The Drama Triangle, understanding psychological games

Last week we started looking at games using the ideas suggested in Transactional Analysis. This week we will dig in a little further with another TA model called the “Drama Triangle” as developed by Karpman.

 Games can be explored further by looking at what happens with a Drama Triangle.  In transactional terms the interaction between people can be viewed almost as a theatrical performance. There are three main roles;




Players will circulate around the roles, until everyone has had a go at all three.

For example, in the case of a “Yes but..” game being played out between a coach and their client;

Client: Victim-like, sighs deeply and complains about an issue bothering them.

Coach:   Interested in rescuing the client offers ideas and solutions. (clue here, coaches usually help people find their own solutions!)

Client: Still in victim points out why the ideas won’t work.

This goes on for several rounds, solutions are offered and then demolished.

Client: Moves into persecutor and complains that the counsellor is making stupid suggestions and wasting time.

Coach:   Feels like a victim.

Coach:   Moves into persecutor themselves and accuses the client of not wanting to solve their problems .

Both parties could now keep switching between persecutor and victim. At this point the Coach really needs to take themselves off to supervision for some help. The supervisor will hopefully stay out of the game and help the coach gain some perspective. Sadly sometimes the game continues as parrellel process in the supervision group!

This is just one version of how this particular game could progress. Next week we will look at how games can be stopped.

About Melody @ GWizlearning

Melody spent fourteen years gathering experience of the business world working in banking, telecommunications and the public sector before co-founding The GWiz Learning Partnership in 1993. Melody has a Masters Degree in Applied Positive Psychology, a degree in Psychology and a diploma in Psychotherapy. She is an NLP Master Trainer which allows her to run NLP Practitioner, NLP Master Practitioner and NLP Trainer Training courses certified by the Positive School of Intrinsic Neuro-Linguistc Psychology. She is also a qualified Myers Briggs practitioner and EI practitioner and added to all this is five years Transactional Analysis training, meaning she is able to help organisations access the hidden potential in their staff. She is also in demand for her work in transforming average or even troubled teams into high performers. Melody is a visiting lecturer at University of East London, teaching "Wellbeing and Positive Psychology" to undergraduates. Additionally, she is a member of the CIPD and is ILM accredited. Melody's interests are many and varied. She has a keen interest in personal development, canine and wolf psychology, conservation, movies and running. She also enjoys western horse riding, walking the GWiz dogs, nature watching and stage combat (particularly sword fighting).
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One Response to The Drama Triangle, understanding psychological games

  1. Pingback: Relationship difficulties in trauma survivors: the Victim, Rescuer and Persecutor roles and the Drama Triangle | Trauma and Dissociation

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