Nurturing an Integrating ‘Adult’ in Integrative Psychotherapy

Linda Finlay

Abstract


A goal of transactional analytic psychotherapy is to ‘strengthen the Adult’: to develop a thinking, analytical part of Self that can manage overwhelming, problematic emotions. However, this understanding misses the layered complexity of what the Adult ego state offers and can also promote an unhelpful dissociation in the client which counters the essence and intention of Integrative Psychotherapy. In this article, I offer a way of conceptualising work with the Adult ego state as nurturing a client’s Integrating Adult – the cohesive, ‘grown-up’ part of our thinking-feeling-experiencing Self in the here-and-now, free of contaminations from old Parent and Child scripts. The article opens with an explicitly theoretical exploration of the TA concept of ‘Adult.’  In the second, applied section, I explore how we might work with the Adult ego state in our Integrative Psychotherapy work via three processes: decontaminating the Adult from Parent prejudices; deconfusing the Child; and nourishing the integrating Adult. The final section offers a case study illustration focused on nurturing a client’s Integrating Adult.


Keywords


integrative psychotherapy; transactional analysis; ‘Integrating Adult’; relational psychotherapy

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