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Ego State Model

Transactional Analysis

Ego State Model 2015


The ego state model
Prepared by Manu Melwin Joy, Assistant Professor, Ilahia School of Management Studies,
Kerala, India, Phone 9744551114, Mail manu_melwinjoy@yahoo.com
First order structural diagram

P Parent ego state Behaviours, thoughts and feelings copied from parents or parent
figures.

A Behaviours, thoughts and feelings which are direct responses to the here and now.

C Behaviours, thoughts and feelings replayed from childhood.

The process of analysing personality in terms of ego states is called structural analysis.
For a healthy and balanced personality, we need all the three of our ego states. We need adult
for the here and now problem solving that enables us to tackle life in a competent, effective
way. To fit comfortably into the society, we need the sets of rules we carry in our parent. In
our child ego state, we have access again to the spontaneity, creativity and intuitive power we
enjoyed in our childhood.
Definition of ego states
Eric Berne defined an ego state as a consistent pattern of feeling and experience directly
related to a corresponding consistent pattern of behaviour.
Berne was exact in his choice of words. It is worth while taking some time now to clear what
he was conveying in this definition.

Berne is saying that each ego state is defined by a combination of feeling and
experience which consistently occur together.

Berne is suggesting that the behaviour typical of each ego state is consistently shown
together.

Berne is saying that when I am in touch with the feeling and experience defining a
particular ego state, I will also be showing the behaviours which define that same ego
state.

The whole point of the ego state model is that it allows us to make reliable connections of this
kind between behaviour, experience and feelings.
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Ego State Model 2015


Ego states and super ego, ego and id
The Berne was trained initially as a Freudian analyst. Berne has pointed out the difference
between his model and that of Freud.

Parent, adult and child ego states are each defined in terms of observable behavioural
clues. By contrast, super ego, ego and Id are purely theoretical concepts.

The ego states related to persons with special identities while freuds three psychic
agencies are generalized.

Berne built upon Freuds model by adopting Paul Federns idea of ego states
distinct states in which the ego is manifested at a given time.

Freuds model and the ego state model are not one and the same thing. Neither do
they contradict each other. They are simply different ways of portraying personality.

Ego states are names, not things


Ego state is not a thing. Instead, it is a name, which we use to describe a set of phenomena a
set of related feelings, thoughts and behaviour. In the same way, parent, adult and child are
not things, They are names. People talk about ego states as if they were things we have. Ex :
You have a strong adult. The trouble with talking like this is that we may slip into believing
that ego states have some kind of existence of their own, separate from the person we are
talking about.
The over simplified model
Some people watered Bernes ideas and made an oversimplified model which states that
when I am thinking, I am in adult. When I am feeling, I am in child. When I am making value
judgements, I am in parent.
The oversimplified model completely omits to mention that I can think and feel and make
value judgements from any of my ego states.
An even more serious fault of the over simplified model is that it says nothing about the time
dimension of ego states. Berne emphasised that parent and child are echoes of past. Only
when I am in my adult am I responding to situations with all my present resources as a grown
up.
Reference TA Today
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