Ego States

Ego states explained

As an adult have you ever found yourself saying things to others your parents said to you, as a child? Could this be linked to the Transactional Analysis Ego States?

“Stop waving that fork about, you will put someone’s eye out “or Don’t go out with wet hair you will catch a cold”.  Yes we all do this from time to time, the reason is as small children we believe everything our parents tell us is the truth.

That’s why children believe in Father Christmas and parents worry when to tell them that he doesn’t really come down the chimney on Christmas Eve.

Ever felt disappointed?, Your football team has lost or you did not get the job you applied for and you found yourself ‘sulking’ or having ‘strop’ a bit like the four year old you used to be.

Well those are ‘Ego States’ and if you have ever worked with an adult who acts like they are a four year old  when they don’t get their own way or start talking to you like you were a child and they were your parent you know just difficult and frustrating that can be.

The illustration on the left shows the Ego States that we all experience at some point through the day.
The goal of TA therapy is to make us aware of which ego state we tend to be in most of the time and ask ourselves is this useful in our everyday relationships and interactions with others.
By being more adult in transactions with people, we find that our relationships can be enhanced and we don’t fall back in to historic and not useful ways of interacting with others.

Eric Berne believed the key to a fulfilled life was to be aware of our ego states and explore them all but not get stuck in just one!


When this week did you act as a child, what happened?
feel free to discuss this in the counselling forum