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DO you ever catch yourself saying something and then realise you sound just like one of your parents? Or at other times feel a sense of raw emotion that somehow connects with your inner child? Occasionally we notice these things as they happen but more often, we interact from a parent or child perspective without even realising it.

Don't overindulge Transactional Analysis is a psychological approach that helps people to understand the dynamics of their relationships. The theory goes that at any one time we can interact with other people from the point of view of one of three parts that make up our personalities: the parent, the adult or the child.

When we interact from the point of view of the parent we think, feel and behave in a way that mimics what we learned from our own parents or caregivers.

The parent element of our personalities can be both nurturing (e.g. "Don't forget to wrap up warm when you go out") or critical (e.g. "Just look at the mess you've made!").

When we interact from the point of view of the adult, we respond to people rationally and logically based on what we are experiencing in the present moment. The adult part of our personality is the most objective and doesn't get clouded by our emotions.

When our interactions stem from the child, they are governed by thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are replayed from childhood.

Our inner child can be both "free," expressing spontaneity and playfulness (e.g. jumping for joy), or "adapted" to either comply with or rebel against others (e.g. getting cross when we don't get our own way). Interacting with others from the perspective of the parent, adult and child can all be perfectly healthy at different times. However, relying too heavily on one part can push people away and in the worst cases, create relationship breakdowns.

overindulge your Overindulging your inner child, for example, could come across as needy or unreliable while too much of your inner parent might come across as bossy or judgemental.

Consider your relationships and the balance between your inner Parent, Adult and Child.

If you're having relationship problems, addressing any imbalances with the help of a therapist may be one way forward.

| Doctor Ellie Milby is a counselling psychologist

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 13, 2017
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