Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The Life Script

A script is a personal life plan which an individual decides early in life and is based upon his or her interpretation of the external and internal events which affect them. The script is a decisional model - this is very important - if I chose my own script then at any time given the right circumstances I can choose to make a change in my script. (When this change takes place in therapy the client is said to have made a Redecision.)

A potential script decision is made when a person discounts his own free child needs in order to survive. Only after several discounts does the decision become part of the script unless the situation carried a great deal of significance such as the death of a parent or sibling. Script Decisions are the best the child can manage in the circumstances. Yesterday’s best choice made by the child in a land of giants may now be very limiting to the grown adult. People follow their script because of the pay off, a familiar feeling, attempting to avoid the loss of love and in an attempt to gain love.


1) MODELLING by parents, siblings, others demonstrating how to = the Programme (accepted Adult messages).

2) ATTRIBUTIONS, the big person in Parent defining the little person in some way, e.g. “You’re just like .....”.

3) SUGGESTIONS, indirectly giving the message from parent, e.g. “Keep at it until it’s right”. Be Perfect).

4) INJUNCTIONS from the child ego state making demands on the person, either DO or DON’T.

NB: Messages can frequently contradict each other.

DRIVERS (Described by Taibi Kahler) From the Parent Ego State stating that the child will be OK if he/she follows a message which says:-

You will be OK if you..... Try Hard - Be Strong - Hurry Up - Be Perfect - Please Me –

TWELVE INJUNCTIONS (Described by the Gouldings in the book Changing Lives Through Redecision Therapy). Injunctions come from the infants parents scared or angry Child ego state:
Don’t be, Don’t be you, Don’t, Don’t be Important, Don’t belong, Don’t be close, Don’t be well / sane, Don’t think, Don’t feel, Don’t be a child, Don’t grow, Don’t succeed.

It is important to note that the child responds to these injunctions and makes a script decision... It is these negative script decisions which will possibly causing difficulty as a grown up. Permissions are also given to the child, these will be the opposite to the injunctions, e.g. Do think, etc.

The OK Coral: 
One of Berne's best know concepts is the idea that folks are born OK, The phrase I am OK - You are OK has become a part of folk language... In infancy, often pre-verbally the infant will make a decision as to how they related to others and themselves ... This is called their existential life position. Early life experiences will determine the person’s Existential or Life position. Once decided upon, the Life Position influences how the person thinks, feels and behaves. There are four basic life positions and Frank Ernst developed these into the well known OK Corral.

The script can be elicited in various ways, the questionnaire being one, and it is drawn out on a script matrix.
The script matrix is one of the earliest pieces of work done as a Transactional Analyst. The analyst will then design interventions based upon the information within the matrix. In therapy the injunctions are always to be dealt with first rather than Drivers which may well be the thing that keeps the person going. E.g. "I will be perfect then I can live." -- No matter how tempted don’t invite this person to stop being perfect, until they
have made a decision to live regardless of how imperfect they are!

These questions are designed to gain information from the client which enables the therapist to construct a script matrix, a picture of both the messages which were passed onto the infant and the decisions which the
infant made. (These 10 questions are based on Maggie and Jeff White’s article in the Jan 86 TAJ.

1. Imagine your mother sitting front of you and saying: “I am happy with you when you ... ..”

2. Do the same for your father.

3. When you were little, what was it about you that most upset or scared your mother?

4. When your mother lets you know that she does not like you being like this, what do you feel?

5. What do you do when you feel like this?

6. What was it about you that most upset or scared your father?

7. How do you feel when he lets you know this?

8. What do you do when you feel like this?

9. What phrase or sentence describes your mother and her life best?

Introduction to TA … “ TA 101 Notes” by Dave Spenceley TSTA