Thursday, July 28, 2016

Different strokes: the social work life and transactional analysis

So my life as a social worker sometimes includes studying.  It should probably include it more as I am hoping to one day take and pass my licensing exam that I have literally been putting off for years.  Years!  It's getting a bit ridiculous.  But anyway, I digress.

In my supervision this past week with my supervisor, Theresa, we have been discussing the theory of transactional analysis by Eric Berne and she sent me some youtube video links and since then I have been enthralled.  It is such an interesting theory.  Check out these videos.  They are seriously worth a half hour of your life (10 minutes apiece).

Ego states & basic transactions



So, in case you didn't watch the videos (which you should!) or were super overwhelmed by them (which I was - and want to watch them like a million times over) - the basic idea behind transactional analysis is that each interaction between people is made up of what Berne calls "strokes."  Each stroke or "fundamental unit of social action" is either verbal or nonverbal.  Example, you say hello, I wave back.  These are the strokes that create day to day life.

While Freud believed in the Id, Ego, and Superego, Berne postulated the Parent, Child, and Adult ego states.  They boil down to this:  the parent ego reacts in the way one's own parents would - in a taught concept.  Examples of this include: Don't talk to strangers.  Eat your vegetables.  Clean your room.  The child ego reacts emotionally, like children do.  Examples include:  The monster in my closet at bedtime scares me!  My friend at recess was really funny.  The last ego state is the adult ego concept.  This is data-processing/learned concept/rationalizing state.  An example of this would include: When I forget to water the flower, it slowly withers.  I will water the flower every other day.

A simple suimmary:
Parent - taught concept
Child - felt concept
Adult - learned concept

Is this interesting to anyone but me?  Maybe just the social workers out there!  Haha.  My supervisor gave me the task of relating it to an example in my life - so mom and dad - you are the lucky winners! (it was hard thinking of something!)

I thought of how I split the monthly bill to the gym with my mom.  South Shore Health and Racquet Club draws $74 out of my bank account monthly which means that my mom owes me $37 each month.  She has yet to pay me for July.  In my analysis she is reacting from a child ego concept.  She did not feel like paying.  I (unfortunately) reacted from a parent concept demanding that she pay me back.

Had I reacted from a child ego state, I might have cried and gotten upset and said something like, "I feel like you don't even care about me at all!" - thankfully I did not do that!  Haha.  But had I been wise and acted out of the adult ego concept, I would have said something like "I would appreciate it if you paid me by the end of the week."  So when I talk to them tonight - that is what I will say.  :)

It's so interesting.  We obviously cannot change the ego concepts that other people act from.  But if you watched the videos, we can try and stop the games people play!  It's not easy.  But it's definitely doable, and oh-so-interesting!  I am hoping, now that I have this knowledge, to try and approach my life from more of an adult ego concept.  Not that that is always the perfect concept to be in - sometimes you need to be in the parent concept, or even child - depending on the situation.  But I feel like mostly the adult concept is best.

Anyway - if you want to learn more, read the books Games People Play by Eric Berne or I'm Okay - You're Okay by Thomas Harris or Transactional Analysis in Psychotherapy by Eric Berne.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 18, 2016

I tri'ed and did it!

I did it - I completed the Sister Lakes sprint triathlon!  500 meter swim, 13 mile bike, and 5K run.

I am so freaking proud of myself.  I did a Couch to Tri program through two different groups, the Sunset Coast Striders (a local running group) and the Tri-Avengers (a related local triathlon group).  We'd meet every Tuesday to bike, every Wednesday to run, and every Thursday to swim.  We started in April and the group culminated this past Saturday, July 16 at the Sister Lakes Triathlon!

The AMAZING Tri-Avengers group!
As far as the actual race goes...oh man it was fantastic - and tough.  The swim was probably the hardest part.  There were three yellow triangle buoys that we had to swim to/around.  I swam pretty well to the first buoy doing the strokes with confidence, but after I rounded that first corner I started panicking and was exhausted.  So, needless to say there was a bit of doggy-paddling, back-stroking and just random movements trying to move forward.  Which I did.  I eventually got around all three buoys and made it to shore.  PRAISE GOD!

Then came the bike.  I feel like the biking portion was my strongest leg of the race.  At first I got passed by what felt like millions of people.  But eventually I started passing people, which felt really good.  There was one girl that I passed, and then she passed me, and then I passed her - back and forth.  We both dismounted at about the same time.  I should have remembered her number to see who beat who in the end, but oh well!  So yeah, the biking went well (despite my seat not being at the right height...does anyone know how to fix that?  Every single time I raise it, it just plops back down!).

And then the run.  My legs felt like jello and lead at the same time - which is a really weird phenomenon.  My pace was slow, but I guess that's to be expected after competing in two other disciplines first, and not being good at knowing how to save energy and strength and all that good stuff.  But I did not walk!  Which was my goal - so I accomplished that and was quite proud of myself for that.

All in all, I completed the whole thing in 1 hour, 55 minutes, and 24 seconds.  Here's the time sheet with the breakdown of each discipline:

So!  I did it!  And I am SO stinkin' proud of myself!  I met some AWESOME people on the journey and have become a stronger person, mentally and physically, in the process.  It was tough, don't get me wrong.  There were times that I definitely did not want to go to practice.  Times that I wanted to bail (and times that I did).  Times that I just felt like giving up...but I did not!  And I am SO glad that I didn't!  What a journey.