This email continues the articles on Transactional Analysis (TA), which is a model of people and relationships that was developed during the 1960s by Dr. Eric Berne.Parent, Adult and ChildAs well as having external conversations with our clients, we also have internal conversations between ourselves as parents, children and also adults, and then we play at these roles in our external relationships.
In the previous emails I touched on the different types of roles we play when in the PAC states. The communications we have in these states are known as transactions.Communications (transactions)When two people communicate, each exchange is a transaction. Often our problems come from the transactions which are unsuccessful.
The parent child role is often triggered by the natural conversations we have and our personality gets triggered by the personality of the other person who evokes our responses. When we are dealing with young people it may be difficult for them to achieve an adult state [especially as driving instructors are usually a lot older] and contact with adults will often be parent to child. We trigger their subconscious responses by our own behaviour especially if we have adopted an instructor led approach.These relationships and the communications within them play many games between the positions, and there are rituals from greetings to whole conversations (such as the weather) where we take different positions for different events. These are often 'pre-recorded' as scripts we just play out. You may notice these happening at the start of lessons. They give us a sense of control and identity and reassure us that all is still well in the world. We also have to be careful because other games can be negative and destructive and we play them more out of a sense of habit and addiction than constructive pleasure.
ConflictAs driving instructors we are trying to avoid conflict both in the car and on the road and it is easier if the transactions are:
Complementary. They occur when both people are at the same level (Parent talking to Parent, etc.). Here, both are often thinking in the same way and communication is easier. Problems usually occur in Crossed transactions, where each is talking to a different level.
The parent is either nurturing or controlling, and often speaks to the child, who is either adaptive or ‘natural’ in their response. When both people talk as a Parent to the other’s Child, their wires get crossed and conflict results.
The ideal line of communication is the mature and rational Adult-Adult relationship.
Consequences and resolutionIf we are a Controlling Parent this will invite the other person into a Child state where they may conform with your demands. There is also a risk that they will be an Adaptive 'naughty child' and rebel. They may also take opposing Parent or Adult states.
Being a Nurturing Parent or talking at the same level as the other person acts to create trust.
Watch out for crossed wires. This is where conflict arises. When it happens, first go to the state that the other person is in to talk at the same level.
For rational conversation, move yourself and the other person to the Adult level.
Our focus as driving instructors is always to work towards creating a thinking driver who is in control of their emotions on the road. We can only do this if we ourselves are neutral and hold an unconditional positive regard for the other person. This at times can be challenging but coaching helps you diffuse any potential conflict and create great rapport that builds an equal relationship.
If you want to know how Tri-Coaching Partnership can help you then please contact us and look out for a course near you.
ReferencesEric Berne, (1964), Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships, Balantine Books
Thomas Harris (1996), I'm OK-You're OK, Avon books
Muriel James and Dorothy Jongeward (1971), Born to Win: Transactional Analysis with Gestalt Experiments, Da Capo Press Inc