Rewriting Your Own Script

Updated: Dec 4, 2021

When life seems predictable, unchanging or an endless cycle of melodrama, you might feel out of control. helpless or even hopeless. The concept of Life Script belongs to a model called Transactional Analysis, which is a model of personality, developed by Dr Eric Berne in the 1950's. TA is a method used in psychotherapy, counselling, education and in organisations. This article is concerned with the psychotherapy of Life Script.

Life Script is the unconscious life plan laid down in early infant-hood and childhood that evolves over time. The infant makes decisions about the environment, others and himself based on early interactions with parents and caregivers. Mis-attuned care can lead to decisions being made by the infant about his experience that become the blueprint for his life plan.

The experiences the infant has are laid down in neural networks as his brain develops. These become embedded when experiences are repeated or are impactful. People whose childhoods were stressful or whose care was mis-attuned, for example by a mother who was depressed or otherwise emotionally unavailable, experience an emptiness inside. We call this emptiness 'emotional deficit.’ Sounds pretty damning but actually, the good news is that emotional deficit can be healed. If you feel this might be you then help is at hand. You can heal the wounds that still have you repeating negative patterns especially in your relationships.

If the predictable, unchanging or endless cycles of experience seem familiar to you, you might want to change them but only if they pose a problem or are causing you difficulty. I've entitled this article, Rewriting Your Own Script because it is possible to change repeating and self-limiting patterns. In TA we call these patterns Life Script or Script and the aim in therapy is to help people create a new Script, or manage their existing one.

Working with Script involves getting underneath self-limiting patterns and finding what drives them. In my upcoming posts I’ll be looking at different types of Script and how to work with them. So if you feel stuck or want to change the things that seem to repeat, Script analysis can be a way forward. You can best do this with a Transactional Analyst Psychotherapist or you can start to make small changes yourself with a view to understanding your own processes and motivations. You can find a list of TA therapists on the UKATA website or if you are local to Maidstone, Kent, you can contact me for an initial appointment.

There are several ways to tackle Script issues using the TA model. You can begin with a Script analysis using a Script Matrix or a Script System to analyse your reinforcing memories, parental messages you heard regularly, such as ‘Try hard,’ or ‘Hurry up.’ Or implicit messages that came through fearful or angry parenting that have a prohibitive feel to them. The inferences usually begin with a ‘Don’t.’

In TA these implicit messages are called injunctions and the explicit or heard messages are called Drivers (or counter injunctions). That’s why looking at driven behaviour is key, whilst also being mindful of the implicit encodings that remain. Parents and caregivers usually have good intent but often unknowingly, they were inhibiting the healthy development of their children. The task in therapy is to develop those parts of the self that were stymied.

I work in Maidstone and have weekday and Saturday appointments available. Email me here.

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