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I'm Okay, Your Okay

Harris - 1967

Got the Transactional Analysis concept from Berne in 57.

He says Berne provided a "precision vocabulary," just as I am trying to do with my feeling words.

He says over 1,000 psychiatrists have been trained in TA p 16

He says one reason it works well is that it can be done in groups

Says it gives patients a tool they can use.

the problems of the world are the problems of individuals, so if we can change individuals, we can change the world. p 18 (paraphrased - not a direct quote)

p 25-27 talks about Wilder Penfield who found out that you could stimulate brain with electricity and evoke memories, both thoughts and feelings.

Harris says:

Perhap the most significant discovery was that not only past events are recorded in detail, but also the feelings that were associated with those events. An event and the feeling which was produced by the event are inextricably locked together in the brain so that one cannot be evoked without the other. p 27 (his italics)

p 30 ..... the brain functions as a high fidelity recorder, putting on tape, as it were, every experience from the time of birth, possibly even before birth (As L. Ron Hubbard, Scientologist mastermind, asserted with his "engrams.")

p 39 +

Child: dominated by feelings

Parent: self-righteous; collection of all recordings of ~ first five years (ie before he starts school); unfiltered; taken as truths;

"Everything he saw his parents do and everything he heard them say is recorded in the Parent." p 40

Adult: reasoning, logical

[These are helpful labels to a point, but I prefer to use the different parts of the brain, such as the amygdala. This same line of thought applies to Freud and his ego/superego/id labels. At this point in fact, the word ego is so overused that it means very little from a scientific standpoint. In other words I believe all of these terms used by both authors are artificial labels which misguide us. Even right brain left brain is over-simplified. I feel much more comfortable with the distinctions between the amygdala and the neo-cortex.]

p 42 talks about how a child can't edit or modify or judge what parents are putting forth as "truth." Because the child is pre-logical. As we know now, (I don't know if he knew it then) the emotional brain develops first. So he is right, kid can't say "This doesn't make sense. I am not buying into this."

He talks about the terror imprinted on a child when his parents, who he depends on for his survival, are fighting one another. I never thought about it quite this way. He is right, if I see my means of surival being attacked, I am scared. If they are attacking each other, I am doubly scared. And in my own home I saw this on an almost daily basis.

p 43 he says these tapes can't be erased. I am afraid he is right, though the cults try to brainwash and reprogram, by writing over and over. So, as s.o. else said, it is not so much erasing, as overwriting. Changing associations, re-wiring ciruits. Redirecting chemicals. For example, when I used to see flag of the USA, I might feel proud, now I might feel ashamed. And when I used to see a police car I used to feel safe, now I feel resentful.

p 44 Gives good example of stereo music and inconsistency. When sounds are not harmonious, they confuse and upset us, so eventually we learn to tune the sounds out. This weakens the parent's ability to influence child. So if parent is hypocritical, they are undermining their power base. (and may need to augment it with more fear)

Gives example of woman whose mother said "You NEVER put a hat on the table." So she told her own kids the same thing and got angry when they broke this rule. When mother was about 80, lady finally asked her why. Mother explained it was because some of the neighbor kids had lice.

so we might say that what he calls Parent are the basically the beliefs which the child stores.

The "Child" is made up of feelings, according to Harris/Berne. Child internalizes every negative look as there being something wrong with him. (Like Sam Keen said "When mommy smiles, I am good. When she frowns I am bad".) Thus we come up to "I'm okay, I'm not okay."

p 48 ** "The predominant by-product of the frustrating, civilization process is negative feelings" **

p 49 Harris says his own daughter asked innocently enough "If I have an ok dad and an ok mom, how come I am not ok? Then he says:

When the children of "good" parents carry the "not ok" burden, one can begin to appreciate the load carried by children whose parents are guilty of gross neglect, abuse and cruelty.

He says when we are older we can get "hooked" into these different states P A or C

p 50 he says nearly all the emotions have been experienced by the child and all the beliefs have been imprinted by age 5 (I think this is a slight, though only a slight, exaggeration) But I agree that we can't expect the schools to make up for what was incorrectly done in the family. And now with home schooling, some kids are going to be even more permanently damaged.

The "Adult" tries to figure things out for himself, using logic, not just believing what is fed to him by his parents. But the adult is very fragile. It is easily "knocked out" by a few harsh words from the parent. yep.

He says that is why we, as adults, want to go for walk alone to "clear our mind." ie we want some time to figure things our for ourselves (some of us have bigger needs for this than others, moi par example)

He quotes Berne who says Parent is "judgmental in an imitative way and seeks to enforce sets of borrowed standards..."

good except I would say that "borrowed" is not the right word--not any more than cattle are just "borrowing" the marks branded upon them with hot iron.


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