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I'm OK--You're OK Paperback – July 6, 2004
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About the Author
The late Thomas Harris was a Navy psychiatrist and a professor at the University of Arkansas. He practiced psychiatry in Sacramento, California and directed the Transactional Analysis Association.
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Top Customer Reviews
Dr. Harris starts off by going into the history of Transactional Analysis and the theories of those before Dr. Eric Berne. The second chapter explains the basic of Transactional Analysis which is the concept of the Parent, Adult, and Child ego states that are supposed to compose each and every one of our personalities. The Parent ego state contains all the information we accept as true that we have gathered from authority figures including our parents. The Adult ego state is the collection of all information that we have proven to ourselves as being true (using some sort of logic). The Child ego state is our natural good and bad side of feelings - love, anger, greed, empathy, etc. The author extensively uses the phrase P-A-C (Parent-Adult-Child) through the rest of the book.
Dr. Harris then introduces the concept of the four different life positions that each of us adopts at any given time. All of us apparently go through four life positions ending up with the last one in a sequential manner except some of us get stuck in the earlier stages (this results in problems that typically need therapy). These four positions are -
1. I'm Not OK, You're OK
2. I'm Not OK, You're Not OK
3. I'm OK, You're Not OK
4. I'm OK, You're OK
The next few chapters of the book focus on the fact that we can change no matter what stage we are stuck in and the theory behind how to change.Read more ›
However I got it, I wasn't expecting much: I had heard the title & assumed it was some coddling, outdated '70s feel-good hippie crap, to be perfectly honest.
Instead it is about the most useful "self help" book I've ever read by far, though I haven't read many of that genre... let's just say it is the most useful book I've read in quite a while, one that I actually understood & was inspired by &, even more amazing, find myself applying.
The gist is, we all have competing forces in us, except that instead of the Freudian Id, Ego & Superego (which I never felt too excited about), we have P-A-C, Parent, Adult, & Child.
Now I'm not sure, but I think this might be the origin of the irritating & irrelevant (to me, at least) concept of "getting in touch with your inner child," but the way this is presented in the book is anything but facile or condescending, & relevant to just about every human being I know.
We start off as a child, obviously, and this Child voice seeks instant gratification, & pleasure, it avoids pain, & it thinks it's the Center of the Universe.
As the child learns it can't have its way, as it is blocked in various ways, limited, as desires are denied, it creates the Parent, the Voice that Knows, knows when to punish, to withhold, to control, to prescribe, to explain, etc.
The idea is that most of us are existing as little more than those two forces fighting it out inside of us, moment to moment. The Parent that wants to be in charge & control & know it all, & the Child that wants to relax & indulge & have it his way, right away.Read more ›
The "A-Ha" feeling you get when you start reading it comes when you understand why so-and-so makes you feel small or angry and why certain situations make you start playing some game.
It discusses the basic terminologies and vocabulary needed and then goes on to discuss in different social contexts and developmental contexts the application of Transaction Analysis.
This is not just a vague psychology book like Freud. It is extremely practical and insightful.
Some reviewers have written about the validity of the theory iteself. While I am not qualified to comment on these reviews, one thing I can definitely conclude is that this book provides a solid base to those who are trying to understand their own behaviour and trying to achieve improvements in it. A theory, that too developed quarter century ago, can not be expected to stand 100% vindicated today. The more importent question is what use you are trying to put it to. So may be for a psyciatrist this is not a great book but for a layman like myself this book explains most of the things. After reading this book I could find out why I behave the way I behave mostof the times. To a certain extent I learnt to control my responses. Also I have a feeling that the claims made by Dr. Harris might be quite right in 1972 in light of the knowledge, then prevalent.
Second objection seems to be dividing 5 or 6 billion population in 4 types of people. I think this conclusion is far from correct. Dr. Harris has repeated said that most of the people belong to "I am not ok and you are ok" category. Out of the remaining 3 cattttegories 2 are shared by people who have not had proper childhood and the fourth is achieved by enlightenment of an individual. The objective here is not to merely categorize, but to show that how most of us have the common position "I am not ok and you are ok".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a good introduction to the field and practice of Transactional Analysis, but like its subject, is so outdated as to be of little use besides as a historical document. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tiago
Word to the wise: books like this are not books to give away after a few years. Thirty-some years later I am re-reading this classic to recall and reinforce its sensible model of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by preacherlady
In my opinion this is one of the best self help books ever. It was a great help in 1972 and has been a great help now in 2015.Published 2 months ago by Robert787
Even though this book was written in the 70's, the psychological analysis and personal interaction model is Right On! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer