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Stroke economy - Transactional Analysis

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The stroke economy describes how society has developed a system to control and compete in the giving and receiving of strokes (Unit of recognition).

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Stroke economy - Transactional Analysis

  1. 1. Stroke Economy
  2. 2. Sex Economy • Wilhelm Riech, Freud’s psychoanalytic disciple developed the concept of the sex economy, which in the Germany of the 30’s, he defined as the intentional squelching of sexual exchanges among the young for the political purpose of promoting conformity of the Nazi regime.
  3. 3. Stroke Economy • In the book “Scripts People Live” (1974) Claude Steiner a close friend of Berne develops the theme of stroke economy. • The stroke economy describes how society has developed a system to control and compete in the giving and receiving of strokes.
  4. 4. Steiner wrote a children’s story “The Warm Fuzzy Tale”
  5. 5. The Warm Fuzzy Tale • In this story he tells how a happy family freely gave warm "fuzzies" until a wicked witch who deceived them by telling them that their warm fuzzies will run out. • The family started to hold back from giving warm fuzzies, and as this spreads through their community people’s backs start to shrivel up, and people start to die.
  6. 6. The Warm Fuzzy Tale 1. As the witch wishes to sell her salves and potions she doesn’t actually wish people to die, she invents cold pricklies, and plastic fuzzies which keep people alive and unhappy so that they carry on buying her potions and salves from her. 2. However, the children eventually learn that they won’t run out of the warm fuzzies, and so start giving them away freely again inviting the adults to join them.
  7. 7. Stroke Economy • The stroke economy creates a scarcity of love and affection by imposing a set of rules that govern the exchange of strokes. • These rules are enforced internally by the inner Critical Parent and externally by the restrictive social mores that surround us. • Disobedience of these rules results in feelings of guilt, shame and unworthiness and externally in widespread social disapproval.
  8. 8. Stroke Economy • Claude Steiner suggests that as children, we are all indoctrinated by our parents with five restrictive rules about stroking. • Don’t give strokes when you have them to give. • Don’t ask for strokes when you need them. • Don’t accept strokes if you want them. • Don’t reject strokes when you don’t want them. • Don’t give yourself strokes.
  9. 9. Stroke Economy • These five rules together are the basis of what Steiner calls the stroke economy. • By training children to obey these rules, parents ensure that a situation in which strokes could be available in a limitless supply is transformed into a situation in which the supply is low and the price parents can extract from them is high.
  10. 10. Stroke monopolist • Steiner believes parents do this as a way of controlling their children. • By teaching children that strokes are in short supply, the parents gain the position of stroke monopolist. • Knowing that strokes are essential, the child soon learns to get them by performing in ways which mother and father demands.
  11. 11. Stroke monopolist • As grownups, we still unawarely obey the five rules. • As a result, we spend our lives in a state of partial stroke deprivation. • We use much energy in seeking out the strokes we still believe to be in short supply.
  12. 12. Stroke starvation As people intimidated by these internal and external sanctions follow the stroke economy’s rules on a culture wide basis, the outcome is a lowering of affectionate exchanges resulting in generalized “Stroke starvation”.
  13. 13. Stroke starvation Stroke starved people will become depressed and will resort to self damaging methods of obtaining strokes just as starving people will eat rotten food or people dying of thirst will drink salt water.
  14. 14. Stroke starvation Eventually, harmful methods of obtaining strokes become habitual to stroke hungry people who know of no other way of fulfilling their need for human recognition.
  15. 15. Reclaiming awareness • To reclaim our awareness, spontaneity and intimacy, We need to reject our restrictive basic training . We need to become aware that • Strokes are limitless in supply. • We can give a stroke when we want. • When we want, we can ask. • We can take stroke when offered. • If we don’t like the stroke, we can reject it openly. • We can enjoy giving ourselves strokes.
  16. 16. Re-decision • Most of us restrict our stroke exchange in accordance with our early childhood decisions. • These decisions were made in response to our infant perceptions of pressures from parents. • As grown ups, we can re assess these decisions and change them if we want to.
  17. 17. Activity • Exchange strokes with your group members. • How you experienced giving, accepting and rejecting strokes. • Which were you comfortable and uncomfortable with? • When you were uncomfortable, do you trace that back to rules you remember your parents setting for you as a child?
  18. 18. Asking for strokes • There is one myth about stroking that almost all of us are taught. The myth is “Strokes that you have to ask for are worthless”. • The reality is that strokes that you get by asking are worth just as much as strokes you get without asking.
  19. 19. Asking for strokes • You may object: “But if I ask, maybe the other person may give me stroke just be nice” • Appraising from Adult, we can see this as a possibility. • Alternatively, the stroke may be sincere. • There is a good chance that others may have been wanting to stroke you but had been hearing their own parent proclaiming “Don’t give strokes”.
  20. 20. Asking for strokes • You always have the option of checking with the other person whether or not their stroke was genuine. • If it was not, you have further options. You may choose to take it anyway or you can reject their marshmallow and ask for a stroke that is genuine, form the same person or from somebody else.
  21. 21. Activity • Be in groups of four. • Exercise is on asking strokes. • A person “It” takes three minutes to ask the others for strokes. • Strokers responding by giving the strokes asked for if they are genuinely willing to give it. If not, say “I am not willing to give you the stroke right now.” • It shares his/her experience with others.
  22. 22. Activity • Write down at least five positive strokes you want but don’t usually ask for. • In the following month, ask at least one person for each of these strokes. • If you get the stroke, thank the stroker. • If you do not, it is ok to ask for adult information about why the other person did not want to give the stroke asked for. • Homework is over when you have asked for the strokes whether or not you got all of them. When you have asked for all the strokes on your list, give yourself a stroke for doing the exercise.
  23. 23. Prepared By Manu Melwin Joy Assistant Professor Ilahia School of Management Studies Kerala, India. Phone – 9744551114 Mail – manu_melwinjoy@yahoo.com Kindly restrict the use of slides for personal purpose. Please seek permission to reproduce the same in public forms and presentations.

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