Cover image for I'm OK -- you're OK : a practical guide to transactional analysis
Title:
I'm OK -- you're OK : a practical guide to transactional analysis
Author:
Harris, Thomas A. (Thomas Anthony), 1910-1995.
Publication Information:
New York : Galahad Books, 1999.

©1969
Physical Description:
xix, 278 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781578660759
Format :
Book

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RC480.5 .H32 1969 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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RC480.5 .H32 1969 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

With more than 7 million copies sold, and a spot on the New York Times Bestseller list, this pioneering self-help guide transformed the lives of countless readers.

"Harris has stripped away the technical language of psychoanalysis and presents with lucid logic a way to self-understanding and change."-- The Los Angeles Times


Are you okay? That's probably the most important question anyone will ever answer, and Dr. Thomas Harris's groundbreaking bestseller helped millions respond in the affirmative. Using Transactional Analysis, which confronts the individual with the fact that he or she is responsible for what happens in the future, Dr. Harris explained how to distinguish the three active elements that make up everyone's personality (Parent, Adult, and Child), as well as the four life positions underlying people's actions. Best of all, his theories are presented in wonderfully easy-to-understand language, and there's practical advice on how to change harmful behavior. Anyone can lead a happier, more effective life and better understand friends and family.


Excerpts

Excerpts

I'm OK--You're OK Chapter One Freud, Penfield, and Berne I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes. -- Walt Whitman Throughout history one impression of human nature has been consistent: that man has a multiple nature. Most often it has been expressed as a dual nature. It has been expressed mythologically, philosophically, and religiously. Always it has been seen as a conflict: the conflict between good and evil, the lower nature and the higher nature, the inner man and the outer man. "There are times," said Somerset Maugham, "when I look over the various parts of my character with perplexity. I recognize that I am made up of several persons and that the person that at the moment has the upper hand will inevitably give place to another. But which is the real one? All of them or none?" That man can aspire to and achieve goodness is evident through all of history, however that goodness may be understood. Moses saw goodness supremely as justice, Plato essentially as wisdom, and Jesus centrally as love; yet they all agreed that virtue, however understood, was consistently undermined by something in human nature which was at war with something else. But what were these somethings? When Sigmund Freud appeared on the scene in the early twentieth century, the enigma was subjected to a new probe, the discipline of scientific inquiry. Freud's fundamental contribution was his theory that the waning factions existed in the unconscious. Tentative names were given to the combatants: the Superego became thought of as the restrictive, controlling force over the Id (instinctual drives), with the Ego as a referee operating out of "enlightened self-interest." We are deeply indebted to Freud for his painstaking and pioneering efforts to establish the theoretical foundation upon which we build today. Through the years scholars and clinicians have elaborated, systematized, and added to his theories. Yet the "persons within" have remained elusive, and it seems that the hundreds of volumes which collect dust and the annotations of psychoanalytic thinkers have not provided adequate answers to the persons they are written about. I stood in the lobby of a theater at the end of the showing of the motion picture Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and listened to a number of comments by people who had just seen the picture: "I'm exhausted!" "And I come to movies to get away from home." "Why do they want to show something like that?" "I didn't get it, I guess you have to be a psychologist." I got the impression that many of these people left the theater wondering what was really going on, sure there must have been a message, but unable to find anything relevant to them or liberating in terms of how to end "fun and games" in their own lives. We are dutifully impressed by formulations such as Freud's definition of psychoanalysis as a "dynamic conception which reduces mental life to an interplay of reciprocally urging and checking forces." Such a definition and its countless elaborations may be useful to "the professionals," but how useful are these formulations to people who hurt? George and Martha in Edward Albees play used red-hot, gutsy, four-letter words that were precise and to the point. The question is, As therapists can we speak with George and Martha as precisely and pointedly about why they act as they do and hurt as they do? Can what we say be not only true but also helpful, because we are understood? "Speak English! I can't understand a word you're saying" is not an uncommonly held attitude toward persons who claim to be experts in the psychological fields. Restating esoteric psychoanalytic ideas in even more esoteric terms does not reach people where they live. As a consequence the reflections of ordinary folk are often expressed in pitiful redundancies and in superficial conversations with such summary comments as, "Well, isn't that always the way?" with no understanding of how it can be different. In a sense, one of the estranging factors of the present day is the lag between specialization and communication, which continues to widen the gulf between specialists and nonspecialists. Space belongs to the astronauts, understanding human behavior belongs to the psychologists and psychiatrists, legislation belongs to the congressmen, and whether or not we should have a baby belongs to the theologians. This is an understandable development; yet the problems of nonunderstanding and noncommunication are so great that means must be devised whereby language can keep up with the developments of research. In the field of mathematics an answer to this dilemma was attempted in the development of the "new mathematics," now being taught in elementary schools throughout the country. The new mathematics is not so much a new form of computation as of communication of mathematical ideas, answering questions not only of what, but also of why, so that the excitement of going to the moon or using a computer will not remain exclusively in the realm of scientists but can also exist in comprehensible form for the student. The science of mathematics is not new, but the way it is talked about is new. We would find ourselves handicapped if we were still to use the Babylonian, Mayan, Egyptian, or Roman number systems. The desire to use mathematics creatively brought about new ways of systematizing numbering concepts. The new mathematics of today has continued this creative growth. We recognize and appreciate the creative thinking which the earlier systems represented, but we do not encumber today's work with those now less-effective methods. This is my position with regard to Transactional Analysis. I respect the devoted effort of the psychoanalytic theorists of the past. What I hope to demonstrate in this book is a new way to state old ideas and a clear way to present new ones, not as an inimical or deprecating assault on the work of the past, but rather as a means of meeting the undeniable evidence that the old methods do not seem to be working very well. I'm OK--You're OK . Copyright © by Thomas Harris. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from I'm Ok You're Ok by Thomas A. Harris, Thomas Harris All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.