Transactio​nal Analysis (TA), FIRO and Strokes – 09/05/2011

For Your Entertainment (FYE)


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

“Awareness, Spontaneity, Intimacy, Inclusion, Control, Affection”

“Awareness of self and others emotional and consciousness state”
“Spontaneity in communication to avoid games and scripts”
“Intimacy to be oneself, to be able to reach and be reached authentically”
‘Inclusion to be able to be included and to include other people in group activities”
“Control to reach a positive outcome in group interactions”
“Affection/openness to receive and to give and share friendship”

“Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO) is a theory of interpersonal relations, introduced by William Schutz in 1958. This theory mainly explains the interpersonal underworld of a small group. The theory is based on the belief that when people get together in a group, there are three main interpersonal needs they are looking to obtain – affection/openness, control and inclusion. Schutz developed a measuring instrument that contains six scales of nine-item questions that he called FIRO-B. This technique was created to measure or control how group members feel when it comes to inclusion, control, and affection/openness or to be able to get feedback from people in a group.”

“Statistical correlation has been observed between FIRO-B and MBTI.”

“At any given time, a person experiences and manifests their personality through a mixture of behaviours, thoughts and feelings. Typically, according to TA, there are three ego-states that people consistently use:
Parent (“exteropsyche”): a state in which people behave, feel, and think in response to an unconscious mimicking of how their parents (or other parental figures) acted, or how they interpreted their parent’s actions. For example, a person may shout at someone out of frustration because they learned from an influential figure in childhood the lesson that this seemed to be a way of relating that worked.
Adult (“neopsyche”): a state of the ego which is most like a computer processing information and making predictions absent of major emotions that could affect its operation. Learning to strengthen the Adult is a goal of TA. While a person is in the Adult ego state, he/she is directed towards an objective appraisal of reality.
Child (“archaeopsyche”): a state in which people behave, feel and think similarly to how they did in childhood. For example, a person who receives a poor evaluation at work may respond by looking at the floor, and crying or pouting, as they used to when scolded as a child. Conversely, a person who receives a good evaluation may respond with a broad smile and a joyful gesture of thanks. The Child is the source of emotions, creation, recreation, spontaneity and intimacy. ”
“Transactions are the flow of communication, and more specifically the unspoken psychological flow of communication that runs in parallel. Transactions occur simultaneously at both explicit and psychological levels. Example: sweet caring voice with sarcastic intent. To read the real communication requires both surface and non-verbal reading.
Strokes are the recognition, attention or responsiveness that one person gives another. Strokes can be positive (nicknamed “warm fuzzies”[7]) or negative (“cold pricklies”). A key idea is that people hunger for recognition, and that lacking positive strokes, will seek whatever kind they can, even if it is recognition of a negative kind. We test out as children what strategies and behaviours seem to get us strokes, of whatever kind we can get.
People often create pressure in (or experience pressure from) others to communicate in a way that matches their style, so that a boss who talks to his staff as a controlling parent will often engender self-abasement or other childlike responses. Those employees who resist may get removed or labeled as “trouble”.
Transactions can be experienced as positive or negative depending on the nature of the strokes within them. However, a negative transaction is preferred to no transaction at all, because of a fundamental hunger for strokes.
The nature of transactions is important to understanding communication.”

“TA identifies twelve key injunctions which people commonly build into their scripts. These are injunctions in the sense of being powerful “I can’t/mustn’t …” messages that embed into a child’s belief and life-script:

Don’t be (don’t exist)
Don’t be who you are (Don’t Be You)
Don’t be a child
Don’t grow up
Don’t make it in your life (Don’t Succeed)
Don’t do anything!
Don’t be important
Don’t belong
Don’t be close
Don’t be well (don’t be sane!)
Don’t think
Don’t feel.
“Against these, a child is often told other things he or she must do. There is debate as to whether there are five or six of these ‘drivers’:
Please me/others!
Be perfect!
Be Strong!
Try Hard!
Hurry Up!
Be Careful! (is in dispute)
Thus in creating his script, a child will often attempt to juggle these, example: “It’s okay for me to go on living (ignore don’t exist) so long as I try hard”.
This explains why some change is inordinately difficult. To continue the above example: When a person stops trying hard and relaxes to be with his family, the injunction You don’t have the right to exist which was being suppressed by their script now becomes exposed and a vivid threat. Such an individual may feel a massive psychological pressure which he himself doesn’t understand, to return to trying hard, in order to feel safe and justified (in a childlike way) in existing.”

“There are six ways of structuring time by giving and receiving strokes:
This is sorted in accordance with stroke strength; Intimacy and Games in general allow for the most intensive strokes.”

“Intimacy as a way of structuring time allows one to exchange the strongest strokes without playing a Game. Intimacy differs from Games as there is no covert purpose, and differs from Activities as there is no other process going on which defines a context of cooperation. Strokes are personal, relating to the other person, and often unconditional.”


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