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I'm OK--You're OK (1970)

by Thomas A. Harris

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,692157,922 (3.49)10
The Classic Bestseller That has Changed the Lives of Millions "Extraordinary. Harris has helped millions find the freedom to change, liberate their adult effectiveness, and achieve joyful intimacy with others." --Los Angeles Times Transactional analysis delineates three ego-states (Parent, Adult and Child) as the basis for the content and quality of interpersonal communication. "Happy childhood" notwithstanding, says Harris, most of us are living out the not OK feelings of a defenseless child wholly dependent on others (parents) for stroking and caring. At some stage early in our lives we adopt a "position" about ourselves and others that determines how we feel about everything we do. And for a huge portion of the population, that position is "I'm Not OK-You're OK." This negative "life position," shared by successful and unsuccessful people alike, contaminates our rational adult capabilities, leaving us vulnerable to inappropriate, emotional reactions of our child and uncritically learned behavior programmed into our parent. By exploring the structure of our personalities and understanding old decisions, Harris believes we can find the freedom to change our lives.… (more)
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» See also 10 mentions

English (13)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (15)
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  DannyKeep | Jul 16, 2020 |
My therapist in my 20s used the sequel to this book - Staying Okay - as a basis for the tools he taught me to deal with past traumas and events that still affected me, so I was aware of Transactional Analysis, or the concept of Parent/Adult/Child before reading I'm Ok, You're Ok.

I was daunted at the idea of reading this book, as having read many self-help books, some can get very bogged down in the language and terminology, but I found this refreshing and surprisingly easy to read and understand, especially considering it was written in the mid-60s. Thomas Harris uses a conversational narrative which helped it flow.

I found the breakdown of the chapters clear and succinct. The author starts by explaining the concept of Parent-Adult-Child (PAC), which are states of mind that we move between. The Parent comes from the recordings in our memory of things our parents have said to us as children, and the Child is the emotional side of ourselves that feels and reacts to things and is often the victim. The Adult is the rational between the two, which enables us to find a balance so we don't berate ourselves or others with the voice of our Parent, or overreact or create drama from our Child. The mindset we are in can affect our interaction and communication with those around us - our Transactions (hence Transactional Analysis) and understanding which of the mindsets we are in can enable us to improve our interactions.

The author then explains how this works within marriage, referencing a book called Games People Play by his colleague and founder of Transactional Analysis, Eric Burne. And then with children, moving through the different age groups. He uses examples of his own experience as a therapist, giving dialogue and real interactions. I found this helped me understand how it can be applied.

The last couple of chapters in the book felt a bit like fillers to me as he discusses his own thoughts on topics of morality and how this system can be used globally. Some areas were dated - the author has no idea of how much society will change from the time he first wrote this to now, and it reflects in some of the examples he gives of working with clients. Although his views in some areas were quite progressive for the time, in particular about religion. I can imagine religious people might be offended by this book, or dismiss it due to some of the things that Thomas Harris has to say about the dogma and doctrine of religion and how it can be destructive, as it restricts people's ability to question and be open minded. I personally agree with his view on these topics.

I am rather excited about re-learning this system of analysis, and can immediately see how it can help me relate better within my marriage and with my children, although it would be nice to train properly in it. Sadly, it doesn't seem to have become as widely used as the author had hoped and speculated, which is a shame because many people could benefit from this system of relating and understanding both oneself and other people - particularly people like myself, who have suffered trauma and have very contaminated recordings from their childhood that affect them on a daily basis.

Should you be interested in a brief description of this method before delving deeper into this book, I found one here - http://changingminds.org/explanations... ( )
  purplequeennl | Aug 22, 2018 |
Another good book about how it is possible for couples to have a reasonable set of rules for negotiating with each other. It was some help for me and showed me of the bad techniques employed by ex-wife number two. ( )
1 vote DinadansFriend | Dec 21, 2016 |
A National Bestseller focusing on self-esteem issues and reciprocal acceptance of individuals with others. The first step in loving someone is loving yourself!
  mcmlsbookbutler | Dec 7, 2016 |
The main criticism of the book lies in the fact that it misrepresents by oversimplifying transactional analysis. It was my introduction to the subject and managed to get me thinking about many of the roles we choose. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Harris, Thomas A.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brender, IrmelaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kober, HainerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swildens, ElisabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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The Classic Bestseller That has Changed the Lives of Millions "Extraordinary. Harris has helped millions find the freedom to change, liberate their adult effectiveness, and achieve joyful intimacy with others." --Los Angeles Times Transactional analysis delineates three ego-states (Parent, Adult and Child) as the basis for the content and quality of interpersonal communication. "Happy childhood" notwithstanding, says Harris, most of us are living out the not OK feelings of a defenseless child wholly dependent on others (parents) for stroking and caring. At some stage early in our lives we adopt a "position" about ourselves and others that determines how we feel about everything we do. And for a huge portion of the population, that position is "I'm Not OK-You're OK." This negative "life position," shared by successful and unsuccessful people alike, contaminates our rational adult capabilities, leaving us vulnerable to inappropriate, emotional reactions of our child and uncritically learned behavior programmed into our parent. By exploring the structure of our personalities and understanding old decisions, Harris believes we can find the freedom to change our lives.

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    ARE YOU FEELING OK ABOUT YOURSELF?
    OR STILL PLAYING DESTRUCTIVE GAMES?

"Happy childhood" notwithstanding, most of us are living out the NOT OK feelings of a defenseless CHILD wholly dependent on 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 Lire 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.

Dr. Thomas A Harris' pioneering work in Transactional Analysis has had a fundamental impact on our understanding of interpersonal behavior. IN showing us how to make the conscious decision I'M OK - YOU'RE OK, he has helped millions of despairing people find the freedom to change, to liberate their ADULT effectiveness, and to achieve joyful intimacy with the people in their lives.
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