As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I have seen many couples over the years. Not surprisingly, the ones that come to my office have conflicts with their partner. The issue that needs most work is how the couple can communicate better. One of the patterns that couples repeat is reactive communication. Through our sessions, we get to figure out why one or both of the partners are reacting so strongly. Eric Berne, a psychologist, in the 1960’s, developed a type of therapy called Transactional Analysis. Berne suggests that it is the transactions between people that get them to react in communications. He hypothesized that all people had 3 internal states-Parent, Adult, Child and that these are triggered in couples communications.
Nick Davies, a psychologist in Australia, does a great job of explaining these internal states in the following video:
Let’s take a look at the following slides to see specifically how this works: [click on the slideshare button in the lower left hand corner to hear the narration]