In 1992 I showed symbiotic thinking using my own model of internal ego states (see Blog 13) using the way that TA authors typically showed it as Parent and Adult in one person and Child in the other, although I did point out that it involved “possibly Adult, although this ego state may be missing altogether” (Hay, 1992, p.108).
In the second edition (Hay, 2009) I had amended my diagram to exclude Internal Adult, as shown below.
In both the 1992 and 2009 editions of that book, I made it clear that ego states within an organisational hierarchy involve the use of Parent and Child only, bypassing Adult. I also pointed out that trainers often unwittingly reinforce similar unhelpful patterns.
This is in line with the way that Schiff & Contributors (1975) diagrammed ego states when they were illustrating the concept of Frame of Reference, showing that Adult, like Parent and Adapted Child, was an adaptation in the service of the Natural Child. For some reason, they did not use this convention for their diagrams about symbiosis elsewhere in the book; presumably they switched ego state models.
With this version of Adult, it makes sense to include it within symbiosis. It also makes sense if we are describing a healthy symbiosis, if we assume that the baby has only Child ego state and the caregiver puts their own Child needs aside temporarily.
However, if we are using a model of ego states in which Adult is regarded as being in the here-and-now, it makes no sense to suggest it would take part in an unhealthy symbiosis.
Hay, Julie (1996) Transactional Analysis for Trainers Watford: Sherwood Publishing
Hay, Julie (2009) Transactional Analysis for Trainers 2nd edition Hertford: Sherwood Publishing
Schiff, Jacqui & Contributors (1975), Cathexis Reader: Transactional Analysis Treatment of Psychosis, New York: Harper & Row Publishers Inc
© 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.