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Synopsis

You best understand psychological concepts and strategies by experiencing them. Talking about them is good. Experiencing and then talking about them is much better.

Eric Berne quickly expands what you can think, feel and become by making you more aware of your Adult, Parent and Children. When they work well together, changing the balance among them to meet the needs of the moment, you have a good life. If one becomes too dominant too much of the time, you close off possibilities for love, joy and adventure.

You’ll also explore the games you play, your stamp collection, and the fairy tales that shape your life.

Consider keeping a journal. Writing adds an important dimension to your adventures, and later reading what you wrote adds a second. The experiences of other people are often included, which adds a third.

You can do the chapters alone, or share with a group. If you have the opportunity, do both and notice the differences.

Use good judgment. If you are asked to do something that doesn’t feel right move on, perhaps to try another day.

1. Your Adult, Parent, and Children
2. The games you play
3. The joys of stamp collecting
4. Fairy tales shape your life
5. At the end of the day
Frivolous Fun

1
YOUR ADULT, PARENT, AND CHILDREN
Start with your Natural Child, the part that is adventurous, happy and free.
Sudden in a shaft of sunlight,
Even while the dust moves,
There rises the hidden laughter
Of children in the foliage.
Quick now, here, now, always.
Ridiculous the waste sad time,
Stretching before and after.
T. S. Eliot

It will be hard for your Natural Child to see and hear the children in the foliage if your Adult, Parent and Unnatural Children get in the way.

Adult is your words-data-logic computer brain. It has an enormous amount of information about the world, knowledge essential for your survival. But your Adult is usually aware of only superficial aspects of the natural world. For instance your Adult glances at a tree, quickly classifies it “tree” using 2 or 3 defining characteristics and pays no further attention to it. The tree has become a word.

Our schools and much of our culture reward that kind of experiencing and you become a proficient word pusher, who hasn’t felt the bark of a real tree in years. Your Adult will want good, logical reasons why you should spend time walking down the street acting like a kid.

Your Parent may also give you plenty of trouble. It’s your authoritarian, judgmental part that expects you to measure up. Taking a silly walk in the sunshine when there’s work to be done is not measuring up. You should be finishing that report, cleaning your bedroom, reading a good book, instead acting weird and attracting the attention of strangers. What good is that going to do anybody?

Your Parent is also only aware of the more surface aspects of Reality. “That grass needs cutting!” “That sidewalk is filthy!” “She shouldn’t be wearing those colors!” “Why are you wasting your time going on a stupid walk?”

To help get past your Adult and Parent, tell them the book you are reading told you to, and it’s written by a PhD psychologist who knows what he’s talking about.

Then there’s your Unnatural Children, shaped and scrambled when you were a little tyke playing in the sandbox. We all grew up in environments that were both toxic and nurturant. Unnatural Children are created by under- or over-controlling parents, dangerous neighborhood, serious illness, lousy schools, etc.
It never occurs to a beaten down Unnatural Child that puddles are to jump into, strange doors are to open, weird clothes are for trying on, and frogs are to sleep with. A rebellious Unnatural Child does them all.

Everybody has both beaten down and rebellious Unnatural Children because nobody grows up in a perfect environment, or has perfect genes. Your beaten down Unnatural Child will be too scared to go on that walk. Your rebellious Unnatural Child will tell me to go jump in a cold lake.

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