The WSJ’s transactional analysis
Those of us who remember the 1970s will probably remember the pop-psychology best-seller, I’m Ok-You’re Ok by Thomas Harris. If you may recall (or for those readers much to young to know), the book explained transactional analysis,
“Happy childhood” notwithstanding, most of us are living out the NOT OK feelings of a defenseless CHILD wholly dependent on OK others for stroking and care. By the third year of life, says Dr. Harris, most of us have made the unconscious decision I’M NOT OK-YOU’RE OK. This negative Life Position, shared by successful and unsuccessful people alike, contaminates our rational ADULT potential — leaving us vulnerable to the inappropriate, emotional reactions of our CHILD and the uncritically learned behavior programmed into our PARENT.
In personal Transactions, NOT OK people resort to harmful withdrawal, rituals, activities, pastimes, and games for getting needed strokes while avoiding painful intimacy with people they see as OK.
Transactional analysis had its day in the sun, but like ponchos and Frye boots went out of fashion. Like ponchos and Frye boots, it now seems to be making a comeback. I realized as much when I read yesterday’s Wall Street Journal editorialThe Jordan Kerfuffle: Did he really have good reason to quit CNN?
No doubt this point of view will get us described as part of the “mainstream media.” But we’ll take that as a compliment since we’ve long believed that these columns do in fact represent the American mainstream. We hope readers buy our newspaper because we make grown-up decisions about what is newsworthy, and what isn’t.
I’m OK, they’re OK?