Energy Exchange & Transactional Analysis

Is it possible to affect other peoples’ energy levels? The answer is yes; we are always interacting with our environment and exchanging energy with our surroundings and the people nearby.

According to the book The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield and Carol Adrienne, 1995) there are four general methods by which most people affect the energy of others and gain energy for themselves:

  1. Aloofness – aloof people gain energy when they avoid engaging in discussion, argument or conflict. On the positive side, they can be very good listeners.
  2. Intimidation – intimidators try to gain power over other people through the things they say, which presents itself positively as leadership traits.
  3. Interrogation – people who do this ask a lot of questions when interacting with others (can keep others on the defensive), and can make very good investigators.
  4. Poor-me – people who tend to engage in poor-me behaviour can be excellent communicators.

Most people display a mixture of the above traits, with one or two becoming dominant depending on the situation. In cases where two people share the same dominant trait, you’ll find more conflict and argument. If you can be aware of these traits in yourself and other people, you can learn to manage your own behaviour and help yourself cope when dealing with others who use a similar or disparate style.

Eric Berne, known for his bestselling work in the field of transactional analysis Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships, describes four parts to the ego: the child, adult, parent and critical parent. The Adult deals with the realm of ideas, and the Child with feelings and the physical. The Parent is the source of unconditional love, and the Critical Parent forms the part of your ego that deals with critical thinking skills and the technical details daily functioning. If you can watch yourself slipping in between the ego stages in Berne’s model, you can get a sense of your own behaviour patterns and acknowledge or alter them, if necessary.

From the Wikipedia article on Transactional Analysis:

According to the International Transactional Analysis Association,[1] TA ‘is a theory of personality and a systematic psychotherapy for personal growth and personal change’.

  1. As a theory of personality, TA describes how people are structured psychologically. It uses what is perhaps its best known model, the ego-state (Parent-Adult-Child) model, to do this. The same model helps explain how people function and express their personality in their behavior[1]
  2. It is a theory of communication that can be extended to the analysis of systems and organisations.[1]
  3. It offers a theory for child development by explaining how our adult patterns of life originated in childhood.[1] This explanation is based on the idea of a “Life (or Childhood) Script”: the assumption that we continue to re-play childhood strategies, even when this results in pain or defeat. Thus it claims to offer a theory of psychopathology.[1]
  4. In practical application, it can be used in the diagnosis and treatment of many types of psychological disorders and provides a method of therapy for individuals, couples, families and groups.
  5. Outside the therapeutic field, it has been used in education to help teachers remain in clear communication at an appropriate level, in counselling and consultancy, in management and communications training and by other bodies.[1]

Philosophy

  • People are OK; thus each person has validity, importance, equality of respect.[2]
  • Everyone (with only few exceptions, such as the severely brain-damaged) has the capacity to think.[2]
  • People decide their story and destiny, therefore these decisions can be changed.[2]

Freedom from historical maladaptations embedded in the childhood script is required in order to become free of inappropriate, inauthentic and displaced emotions which are not a fair and honest reflection of here-and-now life (such as echoes of childhood suffering, pity-me and other mind games, compulsive behavior and repetitive dysfunctional life patterns). The aim of change under TA is to move toward autonomy (freedom from childhood script), spontaneity, intimacy, problem solving as opposed to avoidance or passivity, cure as an ideal rather than merely making progress and learning new choices.

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