Games People Play (book)

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Games People Play - The Psychology of Human Relationships  
2004 version
Author Eric Berne
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Psychology
Publisher Grove Press
Publication date 1964
Media type hardback
Pages 192

Games People Play (subtitle: The Psychology of Human Relationships) is a famous 1964 book by psychiatrist Eric Berne. Since its publication it has sold more than five million copies.[1] The book describes both functional and dysfunctional social interactions.


[edit] Description

In the first half of the book, Dr. Berne introduces transactional analysis as a way of interpreting social interactions. He describes three roles or ego-states, the Child, the Parent, and the Adult, and postulates that many negative behaviors can be traced to switching or confusion of these ego-states. Dr. Berne discusses procedures, rituals, and pastimes in social behavior, in light of this method of analysis. For example, a boss who talks to his staff as a controlling parent will often engender self-abased obedience, tantrums, or other childlike responses from his employees.

The second half of the book catalogues a series of mind games, in which people interact through a patterned and predictable series of "transactions" which are superficially plausible (that is, they may appear normal to bystanders or even to the people involved), but which actually conceal motivations, include private significance to the parties involved, and lead to a well-defined predictable outcome, usually counterproductive. The book uses “Boy, has he got your number” and other casual phrases as a way of briefly describing each game. Often, the "winner" of a mind game is the person that returns to the Adult ego-state first.

It is important to note that not all interactions or transactions are part of a game. Specifically, if both parties in a one-on-one conversation remain in an Adult ego-state, it is unlikely that a game is being played.

Presently, more than 10,000 people around the world define themselves as transactional analysts. Though it is sometimes derided as popular psychology in professional psychoanalytical circles, it is useful to examine certain social situations with the method of psychoanalysis.

[edit] Origin and spinoffs

In the 1950s, Berne synthesized his theory of "human gaming," building on Freud's psychodynamic model, particularly the "ego states", developing a psychology of human interactions called transactional analysis.[1] Transactional analysis, according to physician James R. Allen, is a "cognitive behavioral approach to treatment and that it is a very effective way of dealing with internal models of self and others as well as other psychodynamic issues."[1]

"Games People Play" is a song written, composed and performed by singer/song-writer Joe South inspired by this book.

NBC used the title of the book as the title of a 1980-81 TV series centering on unusual sports.

In 1993, American psychologist-turned-author James Redfield self-published the The Celestine Prophecy influenced by the theory of Berne's human gaming. Specifically, the life games to which Berne refers in his book is a tool used in an individual's quest for energetic independence.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b c Berne, Eric (1964). Games People Play – The Basic Hand Book of Transactional Analysis. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-41003-3. 

[edit] External links

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