Feeling stuck? Maybe this is why…

Do you ever feel stuck with something? Maybe a work situation, or something you want to do (or not do!) but never quite get round to making the change?

We’re complex animals, and sometimes we end up stuck on something because the real reason for the ‘stuckness’ is yet to be uncovered.

In Transactional Analysis (TA), a model of human communication, thinking and behaviour, we recognise that sometimes we get stuck on one thing because we discount the real reason for our stuckness. We might be busily trying to change a part of our lives that we don’t like – and yet we get stuck with it because somewhere out of awareness we are ignoring, or discounting, another thing that has to change first.

It may be that we’ve decided to get fit and start jogging. And yet, here we are on the sofa some months later, partly thinking about it and partly giving ourselves a hard time for not doing it.

So what’s really going on?

We know that some of what we do is unconscious – we don’t consciously make our hearts beat – and we know that there are degrees of consciousness.

When we think about going running, we paint a picture of what it’ll be like, and that picture is based on an internal model of the world we hold according to the rules we’ve learned and absorbed from others as we’ve grown. It may be that we briefly alight on “What if the neighbors see me in my lycra!” and before we are even fully conscious of the thought we’ve identified a really good reason to do the laundry instead.

Somewhere in our internal worldview are the ingredients and mechanisms for what’s really stopping us from going running, and there’s a really useful model in TA for uncovering these deeper blockers.

‘Steps to success’ is one of many tools in the TA world, and it’s a way of understanding the hierarchy of things that need to be in place for us to make changes. It’s a tool developed by Julie Hay, based on Ken Mellor’s discount matrix, which helps us understand where a blockage really lies.

We can discount:

Situation         We aren’t aware of a thing

Significance     We’re aware of it but don’t recognise why it’s important

Solutions        We know it’s important but don’t realise it can be changed

Skills                We know it can be changed but don’t think we can change it

Strategies        We think we could change it – if only we knew how…

Success            We know how to change it but somehow we’re not able to do it

This is usually drawn as a staircase – see Julie Hay’s work here.

By working with our clients to uncover what’s really going on for them, TA therapists enable them to understand and solve the deeper issues they have, to climb the staircase up to success and achieve what they really want.

Joe Mattinson

Joe Mattinson is a student at The Link Centre: “As an Operations Manager in a large educational charity I found that my job was all about the people, but it was always framed as being about ‘business’ and finance. Three years ago I attended a TA101 and loved it so much that I decided to do a Foundation Year in Transactional Analysis. The knowledge I have gained has been enormously helpful both personally and professionally and I’ve carried on into Clinical Training in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

I’m now in my 3rd year, have left my job and am in 2 placements, working towards my Diploma in Counselling later this year.”

The Link Centre  offers a range of courses for general interest or to gain national and international qualification and accreditation in Counselling and Psychotherapy. They offer an accredited TA101 weekend for all those interested in learning more about self and others, through to Counselling Diplomas and/or Psychotherapy and Supervision qualifications.

We also run other short courses, including FREE Wellbeing Wednesdays, evening sessions focusing on common themes in life, from bereavement to addiction to relationships and beyond for anyone who is interested.

If you’d like to come along, but something is stopping you, remember that if you do you might even find out what it is…!




Any Questions? Call us on 01273 466522

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