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Reflections from Berlin (2) by Karen Pratt

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Feb 062018

Workshop: The Same but Different – the Paradox of Belonging
Presented by Lis and John Heath (both TSTA -P)

Lis and John – having been in a marriage for a considerable number of years, considered what it means to be in a committed relationship and keep one’s own sense of self, and at the same time create a rich shared sense of the we-ness of the relationship.

They shared some thought provoking quotes such as:
“You can only be like someone if you are already different from them” – Adam Phillips

Some key points in the workshop were:

Autonomy vs homonomy
They explored how autonomy in each partner can enable both individual growth as well as intimate belonging by each having an authentic encounter with the other, and being willing to receive and hear without interpretation. Sometimes partners find themselves competitive in terms of the Parent values each holds – can we be open to hold different values? Are we willing to be close (Child to Child energy) or do we stay protective of our individual sense of who we are and avoid closeness for fear of being “swallowed up” in the other?

My culture? Your culture? Our culture?
Each partner comes from their unique family culture and in relationship creates a new shared culture – are we open to do this, or are the cultures of our families of origin / ancestors held on to with rigidity and a refusal to think differently?
We need to be open to co-create a new shared culture which is always changing and alive.

Symbiosis and healthy togetherness
The initial point of attraction in a relationship often has symbiotic elements. We look for what we lacked when we were growing up, in a partner. We need to give up what we never did get in the past, and then we can be open and available to get what there actually is right now in the relationship.

They described symbiosis as “ belonging TO somebody”, and a healthy intimate relationship as “ belonging WITH somebody” – a paradoxical sense of separateness and togetherness.

They shared a new ego state diagram that captures this:
The intersecting parts of the 2 Parent ego states represent the new, always emerging shared co-created culture, the intersecting parts of the 2 Child ego states represent the shared history of intimate and authentic experiences, and the relationship is always grounded by the Adult to Adult co-creative relationship – dynamic and present centered but unique and separate.




This separateness and togetherness is a dynamic process – it’s not dependant on what’s gone before and a continuing striving to reinforce old patterns – it’s being present in the here and now in the integrating Adult. Intimacy carries a high risk – it is unpredictable. Each partner needs to be secure enough in themselves to be able to endure the unpredictability of intimacy. This doesn’t mean we want to have a flawless, perfect, game-free relationship. They remind us that games can be viewed as gateway towards intimate relating if we are prepared to stay with the dynamic honestly and openly and learn from it.

Questions for reflection

We had time to consider some provocative questions, sharing with another person in the workshop. I invite you to consider them holding in mind one of your intimate relationships:

  1. What aspect of myself am I wanting the other person to see? / What in me is longing to be known?
  2. What aspect of the other do I think that they long for me to know / see?
  3. What would I be prepared to give up in order to improve this relationship?
  4. What might I like the other to give up?

Final thoughts

Although John and Lis were speaking from their own personal experience of their marriage, I think the principles have a wider application to our many relationships – with colleagues, friends and acquintances.

Living in the dynamic multicultural milieu of South Africa – what principles might be useful to consider as we relate to people the same as, or different from us? How do we remain authentically powerful within ourselves and at the same time authentically in relationship with the other?

2017 Webinar 6- Rosemary Napper: Do you Practice TA Interculturally? Part 1

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Nov 142017

This recording is part 1 of the webinar. You can find parts 2 and 3 on the “Webinar” playlist on our YouTube channel.

This is for TA learners who work with people from different cultures: family cultures, ethnic cultures, organisational cultures. In the modern world this is probably all of us whatever our field of practice.

Takeaways include:
• ways to work through intercultural OKness
• contemporary ways of conceptualising culture in TA
• consideration of the tugs between the different cultures that you are part of.

Webinar project update

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Oct 162017

Our webinar project which we started in 2016 and have continued this year has been well received, not just by our South African members, but also by members of the TA community worldwide. We have run eight in total with six in 2017, many of which are available on our YouTube Channel.

It has been exciting to connect with a diverse community across the globe, with a greater reach with our latest co-initiative with the Institute of Developmental Transactional Analysis (IDTA). SATAA and IDTA are now sharing access to our online webinars. We welcome all IDTA members and look forward to keeping the SATAA community updated about IDTA webinars.

Our webinars are on opportunity to discuss, for example, powerful encounters with colleagues from India, the Emirates and Eastern Europe led by a Dutch facilitator, Lieuwe Koopmans, in September. Here is what Sharon Deal thought from September:

“The latest webinar with Lieuwe Koopmans on “The Power of Encounter” was thought provoking, stimulating and has left me wanting to know more. On a personal level I realised again how my busyness keeps me from powerful encounters with myself and others. This in itself has begged some deeper questions that require answers. I have downloaded his book “This is me” and will continue on my personal journey of understanding WHY I do the things I do. This webinar again was a reminder of how powerful a tool in your hand TA is in taking individuals and teams through a process of transformation. Thank you Lieuwe for sharing your wisdom and taking us through a powerful process. Thank you SATAA for providing this learning space.”

Meeting colleagues repeatedly at these webinars is strengthening our collegial bonds as well as professional development. Rosemary Napper will be leading our November webinar looking at practicing TA Interculturally. Watch out for our invite which will be coming soon. Find more details here.

Karen shares her impression from the TA Conference in Berlin, July 2017

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Oct 102017

I was delighted to be able to attend this conference during the last week of July. Since 2005, I have travelled most years to many and various wonderful destinations for TA conferences. The anticipation and excitement of re-connecting with colleagues from all over the world, is wonderful! This time a Swiss TA educator, Evelyne Papaux, and I decided to share a small apartment in the city. It is a great way to get a feel for the city – having to commute to the conference venue each day. We also had free time to explore the city.

Berlin is a fascinating city – a mixture of wonderful old architecture and very modern buildings, as so much of Berlin was bombed during the war. One of the most moving experiences outside of the conference proper, was a 2 hour guided walk along the Berlin Wall – as it happens it was an early evening with the rain pouring down! Even though we were really cold and wet by the end, it seemed fitting weather for the topic. Being informed of the inhumanity as well as courage and resilience shown by humans was both sad and inspiring. Hearing old recordings of both officials and ordinary people speaking, seeing the memorial to the 137 people who died trying to cross the wall, seeing images of people jumping out of windows being caught (or sometimes not) was a deep experience for me.

A delightful experience was seeing the Berlin Bears all over the city – and especially the United Buddy Bears project – bears decorated from artists all over the world “holding hands” in solidarity.

The Conference was a buzz of people (about 960 of us) from all over the world. The excitement of seeing people that I hadn’t seen for a year or two – plus meeting new people. We were spread over 2 parts of the Technical University with so many workshops running each session that it sometimes became difficult to choose – I wished I could have mastered the art of bi-locating! A special moment at the Celebration event at the end of the conference was the awarding of the European Association of TA (EATA) gold medal to Trudi Newton – one of the foundational educational Transactional Analysts in the educational field of application of TA.

Layo and I will be sharing some of the learning from the workshops we attended, in the next few newsletters. We hope you will be excited to read something about each workshop over the next few newsletters:

1) The Same but Different – the paradox of belonging – How do we hope the paradox of being in a committed relationship, keeping our own sense of self but also creating a rich shared sense of the we-ness (Presented by Lis and John Heath)
2) Boundaries as Chances: Effective and intense relationship work – TA and animal assisted interventions. (Presented by Anette Dielmann and Kathy Christina Pithan)
3) Learning imagoes and their usefulness in different types of learning (Presented by Trudi Newton & Giles Barrow)
4) Meetings – Boundaries – Learning – Teams; a workshop looking at ways to structure and run team meetings, in order to increase effectiveness and innovation. (Presented by Mandy Lacy)
5) Liminality – how we hold and work with this in change (Presented by Giles Barrow & Trudi Newton)
6) VUCA – Effects on Leadership and Organisations; An inspiring workshop about leading and making decisions in a world, that is Volatile, Uncretain, Complex, and Ambiguous. (Presented by Günther Mohr and Natalia Berrio Andrade)
7) Some key ideas from the panel discussion on the 4 fields of TA
8) Functional Fluency and Leadership (Presented by Anette Dielmann and Jutta Kreyenberg)
9) The difference between explicit and implicit knowledge (Keynote by Dr Abel)

Layo shares her impression from the TA Conference in Berlin, July 2017

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Oct 102017

Berlin, July 27th – 29th 2017 was my very first experience of a TA conference. Walking towards the Technical University of Berlin on that first conference morning, I remember academic encounters (which had nothing to do with TA) at that same place from many years before. Quantitative research comes to mind… statistics… My mind’s eye adds images of management scholars in suits and ties presenting findings with power point and text. Feelings of excitement as well as boredom are part of these memories. I call myself back to the present and look around me. People are gathering in the foyer. I see smiles, hugs, clothing from conservative business casual to colourfully eccentric. I see diversity. In the middle of it all I see the conference banner: BOUNDARIES – A PLACE… TO MEET… TO DEVELOP… TO DEFINE IDENTITY.

All these people are here to consciously meet in this city that was divided by a wall going through it in the past. I get goosebumps. I have never seen so many TA people in my life and I’m glad that I am one of them. As if to support this thought, someone waves at me. In recognition and with joy, I wave back. I am meeting Susannah Temple (the originator of Functional Fluency) and Jane Hicks (company secretary of the Fluent Self CIC) face to face for the first time after many emails and skype conversations. This is so easy, so natural!

That is what I end up enjoying most about the three conference days in Berlin: spending time with really nice, open, authentic people; chatting over coffee and dinner with people I’ve met and worked with before; making new connections with new people in interactive workshops in overfull seminar rooms and during break times walking up and down long flights of stairs, because the lifts are way too full already. We are all human. We are all working on developing ourselves. I’ve never experienced such a vibe of acceptance and togetherness at any academic conference and I love it. At the same time, I understand why some people I studied with box TA people as airy-fairy and not-serious. If we are busy experiencing and developing all the time, we don’t get around to checking, documenting and communicating to the world how TA concepts and methods actually impact on the well-being and effectiveness of human beings in their private and professional lives.

The keynote speaker on the second day – Dr. Mark Widdowson (who was awarded the ITAA Research Award at the conference) – clearly named this when he stated that TA research is in its infancy and called loudly for people to please contribute to its growth. This really got me thinking about boundaries between experiential development and scientifically tested and accepted knowledge… and I’m not done thinking yet.

Cultural Scripts with Di Salters

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Jun 172017

Diane explores some of the TA tools that can be useful in exploring and working with diversity; in particular Pearl Drego’s work on the Cultural Parent and various approaches to Cultural Scripting.

Gain an understanding of the concepts of Cultural Parent and Cultural Scripting, together with some experience of reflecting how cultural patterns have impacted their own lives. Participants discuss how they might apply this learning to their professional context.

Understanding Impasses with Chitra Ravi

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Jun 012017

“Understanding Impasses” with Chitra Ravi

Based on the work of the Gouldings and Ken Mellor, the webinar will explore and create an understanding of impasses. The webinar provides a space for participants to identify “stuckness” in their current situation and explore early influences which may have contributed to it.

Chitra Ravi has a Masters Degree in Psychology and is a Teaching & Supervising Transactional Analyst (Psychotherapy). She has been in the field of psychotherapy for over 15 years.  She is the founder of Seed TLC at Bangalore, India which provides psychotherapy services, foundation and advanced Transactional Analysis training courses for psychotherapists.

Giles Barrow- Cultivating Clients

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Mar 142017

The webinar introduces participants to the idea of cultivation and its implications for practice.

The session is aimed at anyone who works with others in support of growth and learning. This might include coaches, educators and counsellors.

Participants will walk away with:

– an understanding of cultivation as a way of framing professional practice;
– an introduction to levels of competency through the work of Howells, (1982), Clarkson(1994),  and Barrow, (2011);
– integration of TA concepts of accounting and discounting with levels of competency and the role of the practitioner

Facilitator: Giles Barrow is a teacher, trainer, educator with experience in schools, adult and community education and TA training and supervision. He has written numerous articles and books on educational themes including relational aspects of teaching and learning, school culture and leadership, adolescence, script and learning and educational theory and philosophy. In addition to and combined with his professional educational work, Giles also runs a small farm in rural Suffolk, which is the base for teaching and learning amongst children, young people and adults.