In Blog 4 in this series I reproduced an article of mine about Special Fields TA (Hay, 1993). Within that I commented on multi-party contracting, when exploring how therapists are likely to have two-party contracts – therapist and client – whereas once an organisation is involved there are at least three corners – analyst, organisation, individual – and possibly more. I included the diagram below and commented that educational and counselling applications may be closer to either end of the scale, depending on circumstances.
Over the years I’ve realised that there are often many more parties, or stakeholders, to be taken into account when contracting.
In 1995 I diagrammed a four-cornered contract to illustrate a mentoring relationship, using a dotted line to indicate that there was no direct contract between the mentor and the manager of the mentee even though something definitely exists at the psychological level.
By 2007 I had developed much more complex multi-party contracting diagrams. The diagram below represents a practitioner who is operating within a consortium to coach a client in a different organisation (such as when local authorities come together to run joint coaching or mentoring schemes).
This diagram also illustrates an additional factor about contracting – drawing it in two dimensions means that every triangle cannot be equilateral – which emphasises that this balancing between each trio of stakeholders is very difficult to achieve in real life! Nelly Micholt’s (1992) material about psychological distances is highly relevant here.
In Part 2 of this blog I will show you another multi-party contract that represents what it is like as a practitioner if you are working with a teacher in a school. I will also show you an even more complex multi-party contract, that I had to work with as a volunteer psychotherapist within a prison context.
Hay, Julie (1993) What is Special Fields TA? The Script XXIII:8 Nov
Hay, Julie (1995/1999) Transformational Mentoring Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill, republished Watford: Sherwood Publishing
Hay, Julie (2007) Reflective Practice and Supervision for Coaches Milton Keynes: Open University Press
Micholt, Nelly (1992) Psychological Distance and Group Intervention Transactional Analysis Journal 22:4 228-233
© 2018 Julie Hay
Julie is a fan of open access publishing so feel free to reproduce any of these blogs as long as you still attribute it to her.