I'm OK--You're OK

Front Cover
Harper Collins, Jul 6, 2004 - Self-Help - 320 pages
9 Reviews

Transactional Analysis delineates three observable ego-states (Parent, Adult, and Child) as the basis for the content and quality of interpersonal communication. "Happy childhood" notwithstanding, says Harris, most of us are living out the Not ok feelings of a defenseless child, dependent on ok others (parents) for stroking and caring. At some stage early in our lives we adopt a "position" about ourselves and others that determines how we feel about everything we do. And for a huge portion of the population, that position is "I'm Not OK -- You're OK." This negative "life position," shared by successful and unsuccessful people alike, contaminates our rational Adult capabilities, leaving us vulnerable to inappropriate emotional reactions of our Child and uncritically learned behavior programmed into our Parent. By exploring the structure of our personalities and understanding old decisions, Harris believes we can find the freedom to change our lives.


What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

I have read half of the book so far, and I think I've got the gist of what the reader is trying to convey.
The book is written in a very straight forward, accessible way which makes it easy for
everyone to pick it up and start reading it. Firstly, the idea of CPA is introduced carefully. we see many examples of appearance of each of them in our daily lives. The examples, discussions, arguments they all more or less make sense to me . Then he talks about how this theory can be utilized in order to interpret different social behaviours. It states what we need to avoid, what we need to be, and how those can affect our communication with others around us.
I certainly believe I can incorporate what I have learnt here in my life.

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Thomas Harris does a good job explaining complicated ideas about how people interact and how we manage ourselves. His explanation of the three ego states (Parent, Adult, and Child, which I believe are modern names for Freud's Id, Ego, and Super-ego) really changed how I view myself. I plan to read it again and digest and retain more. It's a little unfortunate that he named it "I'm OK--You're OK" because many ignorant people think it's about tolerance, reject it, and have no idea how good this book is. I would have named it something like, "Harnessing Your Best Self" maybe. It's good, anyway. Read it, learn it, live it. You'll get stronger and better by doing so. 

All 5 reviews »


Freud Penfield and Berne
Parent Adult and Child
The Four Life Positions
We Can Change
Analyzing the Transaction
How we Differ
How We Use Time
PAC and Marriage
PAC and Children
PAC and Adolescents
When is Treatment Necessary?
PAC and Moral values
Social implications of PAC

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 120 - Descriptively it is a recurring set of transactions, often repetitious, superficially plausible, with a concealed motivation; or, more colloquially, a series of moves with a snare, or "gimmick.
Page 241 - That depth is what the word God means. And if that word has not much meaning for you, translate it, and speak of the depths of your life, of the source of your being, of your ultimate concern, of what you take seriously without any reservation.
Page 54 - game" as "an ongoing series of complementary ulterior transactions progressing to a well-defined, predictable outcome.
Page 14 - If two or more people encounter each other in a social aggregation, sooner or later one of them will speak, or give some other indication of acknowledging the presence of the others. This is called the transactional stimulus. Another person will then say or do something which is in some way related to this stimulus, and that is called the transactional response.
Page 255 - I'm not going to kill that man in there! You hear him hollering? He's hollering. He can't stand it. What if something happens to him? . . . I'm not going to get that man sick in there. He's hollering in there. You know what I mean? I mean I refuse to take responsibility. He's getting hurt in there. He's in there hollering.
Page 11 - The demonstration of the existence of cortical "patterns" that preserve the detail of current experience, as though in a library of many volumes, is one of the first steps toward a physiology of the mind. The nature of the pattern, the mechanism of its formation, the mechanism of its subsequent utilization, and the integrative processes that form the substratum of consciousness— these will one day be translated into physiological formulas.
Page 100 - Giving is the highest expression of potency. In the very act of giving I experience my strength, my wealth, my power.
Page 27 - Penfield's observation that the subject feels again the emotion which the situation originally produced in him, and he is aware of the same interpretations, true or false, which he himself gave to the experience in the first place.

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2004)

The late Thomas Harris was a Navy psychiatrist and a professor at the University of Arkansas. He practiced psychiatry in Sacramento, California and directed the Transactional Analysis Association.

Bibliographic information