s4c Research

 

The Impact of Trauma on our Current Life Stories

A Humanistic and Transactional Analysis Enquiry into the influence of Trauma on Personal and Cultural Life Scripts (Unconscious Relational Patterns)

Trauma
“a damaging experience or set of experiences, particularly as the cause of psychological problems.”
(Tilney, T., 1998. Dictionary of Transactional Analysis.)

Script (Life Story)
“an unconscious life pattern based on early decisions made, usually out of awareness, in childhood.
This may take many years or even a lifetime to run its course.”
(Tilney, T., 1998. Dictionary of Transactional Analysis.)

 

The overall purpose of this research was to investigate and explore how trauma, or unhealed damaging experiences, and the resulting patterns of response, could be influencing and affecting our individual and cultural life stories or scripts.

The core of the research was undertaken between March and October 2013, with interviews conducted with seven key Transactional Analysis therapists. – Ian Stewart, Mark Widdowson, Richard Erskine, Michael Gavin, Claude Steiner, Fanita English and Adrienne Lee. Each interviewee was given the same cover letter and set of interview questions. (See pdf document below).

With a view to publishing the key elements of this work, an article has been written for submission to a publisher that weaves and synthesizes the responses from the interviews.

In addition a similar questionnaire and cover letter were distributed to over a hundred individuals in the counselling profession, either practicing or trainees, during the same time period between March and October 2013. (See pdf document below.)

This will be written up in the coming months and posted on this website. The results were not considered robust enough to warrant exploring publication, either separately or as part of the article using the interviews.

Originally there was a desire to also explore how significant the role of today’s media is in the perpetuation of the patterns of response to trauma. However during the course of this research it was decided that this was an additional topic that needed further independent inquiry.

 

“Traumatic events call into question basic human relationships. They breach the attachments of family, friendship, love and community. They shatter the construction of the self that is formed and sustained in relation to others. They undermine the belief systems that give meaning to human experience. They violate the victim’s faith in a natural or divine order and cast the victim into a state of existential crisis.
(Herman, J., 1992/1997.
Trauma and Recovery, The aftermath of violence – from domestic abuse to political terror.)

 Life scripts are formed from incomplete experiences
that become fixated as habitual patterns of attitudes and behaviours.
(Adapted from Erskine, R., 2010. Life Scripts, A Transactional Analysis of Unconscious Relational Patterns.)

“My years of observation have persuaded me that not only sufferers of severe post-traumatic stress, but the majority of us, live in a state of semi-permanent emotional shock. We forget traumatic incidents, don’t remember how we felt, and don’t know anyone who would listen patiently and sympathetically long enough to sort it all out. Consequently we go through life emotionally anesthetized, with most of our feelings locked up in our hearts, constantly disappointed in a wary and unreceptive world.”
(Steiner, C., 2003. Emotional Literacy, Intelligence with a Heart.)

 

More information will be uploaded as the project progresses.

 

Trauma & Lifestories Interview Questions WEB
Trauma & Lifestories Questionnaire WEB