OKness Revised: Modern Perspectives on the Concept of OKness in Transactional Analysis – Talk

The concept of OKness is one of fundamental principles of transactional analysis (TA). It was introduced into TA by Eric Berne in 1962 as an existential position and has since become one of TA’s main philosophical principles.

Whilst Berne never explicitly defined OKness as representing individual’s inherent worth, the concept began to denote it over time and has, as such, become regarded as an intrinsically humanistic in nature. Also, even though “I’m OK, You’re OK” was one of the life positions defined by Berne, it was only through time that it became one of the principles of TA.

How does OKness, as we know it today, differ to what we may see as its origins? Was OKness humanistic in its nature all along? How does OKness fit with psychodynamic, developmental, and attachment theories? Is the concept of OKness limited to TA? How can we see OKness through the knowledge we have accumulated since its conceptualisation? Do we need to revisit and revise it? How would that impact our identity as transactional analyst?

In this talk we will revisit Berne’s conceptualisation of OKness and look at it from today’s perspective. Berne often oversimplified and jumped steps in making conclusive statements when developing his theories, so his thinking often remains unclear. We will, however, look at the concept of OKness following what we might feel was his thinking at the time. We will finish with “wondering” how we as TA community feel about revising the concept and how that taps into our identity as transactional analysts.

Whilst the talk will revisit some of the theory on the topic of OKness, it will primarily be structured as a discussion. We will together hopefully create a new perspective on the concept.

The talk is suitable for audiences from all fields of TA (i.e. psychotherapy, counselling, organisational, educational) and any level of TA knowledge and qualification. Trainees from beginning to advanced years of training are welcome, as well as any of the qualified transactional analysts.

The talk will be given by Ales Zivkovic MSc (TA Psych) PTSTA(P).

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