In the recent times, transactional analysis abbreviated TA has received a lot of concern from researchers as well as its applicability in relation to drug abuse. In connection to this transactional analysis can be defined as an approach whose unit is transaction. So to speak, the theory of transactional analysis holds that a person’s behavior is best understood based on the examination done in terms of ego states (Berne, 1951). In line with this, the behavior between two or more persons is best understood if it is examined in terms of transactions.
In particular, a transaction is a product of a stimulus along with a response that is given in the two specific states. At the same time, TA therapists have their main focus directed to the ego and the consciousness of a person. The theory operates between three observable forms of ego. They incorporate the child, adult and parent ego in the larger perspective. Basically, transactional analysis describes the way in which interactions occur and relate to each other. In the same manner, people transact with each other for particular reasons that are best known to them. This is to suggest that there is always a driving force behind the decision made to engage in a transaction (Hargaden & Sills, 2002).
So to articulate, games present a good example regarding this theory. As such, there are some motivational concepts of stimulus hunger, structure hunger, and position hunger. In particular, games provide much satisfaction to these hungers which is referred to as payoff or rather the advantage of the game. One may be motivated to play a certain game on the basis of what he or she receives from it. Focusing on the views of the transactional analyst regarding a drug abuse, it is believed that drug abuse can be treated on the basis of TA (Steiner, 1984). In this regard, the people’s psychological difficulties stems from, their self defeating patterns of behavior.
In essence, some drug taking can be well understood from the point of view of repetitive patterns of self defeating behavior. It has been pointed out that the game of alcoholics has some five or so key players. In combination with this, the players incorporate the alcoholic who happens to be the drug user, the persecutor who is responsible for cautioning the alcoholic and the rescuer. In addition, there is the patsy who happens to supply money with good intentions only to find out that the money has been misused in drinking. Along with this, there is the connection which describes the supplier of the drug who is well equipped with an alcoholic talk and subculture in this case (Hargaden & Sills, 2002). Arguably, the goal of the alcoholic game is to have a hangover. Drinking in this case is treated as an accompanying pleasure in order to attain a psychological torment rather than a physical pain.
It is important at this point to bring out the point that alcoholism according to Stenier (1971), it is nor incurable nor is it a disease as presumed but rather it is a decision. In this sense, it is argued that the disease can be cured or rather healed by means of unmaking the decision to follow destructive patterns of life. It has been pointed out that there are three ego states with that of a child, parent and adult model. According to this model, the child while growing is influenced by the parents and the many authorities that surround his or her life altogether. In particular, the child thinks irrationally, the parent is judgmental and the adult is able to think and act rational out of procession of data and thinking reasonably.
Following this point, alcoholism has been explained as one of the games that the alcoholics play. Basically, alcoholics play the games such drunk and proud, the lush and the wino games. From a broader point of view, playing of games is always meant to bring some kind of satisfaction. As such, transactional analysis takes in three concepts. In line with this, the concepts include the ego states as earlier on highlighted, the games and scripts. The first concept has a child mode which is a behavior remnant from childhood that is adapted to creative and pleasurable activities (Hargaden & Sills, 2002). Following this point, there is the adult mode which is dispassionate behavior adapted to rational, logical and scientific thought. Accordingly, the parent mode is a reproduction of the behavior of one or more parental figures which is adapted to nurturing and making judgments when sufficient data is available. Games in this context are the medium by which a person obtains scripts. Games in particular, are defined to be a series of transactions with a covert motive or payoff (Steiner, 1984).
There are several features that describe transactional analysis inclusive of the language used by both the therapist and the patient. In the same way, the element of responsibility comes in whereby the patient is considered as to be responsible for his actions since his or her disturbance is rooted in the decisions made. In this context, the patient who is responsible for his or her actions enters into a contract with the therapist in order to help him or her overcome the disturbing behavior. From another point of view, a game is a repetitive transaction with a beginning, middle and the end along with a concealed purpose or payoff (Berne, 1966).
In relation to alcoholism as a game, it is a repetitive pattern game with an identifiable beginning, middle and end stages. Alcoholism as a game has different people who play the game. As such, a game is a set of transactions between people who take different roles. In any game, the reward or rather the payoff is strikes in spite of the roles taken (Steiner, 1984). The games played by alcoholic fall in three categories. In the first category there is the drunk and proud game in that the person drinking does it out of rebellion. He or she gets drunk in order to be rebellious and he is proud about it.
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In most cases, such a person is not also receptive of the fact that he or she can see a therapist. He makes it very hard to be helped as he hopes to maintain his or her ego. Second category of alcoholic game has the Lush alcoholic player who plays the game of drinking by means of being a victim since he or she is in desperation, distress and is needy. In this case, a lush has a kind of script or rather a life plan that states that no one loves her or him (Karpman, 1968). The reason for drinking in such a case is for the reason that the person has been deprived of strokes of which the only way to achieve them is by being drunk. This game involves people as rescuers contrary to the drunk and proud player which involves people as persecutors. Thirdly, there is wino alcoholic game player who does it to hurt his or her body tissues.
Typically, the strokes that he receives are the kind of hurt he or she receives. All what a wino player seeks to gain is the recognition from the rescuer and the persecutor. As a matter of fact, the wino destroys his body tissues since he or she knows that being physically devastated can bring about being some help (Steiner, 1971). Nonetheless, the Wino can end up being persecuted, mistreated and ignored as only under extreme points can this person get helped.
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An alcoholic takes in the responsibility of recruiting in his or her life people with whom the game can be played. It takes the contribution of other people in a game for it to get to the middle and the end stages. If an alcoholic does not have people to play the game with, he or she can go as far as the first transaction and then stop (Steiner, 1984). This is what makes up the foundation of transactional analysis point of view of alcoholism as a game that can be cured. In the same line of thought, transactional analysis is used by therapist while dealing with drug abuse based on the three phase model. This model has the child, Adult and the parent ego states (Berne, 1964).Based on these factors, the transactional analysis views alcoholism in the eyes of these ego states pointing out that alcoholism is a game.
Arguably, the parent ego state brings in the issue of making value judgments along with sound judgments of a behavior. This is to suggest that parent ego state will can either nurture the child or criticize. In this sense, treating somebody who is alcoholic will be based on the judgments the person is able to make. At the same time, such a person will reason critically concerning value judgments. From this point, a therapist can get to know whether the parent ego state is either critical or nurturing. Accordingly, an alcoholic in an adult ego state will bring out the issues of rationality, logic and making of informed decisions. This ego state marks the basis for transactional analysis in that a person can be made to think as an adult, think rationally and unmake the decisions made in the child ego state (James & Jongeward, 1996).
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Based on the dictates of TA, the effect of alcohol on the victim is to ensure that it knocks out the parent ego state in a person which is responsible for making judgments and moral inhibitions. At the same time, the adult ego state is knocked out in that the rational and the memory aspect is eliminated. This brings about a situation that the child remains to be free and does what he or she pleases (Steiner, 1971). In connection to this, more drinking may lead to a point of knocking out the child hence the person becoming unconscious. It is within the boundaries of remaining parentless and adult-less state that makes the child to behave as a free child. This is where the Lush player comes into the context.
In essence, lush alcoholic game player is in a state of desperation and unable to deal with the situation at hand. In this case, the only way to deal with the worries and the anxiety along with depression is by way of ensuring that the parent and the adult are wiped away by alcohol hence giving him room to act out the child ego state and thus at the same time avoid responsibility (Steiner, 1971).In every person, there exists the little girl or the little boy whose manifestation can be realized when person is subjected to certain conditions and situations. Often times, the adult ego state when is made to be alive, it helps an alcoholic to be in a position to think logically and thus come to a point whereby he or she is able make informed decisions and thus he or she is able to make the right decisions. Since the parent ego state can be sometimes critical rather than nurturing, the child ego state cannot be left to operate alone as it can lead to the total destruction of the individual.
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Generally, transactional analysis views drug abuse in terms of ego states of a child, parent and adult altogether (Nordegren, 2002). Moreover, TA states that drug abuse or in particular alcoholism is a product of repetitive patterns of transactions just as games are. In the same line of thought, drug abuse is portrayed as to be a product of decisions made in the child ego state which manifest in a regression situation. In the same line of thought, TA follows the life script which is a life plan adapted in childhood. It seeks to change this script since drug abuse is a decision that can be reversed. By so doing, an alcoholic can stop drinking and stop playing the game completely. Therefore, contracts are basis for transactional analysis as they initialize change as it is thought out that people are responsible for their lives and they know what best suits their lives.