Transactional Analysis Journal
April 2012, Volume 42, Number 2
International Transactional Analysis Association
Review by Nancy Porter-Steele
The title is accurate. This brief book is refreshingly simple and practical, readable and interesting. Boyce uses very few TA words, writing in ordinary colloquial language. For experienced transactional analysts, this is a book to recommend to all clients and patients, as well as to use in reviewing one’s own knowledge and skills at recognizing invitations to Games, and avoiding them.
Boyce selects a few very common Games as “samples” of drama, and uses these scenarios repeatedly, examining them from various angles. The first chapter invites the reader to recognize what drama looks like, and to set up a “drama chart” which will become the template for working through real life examples in order to learn to reduce drama in one’s own life. This “mission possible” continues throughout the book.
The second chapter presents the four drama roles, Karpman’s Persecutor, Rescuer and Victim, and also the “audience”—called by some TA practitioners the “bystander”. Boyce explains that these roles are taken on the basis of discounting. He introduces the drama triangle, and the degrees of intensity.
In a chapter titled “Dramatic Purpose”, Boyce discusses the reasons that people engage in dramas, and briefly yet effectively explains each reason, including the need for strokes and the dysfunctional rules of the “stroke economy”.
“You’ve Had It Up To Here” introduces drama free interactions, and how to accomplish those, beginning with stopping discounting, continuing with contracts and boundaries, asking for what you want, and having options.
Then Boyce returns to the samples of drama he has previously presented, and how each could instead be a drama-free exchange. He confronts the question whether living free of drama might be boring. He ends with a challenge about ending life either dramatically or drama-free. End-notes credit the various transactional analysts upon whose work this book is based.
I unreservedly recommend this book.
Nancy Porter-Steele, T.S.T.A., lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, where she practices psychotherapy and participates in training therapists.