Transactional Analysis

by Len Horridge

Summary of the states

Below is a quick summary of the three ego states and the variants within.

There is, of course, more depth to the states than this, so consider this quick summary as an easy-to-follow introduction

PARENT ADULT CHILD
  • Learnt
  • Right and wrong
  • Advise
  • Criticise
  • Support
  • Judge
  • Supportive
  • Smothering
  • Aloof
  • Thought
  • Logical
  • Cold
  • Facts and information
  • Objective and rational
  • Reasonable
  • Robotic
  • Distrusting feelings
  • Arbitrator
  • Strong feelings, emotional
  • Non critical
  • Fun, impulsive, spontaneous
  • Creative
  • Team player
  • Moody
  • Doing as we are told
  • Clowning
  • Anger

The adult has one dimension; the child and parent egos can be both positive and negative.

Parents like control and like to have individuals or groups to manage. They will take the lead, but often for their own ends.

Children behave emotionally but can be creative. We are in the child state when we let our hair down to have fun or allow our emotions get the better of us.

Adults are objective and factual, sticking to the facts and managing by taking a calm and cold view of situations.

The three states were once neatly summed up as being the cast of Star Trek: the children are the crew, the parent is Captain Kirk and the adult Mr Spock.

As you can see, all three states have their pluses and minuses.