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Six people walk into a two-person conversation . . .

When two people start a conversation, it looks like, well, two people. Except that each of you has brought along a supporting cast: Your Parent, Child, and Adult (hat tip to Dr. Thomas Harris).

Think of these as tape recorders. The Parent recorder turned on when we were tiny and recorded all the “dos” and “don’ts” intended to keep us alive and thriving.

The Child recorder was making a record of how all those experiences and admonitions felt.

Both tape recorders are turned off at some point but are always ready for playback.

The Adult attempts to rationalize and harmonize those inputs while navigating the present causes and conditions. If we’re not careful, it can become easily overwhelmed.

It’s always helpful to check who’s in the conversation right now. Conversations between two adults are productive. Any other combination is not.