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Inspiring Thoughts from EAC

Exploring Life Scripts

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By: Steve Gainey, MA, LLP, ADS, CAADC, EAC Clinical Specialist – In 1961, Eric Berne introduced the concept of “the script” and Transactional Analysis – a type of psychotherapy.  In its simplest definition, Transactional Analysis refers to how individuals interact in social situations and “the script” refers to the thoughts people hold within themselves.

I was first introduced to Transactional Analysis while in graduate school.  After graduate school, I participated in a three-year psychotherapy training that involved a more in-depth study in Transactional Analysis.  During that time, I gained a deeper understanding of knowing one’s own scripts and working on changing the negative aspects of these scripts.

According to Berne, scripts develop during the first five years of life. I personally believe that we can learn them after five years of age, too. Most of our scripts come from our caretakers when we are children.  We are born with a personality, but through the interactions we have with others, we make early decisions from our life experiences. This happens at an unconscious, or at best, pre-conscious level, and we rarely know that we have made a decision.  That’s where therapy can be beneficial later in life and wake us up to the decisions that we made years before during our childhood.

Here is an example. Perhaps, as a child, an individual received a lot of hugging and holding and were told “I love you” on numerous occasions.  The subconscious decisions to the individual may be, “I’m safe.  I’m lovable. I’m cared for. I have worth for just being.”  Messages are received both verbally and nonverbally.

On the other hand, if an individual received lots of criticism and were told things such as, “What’s wrong with you? You did it again!” or were looked at sternly, the subconscious decisions may be, “I’m not ok.  Something is wrong with me.”

An individual may be on either side of one of these life positions/theories:

I’m OK—You’re OK

I’m OK—You’re not OK

I’m not OK—You’re OK

I’m not OK—You’re not ok

Imagine going through life with one of these theories and its effect on your personal life, work life and even your view of the world.

This is where therapy can help.  By exploring one’s life scripts, an individual can benefit from learning self-awareness, promoting personal reflection, helping to find more effective ways to communicate, and eliminating and taking responsibility for unhelpful thoughts, feelings, and/or actions.

Contact EAC to schedule a time to discuss this topic or any other life issue.  We’re here to help!

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