Within the field of psychotherapy, I am fascinated by the world of Transactional Analysis. One of the key concepts within this vast subject is that of Ego States.
At any given point in time we usually operate from one of these states.
Normally, we operate from an Adult place. The Adult thinks and acts rationally and logically. The Adult observes the world and categorises, organises and analyses it accordingly.
We can also operate from a Parent Ego State. This may be a Nurturing Parent, offering love, soothing and unconditional acceptance to oneself or others. It may also be a Critical Parent, being the arbiter of rules - setting shoulds, musts and oughts. In a positive sense, the Critical Parent also sets boundaries and can promote safety.
We can also operate from a Child place. This may be the wonderful Free Child - spontaneous, creative, playful and in the moment. It may also be the Adapted Child - adapting and conforming to others, to parental messages, and to the world around us. The Adapted Child often makes emotional decisions about the self, and the world, based on early childhood decisions. The Adapted Child may be rebellious - a reaction to parental messages - deciding against those messages and putting up a fight.
One of the aims of a therapeutic and, indeed, a coaching relationship is to bring us to a point of analysing situations from an Adult Ego State. We can then make better decisions and perform in a more rational way. Of course, that is not to discount the parental and child energy! These both have their uses, and we should very much acknowledge and nurture our other Ego States. Knowing when to use each Ego State effectively is the key here.
Which Ego States have you noticed in yourself recently? How did that work out for you?
When did you notice these Ego States in the people at work? What about your family and friends? How could you have used your own Ego State to help the person you are interacting with? Or to make sure your own reaction was appropriate?
If you recognise any of this in yourself or others, and feel you need some assistance with this area of your life, get in touch. I'd be happy to guide you through.