Monday, 20 December 2010

Travel Chaos!!

With the amount of snow that has fallen it is unsurprising that many people are encountering the stresses and strains of delayed journeys or of unfulfilled plans.  This results in a whole range of reactions. A common one is that of anger, cue pictures of passengers shouting at the train conductor or airport manager bringing news of further delays. Another reaction might be that of passive acceptance, a slump-shouldered withdrawal that is giving up on any active engagement with what is happening. These two reactions can, from a psychological perspective, be seen as examples of how different personality states operate. The first, the angry one,  may reflect what can be termed a 'parental' state,  in which an individual's authority is asserted in a direct way, perhaps with limited relevance to the actual outcomes such an approach might provide. The second, the withdrawal, may be more of a 'child' state, whereby the individual reacts in a way that diminishes his or her capacity to influence what is happening. Within psychology, is often the 'adult' state that is seen as the most healthy way or responding in many situations. This state, based around reasoned analysis, responsibility taking and reality testing, allows a measured response that addresses the actual nature of the circumstance being encountered.  It might involve assertiveness (not the same as aggression) where necessary, and/or decisions being made that reflect the actual responsibilities and limitations arising from the situation. As one stranded passenger stated, "once I knew I wasn't flying this morning there was nothing I could do to get there in a way that wouldn't cause me more stress than I wanted to deal with. I decided there and then, but with sadness and regret, to go home,  contact friends and enjoy what remained of the Christmas break" It is this kind of response that would typify the 'adult' state.

It is goal of much psychology to strengthen our ability to act from the 'adult' part of our personality. In testing times such as, however, this this might be easier to say than to do..

You can find out more about the model of psychology discussed here, Transactional Analysis (TA) on its Wikpedia page as follows, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transactional_analysis

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