“I need more sex, OK? Before I die I wanna taste everyone in the world.” ANGELINA JOLIE
By Alex P. Vidal
My late friend, publicist Edwin Alcozero, swallowed the report hook, line and sinker that the author of I’m OK-You’re OK, the book that “changed the lives of millions” in the 70s and 80s committed suicide; thus, he cast doubts on the “pioneering” efforts of Dr. Thomas Harris in the field of Transactional Analysis, efforts that have already revolutionized therapy procedures throughout the world.
“Everyone is going gaga over this book but, unfortunately, the author committed suicide and his credibility suffered a big blow,” Edwin lamented.
Before Edwin’s shocking disclosure of Harris’ alleged suicide came, Atty. Ernie Dayot had already recommended to me this book when we were inside the book sale store in the Robinson’s mall. Dayot, the “Socrates of Iloilo,” goaded me to read the book and compare the views of Segmund Freud, Somerset Maugham, and Eric Berne (founder of Transactional Analysis) on the impression of human nature which has been expressed mythologically, philosophically, and religiously.
In the United States, I discovered that Harris’ death was a hoax. The American psychiatrist from Sacramento, California died of natural cause on May 6, 1995 not of suicide. I failed to relay the story to Edwin who died in Iloilo City, Philippines in 2008.
Harris translated startling theories into easily-understood language and adapted key ingredients of successful behavior change into practical advice, after helping countless numbers of people help themselves establish mature, healthy relationships.
He observed that there have been many reports of a growing impatience with psychiatry, with its seeming foreverness, the high cost, its debatable results, and its vague, esoteric terms.
“To many people it is like a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn’t there,” Harris warned. “The magazine and mental-health associations say psychiatric treatment is a good thing, but what it is or what it accomplishes has not been made clear. Although hundreds of thousands of words about psychiatry are consumed by the public yearly, there has been little convincing data to help a person in need of treatment overcome the cartoon image of psychiatrists and their mystical couches.”
Harris said one difficulty with many psychoanalytic words is that they do not have the same meanings for everybody.
“The word ego, for instance, means many things to many people. Freud had an elaborate definition, as has nearly every psychoanalyst since his time; but these long, complicated constructions are not particularly helpful to a patient who is trying to understand why he can never hold a job, particularly if one of his problems is that he cannot read well enough to follow instructions,” he explained.
According to Harris, “there is not even agreement by theoreticians as to what ego means.” Vague meanings and complicated theories have inhabited more than helped the treatment process, he added.
Harris cited Herman Melville’s observation that “a man of true science uses but few hard words, and those only when none other will answer his purpose; whereas the smarter in science…thinks that by mouthing hard words he understands hard things.”
Harried added that “the vocabulary of Transactional Analysis is the precision tool of treatment because in a language anyone can understand, it identifies things that really are, the reality of experiences that really happened in the lives of people who really existed.”
The most important question we will ever have to answer probably is, “Are you OK?” wrote Harris. Right now, whether we are aware of it or not, Harris said all the relationships with the most important people in our life “are strongly influenced by a combination of how you feel about yourself (OK or not OK) and what you think of them (again, OK or not OK).”