Original First Edition of Games People Play 1964 Eric Berne

Original First Edition of Games People Play from Eric Berne’s private library.

Thesis. This is a variation of “Psychiatry,” which is played hardest by young social scientists, such as clinical psychologists.  In the company of their colleagues these young people tend to play “Psychoanalysis,” often in a jocular way, using such expressions as “Your hostility is showing” or “How mechanical can a defense mechanism get?”  This is usually a harmless and enjoyable pastime; it is a normal phase of their learning experience, and with a few originals in the group it can become quite amusing.  (This writer’s preference is, “I see National Parapraxis Week is here again.”)  As patients in psychotherapy groups some of these people are apt to indulge in this mutual critique more seriously; but since it is not highly productive in that situation, it may have to be headed off by the therapist.  The proceedings may then turn into a game of “Greenhouse.”

There is a strong tendency for recent graduates to have an exaggerated respect for what they call “Genuine Feelings.”  The expression of such a feeling may be preceded by an announcement that it is on its way.  After the announcement, the feeling is described, or rather presented before the group, as though it were a rare flower which should be regarded with awe. The reactions of the other members are received very solemnly, and they take on the air of connoisseurs at a botanical garden. The problem seems to be, in the jargon of game analysis, whether this one is good enough to be exhibited in the National Feeling Show. A questioning intervention by the therapist may be strongly resented, as though he were some clumsy-fingered clod mauling the fragile petals of an exotic century plant. The therapist, naturally, feels that in order to understand the anatomy and physiology of a flower, it may be necessary to dissect it.

The description of this game on this page is incomplete.  For a complete description of this game, refer to Games People Play.