Transactional Analysis

by Len Horridge

Identifying ego states

Here is a quick test to check if you understand the theory.

Print out this test so you can mark down your answers.

Look at each statement and quickly decide whether it is said from the state of parent, adult or child

1
Well, he may be okay, but I wouldn’t trust him when the going gets tough
P A C
2
Boy, you’re never going to believe what I just found out!
P A C
3
I don’t think I can make a decision until I have considered all of the options.
P A C
4
I’ve just got to go; everything depends on it!
P A C
5
Woman driver ,eh? Might have known it!
P A C
6
I’ve checked your report thoroughly and I think you have done a fine job.
P A C
7
Believe me, I know what’s best for you.
P A C
8
Oh! If I could just get that promotion my problems would all be over!
P A C
9
You think you’ve been hard done by... just listen what happened to me.
P A C
10
I really don’t know what to do! Can you give me some information?
P A C
11
Come on, why don’t you let me do that for you?
P A C
12
Hey! That’s fantastic! I wish I’d have thought of it!
P A C
13
I know you’re upset about the new schedule but don’t worry; it will get better.
P A C
14
Don’t blame me; I don’t make the rules up.
P A C

We will now give you the answers we have but...

As this is a communication assessment, you will have put a certain tone and certain body language around each statement, potentially changing the perceived meaning and thus the ego state it reflects (but not in every case).

1. PARENT

This is critical and uses the cliché ‘when the going gets tough’.

2. CHILD

The use of the word ‘boy’ is an indicator.

3. ADULT

Very thought through and suggests objectivity.

4. CHILD

Few things are this important, so this is a very emotional response.

5. PARENT

Children are not critical, only parents are.

6. ADULT...

... but, with the right tone, this could be a PARENT (caring).

7. PARENT

Controlling

8. CHILD

Emotional

9. PARENT

It’s one-upmanship, which is a parental trait.

10. CHILD then ADULT

This starts CHILD (help me), then moves onto ADULT (objective).

11. PARENT

Smothering

12. PARENT...

... but this could also be CHILD, given the right tone and body language.

13. PARENT

Though it looks like ADULT, it is not objective (no facts here)

14. CHILD

The response of a jobsworth!

Hopefully, you will have got most of the answers ‘correct’, but that is not the point here. The point is to reach a better level of understanding of the basic concepts involved.

Some of the states can be seen to be contradictory; you must recall that tone of voice and body language have a huge impact on communication, so it is natural that you may disagree with some of the answers.

Most people can confuse the child/parent states. This is because they have similarities, though of course they also have huge differences.

Remember
  • Parents are the only critical types
  • Your own parents will have behaved like children at times
  • The child state is emotional and so is the parental state
  • Both are child and parent states are archaic.