Psychological Games People Play - Transactional Analysis


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Based on the Newyork times best seller " Games People Play" by Eric Berne

Psychological Games People Play - Transactional Analysis

  1. 1. Game Analysis Presented by Manu Melwin Joy
  2. 2. Typical features of games • Games are repetitive. • Games are played without adult awareness. • Games always end up with the players experience racket feeling. • Games entail an exchange of ulterior transactions between the players. • Games always include moment of surprise and confusion.
  3. 3. Activity Think of a painful interaction in your own recent experience which fits this description of a game. Write down what the situation was. Check that it had the five features we have given as being typical of games. Note too how you felt at the end of it. Is this a familiar feeling of yours?
  4. 4. Sweat shirts It is uncanny how people manage to seek out others who will play games which interlock with their own games. It is as if each person were wearing a sweatshirt with her game invitation printed on it.
  5. 5. Sweat shirts The sweat shirt has a motto on the front which is the one we consciously want the world to see. On the back is the psychological level secret message. The message on the back is he one that actually determines whom we pick for our relationships.
  6. 6. Activity Go back to your own game example. What do you imagine was the motto on the front and back of your sweatshirt? What do you think were the front and back messages on the sweatshirt of any other you related to in that situation.
  7. 7. Group activity • Get into subgroups of three. • Using intuition, jot down the front and back sweatshirt messages of the other members. • Then share with each other what you wrote down.
  8. 8. Different degrees of games Games can be played at different degrees of intensity. First level game – it has an outcome which the player is willing to share with her social circle. These make a big proportion of the time structuring at parties and social gatherings.
  9. 9. Different degrees of games Second degree game bring heavier outcomes, of a kind which the player would rather not make public in her social circle. Third degree game, in Berne’s words is one which is played for keeps and which ends in surgery, the courtroom or the morgue.
  10. 10. Formula G Berne discovered that every game goes through a sequence of six stages. Con + Gimmick = Response Switch Cross up Payoff He called this sequence Formula G or Game formula.
  11. 11. Formula G • Con – it is delivered non-verbally. • Gimmick – It is a scripty weak spot that leads someone to buy into someone else’s con. • Response – This stage of a game consists of a series of transactions. At social level, these transactions seem like straight forward exchange of information. But at psychological level, they repeat the Con-Gimmick exchange that opened the game.
  12. 12. Formula G • Switch – It happens when one player changes his role. • Cross up – The confusion happening during the change of role is cross up. • Payoff – Both players collect their payoff of racket feeling.
  13. 13. Drama Triangle Stephen Karpman devised a simple yet powerful diagram for analyzing games, the drama triangle. He suggested that whenever people play games, they are stepping into one of three script roles: Persecutor, Rescuer or Victim.
  14. 14. Drama Triangle Persecutor – He is someone who puts other people down and belittles them. The persecutor views others as being one down and not ok. Rescuer – He sees others as being not OK and one down. But the rescuer responds by offering help from a one up position. Victim – He is himself one down and not OK. Sometimes, the victim will seek a persecutor to put him down and push him around or the victim may be in search of a rescuer who will offer help and confirm the victim’s belief “I can’t cope on my own”.
  15. 15. Drama Triangle Every one of the drama triangle roles entails a discount. Both persecutor and rescuer discount others. The persecutor discounts other’s value and dignity. Extreme persecutor may discount other people’s right to life and physical health. The rescuer discounts others abilities to think for themselves and act on their own initiative. A victim discounts himself.
  16. 16. Activity Take one minute to write down all the words you can think of that might be applied to a persecutor. Do the same for a Rescuer and for a victim.
  17. 17. Drama Triangle All three drama triangle roles are inauthentic. When people are in one of these roles, they are responding to the past rather than to the here and now. They are using old scripty strategies they decided upon as children or took on board from their parents. To signal the inauthenticity of the triangle roles, the words Persecutor, Rescuer and Victim are spelled with initial capitals. If we spell the words beginning with small letters, we mean real life persecutors, rescuers or victims.
  18. 18. Activity Can you think of a real life persecutor who would not also be a persecutor. What would be examples of the difference between an authentic rescuer and a person playing the role of Rescuer. Would you say it is possible for anyone to be a victim without also being a Victim.
  19. 19. Drama Triangle Usually, someone who is playing a game will start at one of the positions and then will switch to another. This switch in Drama Triangle positions takes place at the moment of the Switch in the Game formula.
  20. 20. Activity What drama triangle switched did you make in your own personal game example.
  21. 21. Transactional analysis of games Another way to analyze games is to use a transactional diagram. This is specially useful in bringing out the ulterior transactions between the players.
  22. 22. Berne’s transactional game diagram Ss - I did like to get to know you better. Rs – Yes, I did like that too. Sp – Kick me, Please. Rp – I will get you, you SOB Small S denotes social level and small p denotes psychological level.
  23. 23. Goulding Kupfer diagram Bob Goulding and David Kupfer developed a different version of the transactional game. For them, games have five required features.
  24. 24. Goulding Kupfer diagram 1. First comes the Social level opener of the game (Ss). Goulding and Kupfer call in the ostensible straight stimulus. 2. The second element of the game is the simultaneous psychological level message (Sp) which is the game of the con. It is called secret message and include a scripty statement about self.
  25. 25. Goulding Kupfer diagram 3. As always, the outcome is determined at the psychological level. In the Goulding Kupfer sequence, this is the “response to the secret message.” 4. Both players end up experiencing racket feelings, the bad feeling payoff. 5. The entire series of ulterior transactions stays outside the adult awareness of the players.
  26. 26. Goulding Kupfer diagram The Gouldings point out that if anyone had enough investment in getting into his favorite game, he can twist the actual responses he is getting from the other person so as to read the game response into them. Thus he can get his racket payoff even if the other person’s responses were not gamey.
  27. 27. Activity Use Berne’s transactional game diagram and the Goulding Kupfer diagram to analyze you own personal game example.
  28. 28. Game plan John James has developed a set of questions which give us another way of understanding the progress of a game. He calls it the Game plan.
  29. 29. Activity This activity use the game plan that includes two additional “mysterious questions”. It was devised by Laurence Collinson. You can use the game plan questions to analyze the personal game example which you have already noted or you can use it to examine a different gamey situation which you recognize in your life.
  30. 30. Activity Note down the answer to the following questions as they apply to your chosen example. 1. What keeps happening to me over and over again. 2. How does it start? 3. What happens next? 4. 5. And then? 6. 7. How does it end? 8a. How do I feel? 8b. How do I think the other person feels? What is my secret message to the other person? What is the other person’s secret message to me?
  31. 31. Interpretation The sequence of answers to the game plan questions should show you the drama triangle switches and formula G stages of the game. The feeling you listed at question 8a and 8b are both likely to be racket feelings of yours. If may be that you recognize the feeling at 8a as being familiar, but are surprised to think that the one named at 8b is also your own racket. If this is true, check with someone who knows you well.
  32. 32. Interpretation The answers to the two mystery questions are the psychological level messages of the transactional games. However, Lawrence Collinsion suggests that both these statement are also likely to be messages which your parents conveyed to you while you were a young child. Check whether it is true for you. A second possibility is that one or both of the mystery questions answers may be message which you conveyed to your parents when you were very young.
  33. 33. Definition of game Berne defined games differently at different stages of his thinking. “What ever fits the Formula G is a game and whatever does not fit is not a game.” - What do you say after you say hello. “ A game is a series of ulterior transactions with a gimmick , leading to a usually well concealed but well defined payoff.” – Principles of group treatment.
  34. 34. Definition of game According to Ian Stewart and Vann Jones, “ A game includes those sequences that follow all stages of Formula G, including the switch of roles and moment of confusion represented by switch and cross up.”
  35. 35. Racketeering and games According to Fanita English, Racketeers resemble game players in that they exchange ulterior messages, taking racket feeling payoffs at the same time. But in Racketeering, not switch is pulled. The parties may keep on racketeering as long as they both want or have energy to , and then simply stop or do something different. It is only if one of the parties does pull a switch that the racketeering exchange is transformed into a game.
  36. 36. Definition of game In simple language, “A game is a process of doing something with an ulterior motive that: – Is outside adult awareness. – Does not become explicit until the participants switch the way they are behaving and – Results in everyone feeling confused, misunderstood and wanting to blame the other person.
  37. 37. Why people play games?
  38. 38. Why people play games? • In playing games, we are following outdated strategies. • Game playing was one of the devices we adopted as young children to get what we wanted from the world. • But in adult life, we have other, more effective options.
  39. 39. Why people play games? • People play games to further their life script. • Berne suggested the sequence by which we achieve this. • At the payoff of every game, the player experiences a racket feeling. • Each time he does this, he can store the feeling away as a stamp.
  40. 40. Why people play games? • When the game player has built up a big enough collection of stamps, he feels justified in cashing it in for whatever negative script payoff he decided upon as a child. • Thus each person chooses her games to yield the kind of stamps that will advance her towards the script ending she has decided upon. • As usual with scripts, the script story may be played through in miniature many times during the players life. • People chose the degree of their games to suit the degree of their script payoff.
  41. 41. Activity • Look back at your own example. • What feeling stamp did you save? • How might you have been saving up these stamps for a new script payoff?
  42. 42. Why people play games? • Each time we play a game, we use the payoff to reinforce our script beliefs. • We can also use games to confirm our basic life position. • Games are played in order to justify what the players are already feeling and believing and to shift the responsibility on to someone or something else. Each time a person does this, he reinforces and furthers his script.
  43. 43. Activity • In your own game example, what script beliefs about self, others and the world might you have been reinforcing at the payoff? • Which of the life positions do these belief fits? • Does that check with the basic life position you saw yourself in when you were learning about the OK corral?
  44. 44. Game and symbiosis • The Schiffs suggests that games result from unresolved symbiotic relationships, in which each player discounts both himself and the other. • The players maintain a grandiose beliefs in order to justify the symbiosis, such as “I can’t do anything” (Child) or “ I only live for you, dear” (Parent). • Thus every game is either an attempt to maintain an unhealthy symbiosis, or an angry reaction against that symbiosis. • At the switch, symbiotic positions gets switched.
  45. 45. Activity • Find what symbiotic position you took up at the beginning of the game in your own personal example, and what position you moved into as the switch. • Do you identify what childhood symbiosis you were replaying or reacting against.
  46. 46. Game and strokes • Child needs strokes for survival. • Games are a reliable way of getting a supply of intense strokes. • The stroke exchanged in the opening stages of the game may be positive or negative, depending on the game. • At the switch, each player gets or gives intense negative strokes. • Whether positive or negative, every stroke exchange during a game entails a discount. • Fanita English suggests that people begin seeking game strokes when their strokes from racketeering are in danger of running out.
  47. 47. Activity • What strokes are you getting and giving at each stage of your own game example. • Did you get into the game when racketeering strokes were in danger of running out?
  48. 48. Advantages of Game playing In Games people play, Eric Berne listed six advantages of game playing. – Internal psychological advantage – maintain stability of my set of script beliefs. – External psychological advantage – Avoid situations that would challenge my frame of reference. – Internal social advantage –Games offer a framework for pseudo intimate socializing indoors or in privacy.
  49. 49. Advantages of Game playing – External social advantage – Gaming gives us a theme for gossiping in our wider social circle. – Biological advantage – It satisfy structure and stroke hunger. – Existential advantage – This is the function of the game in confirming life position.
  50. 50. Activity • What were the six advantages in your own game example?
  51. 51. Positive payoff of games • John James has developed the idea that games have real advantages as well as scripty ones. • He points out that every game brings a positive payoff as well as a negative payoff. • A game represents the child’s best strategy to getting something from the world. When we play games in adulthood, we are attempting to meet a genuine child need. It is just that the means of satisfying that need are outdated and manipulative.
  52. 52. Activity • What positive payoff did you get at the close of your own game example? • You may realize the answer immediately or it may take you some time and thought.
  53. 53. Prepared by Manu Melwin Joy Research Scholar SMS, CUSAT, Kerala Phone – 9744551114 Mail –
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