In Blogs 21 and 22 I wrote about multi-party contracting. In this blog I am writing about the different levels at which we might think about contracting (Hay, 1995, 2012), and how we might link these in to the well-known 3Ps (Crossman, 1966: Steiner, 1968).
Contracting is a basic principle in TA - if no contract has been established we are not truly applying TA. Contracts may or may not be written down. A verbal contract is still a contract. The main point is that we discuss and agree why we are interacting when we plan to use TA to help someone grow.
I first introduced the following ideas in the first edition of my book entitled Donkey Bridges for Developmental TA; below is how I have developed the ideas a bit further for the second edition of that book which came out in 2012.
Contracts operate at different levels - all levels need to be clear to avoid unwitting sabotage.
The Eyes in the Corners
A key point of Fanita English’s (1975) article on the three cornered contract was that people fantasise about what the other parties have agreed between them. To demonstrate this, I draw eyeballs in each corner to emphasise that each stakeholder should have knowledge of the contracts between others (this may not include the content of what then gets done).
Protection, Permission and Potency
We can link the contract levels to:
Crossman, Pat (1966) Permission and Protection Transactional Analysis Bulletin 5:19 152-154
English, Fanita (1975) The Three Cornered Contract Transactional Analysis Journal 5:4 383-384
Hay, Julie (1995) Donkey Bridges for Developmental TA Watford: Sherwood Publishing
Hay, Julie (2012) Donkey Bridges for Developmental TA 2nd edit Hertford: Sherwood Publishing
Steiner, Claude (1968) Transactional Analysis as a Treatment Philosophy Transactional Analysis Bulletin 7:27 61-64
© 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.