an active sex life with a younger man, which she spoke of unabashedly. Mary didn't just think outside the box, she seemed oblivious to the box. She didn't acknowledge that the box existed.

Later we exchanged messages. I sent her the short story I'd promised, a brief love story set in colonial China. She wondered what my writing style would be like with a US subject. I was planning to send her a somewhat similar story about an contemporary American couple. There was talk of another lunch but busy schedules interfered with setting a date. It did occur to me: Mary may not be alive much longer. I want to enjoy as many more of those lunches together as possible.

But then came the news: she's not here any more. Her loved ones don't have her, she no longer has the life full of vital activity (she had said on returning home to Berkeley that she was already missing Cuba, missing her partner there), she doesn't have that active, very unconventional life, and everything she was to me: a new friend, someone who made me feel validated, and a great person to have lunch with—all that has been snatched away.

I'll be lucky if some of her qualities rubbed off on me.
Jude Steiner-Hall
* Claude and I thought that she was 94; he informs me that she was actually 83.
From Marilyn Marx:
Mary was one of the true giants of contemporary psychotherapy and especially of ITAA, and I think all agreed, a most remarkable character. As a long-standing friend of almost 40 years, she was the best!
From Steven Karpman
Dear Mary:
I am sending this to your email address in hopes your family will see it. Maybe others can write you directly and personally too. I know you don't believe in the afterlife, but just in case, I want to say I'll miss you, we'll all miss you.
We go so far back, 44 years, when we worked together at Highland Hospital in the early 60's playing Aint it Awful about the Chief there. I want to thank you for inviting me down to Mt. Madonna to teach so many times. You've changed so many lives there. What a wonderful dream come true.
In creating your own amazing adventure script, you've set an example for anyone wanting to escape a Don't Be You injunction and your newly added 13th injunction, Don't Want. And you've proved that someone doesn't have to choose between a Don't Think and a Don't Feel, but they can both Feel and Think in a grand way as you have.
You've done it your way. A truly fulfilled life led to the fullest. As close to a script-free life as I'll ever see. I miss our back channel sharing and support over the years and taking certain advice and offers. You don't believe in this either, but if you redecide, I hope you and Bob reunite in heaven and find a new Mt. Madonna. Good luck with the new spirit adventures.
With love always
Steve Karpman

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Quo Vadis TA?

I am a transactional analysts and in the privileged position of having been present during the various phases of the development of our discipline from the time in 1956 when every Tuesday, Eric Berne met with a few professionals in his San Francisco Chinatown apartment, to discuss his work. I have witnessed our development from that small meeting to a global movement.

In the beginning, Berne’s meetings consisted largely of discussions of selected chapters of his book in progress, Transactional Analysis and Psychotherapy. Over the next five years we saw the publication of that book and he began to work on Games People Play.

In 1961 I moved thousands of miles away into the middle of the US. When I returned to San Francisco with my doctorate five years later, I found the Seminars completely transformed. Games People Play had been published in 1964 and became a huge best selling success. The weekly seminars now filled his living room with dozens of visitors from all over the US and the world. The subjects for seminar discussion were now mostly presented by members other that Berne and a number of innovations were added to Berne’s thinking; the drama triangle, the script matrix, the minisript, symbiosis and reparenting among others.

The success of Games People Play was followed by the even larger success of Tom and Amy Harris’s I’m OK you’re OK so much so that, as an example, during one of President Richard Nixon’s televised speeches to the nation the book was clearly visible in a bookshelf in the background. Berne was not happy about being trumped by Harris; for one thing, Harris had changed one of his fundamental ideas--that people are born into the universal OK/OK existential position--by arguing that babies were born Not OK and only later changed, if they were lucky, into the OK/OK position. In addition Harris was going from city to city staging large, widely advertised meetings in which a popularized version of the transactional analysis 101 course was being taught to masses of people for large profits.

Several aspects of this development were important. That people were born OK princes and princesses was essential to transactional analysis script theory and this was the first substantial theoretical deviation from Berne’s basic views. This was also the beginning of transactional analysis’s vulgarization, leading to its wholesale discount by professionals. Harris’s contrary view on existential positions never took hold. However, the notion that OK/OK was a fundamental aspect of transactional analysis, something we did not fully perceive at the time, was to become an important concept of the transactional analysis movement.

In 1967 Eric decided to found the ITAA. He was determined that we should have an international organization, comparable with psychoanalysis, with institutes in every country and three levels of membership: regular members, clinical members who practiced transactional analysis and teaching members who taught and supervised transactional analysis trainees. By the way I became a full, fledged TM and never had to take an exam.

Then, unexpectedly Eric died weeks after his sixtieth birthday, in 1971, leaving no provisions for us and we were on our own; rudderless and without guidance.

At first we closed ranks but soon people began to pull in different directions. I became increasingly dissatisfied. I was very politically active and Berne had been strictly apolitical. It turns out that he had been frightened into political submission by US government persecution in the early 1950’s. The ITAA adopted Eric’s apolitical, overly Adult and occasionally subtly cynical stance. At the same time members around the country began to found institutes, some of which exploited transactional analysis, and which I found abhorrent. I withdrew from the organization’s elite, devoting myself to political anti-war and anti- psychiatry activities in Berkeley.

I remained in this self-exile for about 15 years. During that time the ITAA grew to ten thousand members. Different people developed innovative branches of transactional analysis. I was working on Radical Psychiatry, Emotional Literacy Training and Stroke-Centered theory, Jack Dusay developed the Egogram, the Gouldings elaborated Redecision Therapy, Jacquie Shiff developed Reparenting, Erskine and Trautman developed Integrative Psychotherapy, Taibi Kaehler was developing Miniscript theory. Transactional analysis, which had been an exclusively clinical practice, branched out into pastoral and other counseling, education and corporate consultation. An elaborate system of training and examinations was developed. A small core of devoted social action activists (Denton Roberts, Pearl Drego Carla Haimowitz, Nancy Porter, Felipe Garcia, Alan Jacobs and others) brought about a number of changes aimed at correcting ITAA’s political stance. Officers were elected by the membership, a Social Action Committee was founded and Institutes were no longer sponsored by the ITAA. The ITAA took a position about violence that eventually lead to the exclusion of Jacquie Shiff from the organization.

Finally I did return to ITAA spurred by a developing controversy regarding integrative psychotherapy’s position regarding ego states. I studied the literature and concluded that this view, like Harris’s and unlike other major views being developed, contradicted a fundamental position of Berne’s; in this case that there were three distinct and separately important ego states in the healthy person.

I began to do examinations and quickly developed the feeling that trainees were not being taught transactional analysis, as I knew it. I became interested in what was being taught compared to what I thought should be taught. I realized that trainees came prepared to explain a laundry list of transactional analysis terms, one by one. They were able to do so well enough but had no understanding of the dynamics of the theory and how all these concepts related to each other. In other words, trainees were able to define egos states, transactions, games, strokes and scripts but did not understand the intimate connection between these concepts, did not think in transactional analysis theory terms and were not able to answer follow up questions of any complexity.

Alarmed by these findings and with the encouragement of ITAA president George Kohlrieser and ex President Gloria Noriega, I assembled a six member committee and began to work on the compilation of a set of core concepts which was to represent what, about transactional analysis, was in the hearts and minds of ITAA members at the turn of the century.

To my surprise I found a great deal of opposition. Several serious attempts were made to persuade the Board to withdraw support from the project. It seemed that some members, mostly Europeans, were concerned that I was outlining a dogma in preparation for a fundamentalist crusade to excommunicate infidels within transactional analysis. We persevered and settled on 45 core concepts, knit them together in a theoretical narrative and eventually completed the project now available in five languages on the ITAA web site: www.itaa-net.org

Meanwhile in my travels around the world I had the opportunity to interview hundreds of bright eyed transactional analysis enthusiasts, young and old, about what so attracted them to transactional analysis. For them, transactional analysis’s appeal was first and foremost its near miraculous capacity to help them understand themselves and others and how it facilitated beneficial changes. In addition it allowed them to feel OK about themselves and others and it treated people as lovable, valuable and equal. When pressed further they mentioned ego states, strokes, games, scripts, redecision and the Karpman triangle as the main concepts that they found helpful.

At this point at least four different views of transactional analysis can be said to exist:

Eric Berne’s original view. This by now historical, “classic” view contains elements that most transactional analysis adherents have left behind.
Post-Bernian views adhering to Berne’s basic postulates, as later embodied in the 1999 core concepts, notably Dusay, Gouldings, Kaehler, Karpman, Shiff, Steiner.
Post-Bernian views deviating from Berne’s basic postulates, notably integrative transactional analysis and relational transactional analysis (Erskine and Trautman, and Novellino, Hargaden and Sills)
The broad view that unites people in the global transactional analysis movement which has as a central concept Okness and includes one or more other concepts; usually strokes, games, scripts, Karpman’s triangle, redecision and contracts.

At the same time, quite disturbingly, we are finding that transactional analysis is being ignored by the academic and professional worlds while transactional analysis concepts permeate both of those cultures with no recognition of their source. As a response to this, in my role as Research and Innovation Vice President of the ITAA, I undertook to research how many of our core concepts might have substantial research support in the behavioral sciences. There had been some research within transactional analysis but I was interested in legitimizing our work in the face of professional skepticism and I found no research sufficiently rigorous or replicated within transactional analysis capable of convincing professionals outside of our discipline.

I found four areas, in which independent, rigorous research has corroborated our views:

1. Strokes; essential to healthy development.

Berne postulated that recognition is a basic, biological need. He called the unit of interpersonal recognition a stroke. The concept that we, in Transactional Analysis, refer to as strokes has been written about and studied as “contact,” “attachment,” “intimacy,” “warmth,” “tender loving care,” “need to belong,” “closeness,” “relationships,” “social support” and yes, “love.”

Buameister and Leary (1995), in an excellent and exhaustive review of the literature, conclude that "existing evidence supports the hypothesis that the need to belong is a powerful, fundamental, and extremely pervasive motivation." That nurturing physical strokes are needed to maintain physical and psychological health has been investigated and confirmed in innumerable research studies. The attachment studies by Bowlby and Ainsworth (1991) also support the view that secure reliable contact with a caretaker is essential for positive development.

2. The OK existential position.

Some people see life as a bascally positive experience and themselves as basically acceptable. Berne called the positive experience of self, “being OK.” This concept is represented in the wider behavioral sciences culture by the concepts of "positive psychology", “human potential,” “resiliency,” “excellence,” “optimism,” “flow,” “subjective well being,” “positive self-concept,” and is related to the concepts of “spontaneous healing,” “nature's helping hand,” “vis medicatrix naturae,” “the healing power of the mind.”

It has been shown through hundreds of studies that human beings strongly tend to be selectively positive in their language, thought, and memory and that people who are psychologically healthy show a higher level of positive bias. The research also indicates that people with a OK/OK attitude are likely to be healthier and live longer. Tiger (1979) postulates that optimism has driven human evolution and is an innate adaptive characteristic of the species and a part of evolutionarily developed survival mechanisms, a view that coincides with Berne's.

3. The Importance of Life Scripts.

Berne postulated that people make decisions in childhood, which shape the rest of their life’s “script.” The concepts that we in Transactional Analysis refer to as “life scripts,” “script decisions” and “redecisions” are represented in the wider psychological culture by a widely explored set of concepts; “narratives,” “maladaptive schemas,” “self-narratives,” “story schemas,” “story grammars,” “personal myths,” “personal event memories,” “self-defining memories,” “nuclear scenes,” “gendered narratives,” “narrative coherence,” “narrative complexity,” “core self-beliefs” and “self-concept,” which highlight the importance of life stories, myths, plots and characters.

A thorough review of the literature on the psychology of "life stories" by McAdams (2001) contains circa 200 references the majority of which were written well after Berne's introduction of the concept in 1995. Young (1999) writes about schema, which he defines as deep cognitive structures that enable an individual to interpret his or her experiences in a meaningful way. Because schema are formed in response to life experiences over a lifetime, Young argues, they can be restructured. The notion that such “life scripts” can be redecided plays an important part in the American Psychological Association Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Manual (2001) for depression. “Schema Change Methods” are outlined as strategies designed to "restructure maladaptive core beliefs." None of these writings reference transactional analysis or Redecision Therapy both of which predate them by more than twenty years.

4. The Transactional Theory of Change.

From the beginning of its inception by Eric Berne Transactional Analysis was designed as a contractual, cognitive (“Adult” centered), behavioral (transactional) group therapy. The premise was that if people became aware of their transactional behavior, in particular their games and the underlying script, they would be able to modify their lives in a positive direction. A very important therapeutic function of transactional analysts was to provide “permission” for changing behavior and “protection” to sustain the change in the face of social and internal pressures to return to the status quo ante. The “permission transaction” is allied to the concepts of “guidance,” “co-construction” “problem solving,” “treatment strategies” and “interventions.” The “protection transaction” is allied to the concepts of “support,” “empathy” and “secure base.”

Therapeutic contracts, first seriously proposed by Berne in 1956, and suicide contracts first proposed by this author in 1967, are now an accepted part of modern psychotherapy especially cognitive behavioral therapy. (Heinssen, 1995. Levendusky, 1983, 1994)

To the extent that cognitive-behavioral methods have been shown to be an effective method of psychotherapy, transactional analysis can easily argue that we partake of that effectiveness. Ted Novey's excellent and rigorous research (2002) showing the effectiveness of transactional analysts compared to other disciplines, as evaluated by their clients is a powerful, corroborating study which received the Eric Berne Memorial Award at this conference.

In conclusion, let me answer the question: “Quo Vadis, TA? Where is transactional analysis going?” Berne would be proud to see the vigorous international growth of transactional analysis. There is no doubt that we have a vigorous and cutting edge theory and practice which is attractive and developing adherents in large numbers all over the world. The ITAA continues to be an essential aspect of this growth.

True, the ITAA is facing serious challenges; as regional organizations proliferate membership in the ITAA is dwindling to a tenth of its climactic numbers and our funds are diminishing at an alarming rate. But the ITAA has an important function as a global organization: to nurture and guide the continuing growth of transactional analysis. ITAA is an important part of the movement in that it offers information, the Script, the TAJ, training, examinations and conferences like this one in which people from all over the world can meet transactional analysts and learn transactional analysis.

I believe we are and will continue to be a world wide movement; a movement with an elegant theory about human interaction and a useful and effective method for bringing about beneficial change. We are also a global organizations which seeks to support equality, cooperation, non-violence, democracy—true, incremental democracy-- and yes, dare I say it, we are a movement that seeks to support Love as a positive force among people.


Dusay, J. Egograms and the Constancy Hypothesis. Transactional Analysis Journal V2 #3, 1972

Heinssen, R. K. P G. Levendusky, R H. Hunter. Client as Colleague: Therapeutic Contracting With the Seriously Mentally Ill. American Psychologist Vol 50, No 7 522-532 July 1995

Karpman, S. “Fairy Tales and Script Drama Analysis.” transactional analysis Bulletin V7 #26 April 1968

Goulding R., Goulding M. Changing Lives Through Redecision Therapy. New York; Grove-Atlantic, 1997

Lynch J. The broken heart; the medical consequences of loneliness. New York; Basic Books, 1988

Levendusky, P. G., Willis, B. S. & Ghinassi, F. A. The therapeutic contracting program: A comprehensive continuum of care model. Psychiatric Quarterly, 65, 189-208. 1994

McAdams, D. P., Reynolds, J., Lewis, M. L., Patten, A. Bowman, P. T. When bad things turn good and good things turn bad: Sequences of redemption and contamination in life narrative, and their relation to psychosocial adaptation in midlife adults and in students. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 472-483. 2001.

Novey, T. Measuring then Effectiveness of Transactional Analysis; An International Study. Transactional Analysis Journal V32, #1 Jan 2002

Ornish, D Love and Survival. HarperCollins, New York. 1988

Persons, J. B., Joan Davidson and Michael A. Tompkins. “Essential Components of Cognitive-Behavior Therapy for Depression” in American Psychological Association Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Manual Washington DC American Psychological Association, 2001.

Steiner, C. Scripts People Live. Grove Press. New York 1971

Tiger, L. Optimism; The Biology of Hope. New York. Simon and Schuster 1979

Young, J. E. Cognitive therapy for personality disorders: A schema-focused approach. Sarasota, FL: Professional Resource Exchange. 1999

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Analyzing Transactions

First and foremost, Eric Berne created transactional analysis as a radical departure of psychoanalysis. In the process he laid down some innovative principles which decisively departed from psychoanalytic theory and practice

Analyzing Transactions, the subject of this blog is the brainchild of Eric Berne a rogue psychiatrist and failed psychoanalyst who in the early fifties developed a theory and practice of psychotherapy which he called transactional analysis (TA) I joined Berne in 1956 and became first his disciple, then colleague and eventually his friend.

I am a psychologist which means that I am interested in mental processes and behavior; a clinical psychologist which means that I am a psychotherapists devoted to solving emotional problems; a transactional analyst which means that I focus my attention and analyze interpersonal transactions and a radical therapist which means that I look at people’s troubles with attention to political and personal abuse. Above all I consider myself a soul healer a psychiatrist in the original sense of the word. More about all this later.

Berne died in 1970 at age 60. TA got a boost from the best selling book Games People Play which in its 101 weeks on the NY Times best seller list elevated TA into national and international attention. And from there into a movement which at this point has about ten thousand adherents world wide.

Berne was a prolific writer and as he developed his theory and practice he changed as well. That is to say that when he began the process of breaking away from the psychoanalytic views that had invaded his thinking and the fields psychology and psychotherapy in the first half of the century, he had to shed all the language and concepts that belonged to psychoanalysis. An apple doesn’t’ t fall far from the tree, however, and to the end of his life Berne held some remnants of psychoanalytic thinking. Thus he preserved some of the psychoanalytic language in his initial writings but in the brief fifteen years in which he developed TA he gradually shed the largest majority of it.

But he meant to make a clean break and his did in a number of fundamental ways.

* Unlike psychoanalysis He believed that rather than psychoanalyze (Investigate the inner psyche) it was more useful to the client to transactional analyze (Investigate social interactions) which would shed equal if not greater light on the reasons for the clients difficulties and with less effort.

* Unlike psychoanalysis he believed that by changing their transactions people could go through profound and beneficial psychic changes.

* Unlike psychoanalysis he believed that treatment should be based on a treatment contract that placed responsibilities on both the client and the therapist.

* Unlike psychoanalysis he believed that effective treatment could occur in groups.

* Unlike psychoanalysis he believed that the language used between client and therapist should be the same as the language used between therapists and that it should be clear using nouns rather than adjectives, short sentences in a crisp style.

But Berne was not just in opposition to psychoanalysis. He was a visionary theorist and his biggest contribution in addition to making clean break from psychoanalysis was a brand new theory and practice which was based on analyzing transactions.

I don’t pretend to represent Berne’s thinking faithfully but I do aim to hold to the fundamental contributions that he made so what I write from here on is my view and elaboration of the core concepts that Berne put forth.

I am hoping that my postings and the postings of those who read them will make a contribution to the best possible application of TA. If you like (or dislike ) what you read here click on the word "comments" directly below. That will lead you to a page where you can make and publish your own responses to and on this blog.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Analyzing Transactions in the XXI st Century

After fifty years as a transactional analyst, and as I endeavour to make sense of the changes upon us in this new millenium, I have come to believe that Transactional Analysis, the creation of Eric Berne M.D. (1910-1970) has a unique contribution to offer; the thoughtful, systematic, compassionate analysis of transactions between people.

Berne ended his hugely successful 1964 book Games People Play with the words "This may mean that there is no hope for the human race, but there is hope for individual members of it." As a faithful disciple, follower and eventually developer of his views I answered that statement with one of my own when I ended my 1974 book Scripts People Live, with: "without hope for the whole human race there can be no hope for individual members of it."

I believe that transactional analysis (TA for short) can be an instrument of hope for individual members as well as all of humanity.

Today TA is a world-wide movement not just of psychotherapists but of counselors, educators and organizational consultants who have a philosophy in common: That people are OK, that they have a tendency to health, and that they can learn and change in an autonomous and self directed manner. Berne claimed that everyone is born a princess or a prince and that while some are turned into frogs, the initial universal existential position of the human being is “I am OK you are OK.” He suggested that a person who deviates from an OK/OK to a not-OK script position can re-decide and become princes and princesses again. He insisted that we speak and write crisply and let go of the “jazz” that characterized the psychotherapy of the times. He said that “anything your patient can’t understand is not worth saying” thereby asserting the need to respect the individual’s capacity to understand anything that makes sense, and to stop talking over people’s heads.

Another crucial contribution he made had to do with strokes. “If you don’t get strokes your spinal cord will shrivel up” he said and that concpet binds people in the TA movement together; they are a strokey, positive bunch, aspiring to learn, to be of service, to be OK/OK. As a global movement TA has the capacity to promote these principles, worldwide. The only other such global, albeit much larger, human potential organization is the twelve step movement, which shares many of our views.

In the past few years I have been scanning the literature for research in the behavioral sciences that supports our ideas. The significance of the OK/OK attitude and the importance of strokes are being validated by extensive studies in positive psychology and well proven findings about the importance of contact, support, connection, and attachment in human mental and physical health.

What I see emerging is a world-wide movement not just of psychotherapists but of counselors, educators and organizational consultants who have a philosophy in common: That people are OK, that they have a tendency to health, and that they can learn and change in an autonomous and self directed manner.

Why this blog?

This brazenly secular and humanist view is no doubt in direct opposition to the powerful Right wing evangelical wave that is sweeping the US. We believe in the OKness of every human being, whatever religion, race, gender, sexual preference. We believe that all deserve autonomy, love and equal treatment. We believe as Berne taught us, that spontaneity, awareness and intimacy should be taught and made available to all.

While I see TA growing and spreading world wide I am concerned that we don't lose the essence of Berne's powerful contribuition namely that we are analysts of transactions, that is analysts of the real and observable, the objective and scientifically verifiable. Unlike those who prefer to analyze the psyche we believe that the answer to human tribulation is the understanding of how people interact with each other, how they exchange strokes how they feel when they do so and most importantly how people's transactions can be modified and improved for the benefit of the individual and the social group.

I am hoping that my postings and the postings of those who read them will make a contribution to that end.

If you like (or dislike ) what you read here click on the word "comments" directly below. That will lead you to a page where you can make and publish your own responses to and on this blog.