Concept

I'm OK – You're OK

Résumé
I'm OK – You're OK is a 1967 self-help book by psychiatrist Thomas Anthony Harris. It is a practical guide to transactional analysis as a method for solving problems in life. The book made the New York Times Best Seller list in 1972 and remained there for almost two years. It is estimated by the publisher to have sold over 15 million copies to date and to have been translated into over a dozen languages. In the preface, Harris praises the then-new procedure of transactional analysis (TA, or as Harris often refers to it, P-A-C) as a major innovation addressing the slow process and limited results that he and other psychiatric practitioners believed was characteristic of conventional psychiatry. Rather than working with abstract concepts of consciousness, Harris suggests that the pioneering work of brain surgeon Wilder Penfield in uncovering the neurological basis of memory could offer complementary insights grounded in observable reality. Specifically, Harris emphasizes reports of Penfield's experiments stimulating small areas of the brains of conscious patients undergoing brain surgery (the brain does not have any pain receptors, so this can be done in relative comfort for the patient). Though the patients were conscious that they were on an operating table, the stimulation also caused them to recall specific past events in vivid detail—not just facts of the event, but as a vivid "reliving" of "what the patient saw and heard and felt and understood" when the memory was created. Based on these experiments, Harris postulates that the brain records past experiences like a tape recorder, in such a manner that it is possible subsequently to relive past experiences with all their original emotional intensity. Harris continues by linking his interpretation of Penfield's experiments to the work of Eric Berne, whose model of psychotherapy is based on the idea that emotionally intense memories from childhood are ever-present in adults.
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