As a psychiatric practitioner, Thomas A. Harris was looking for ways to transcend the limited results and slow processes involved in conventional psychiatry. He wanted to offer people a unique, accessible, and affordable solution to resolve their life problems. The method of Transactional Analysis (TA), pioneered by Eric Berne, lent itself very well to be that solution.
Transactional Analysis is a psychotherapy model that is based on the idea that adults always carry remnants of emotionally intense childhood experiences. Harris uses this model to link it to the work of a brain surgeon named Wilder Penfield. The latter conducted pioneering experiments to uncover the neurological basis of memory.
Drawing from the work of Berne and Wilder, Harris proceeds to introduce readers to a simplified version of TA or what he calls the Parent, Adult, Child (P-A-C) Model. According to this simplified model, in any given situation, a person switches between one of three psychological states, namely the Parent, the Adult, the Child.
The model further explores how, over the transition from childhood to adulthood, an individual’s opinions take shape, either through conditioning by rules or through his/her own examination of the world around. The book also puts forth a set of four ‘life positions’, any of which an individual assumes depending on a particular situation.
After detailing the P-A-C model, Harris goes on to explain how this model can form the basis for a positive, improved future for any individual, regardless of what has or has not transpired in his/her past. He presents invaluable techniques to help readers achieve mastery over themselves, their relationships, and their future.
I’m OK, You’re OK was first published in 1967. Its popularity soared continuously and it stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for two years. It has been translated into more than twelve languages and has sold more than 15 million copies.
About Thomas A. Harris Thomas A. Harris was an American psychiatrist and author, best-known for his bestseller I’m OK, You’re OK. He also authored Live Life Abundantly!: Begin Now to Reach Your Lifetime Goals with 25 Goal-Achieving Techniques and co-authored Staying O.K.
He was born in 1910. In 1938, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas Medical School. He subsequently trained in psychiatry at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington DC. After working as a psychiatrist for the US Navy for several years, he taught at the University of Arkansas, and later practiced psychiatry in Sacramento, California. Harris was married to lecturer and journalist Amy Bjork Harris. He passed away on May 6, 1995, in Sacramento.