Armyanskii ln., 4-2, Moscow, 101000, Russia


Ilya Shmelev1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Beyond the Drama Triangle: The Overcoming Self

2015. Vol. 12. No. 2. P. 133–149 [issue contents]

The article offers a comprehensive framework for analyzing and diagnosing the roles played in the Karpman drama triangle by using analysis of the states, behaviors, secondary gains, payoffs and marker words. The framework considers and describes specific instruments to step out of the script and possibilities of using those instruments in counseling. The author substantiates the potential of Overcoming Self, which is a particular formation within the Adult Ego-state that leads the subject towards an autonomous, realistic and responsible attitude to life and overcoming difficult life situations. The article demonstrates that in the process of communication all three roles are simultaneously played: while one of the roles is on stage, the other two thereafter; the  main role gives way to one of the background roles. The foundation of the author’s models of entering and exiting dependent relationships is Berne's theory of Transactional Analysis and V. Petrovskiy's multisubject approach. Both those theories help to demonstrate that one of the most important objectives for the counseling therapist is to reinforce and strengthen the client’s Self through the client’s undertaking of responsibility, for himself in the first place and thereafter for the lives of others (family, business and those surrounding him). The research demonstrates that in order to break the Gordian knot of the drama triangle, the counseling therapist needs to create such an environment, in which the client can reveal the inanity of script patterns and move from being dependent to forming, maintaining and relying on one’s own self as an integral subject through strengthening of the Overcoming Self. Choosing a responsible attitude, the client takes over her behavior and gets the opportunity to see herself as the author of her life events.

Citation: Shmelev, I. M. (2015). Beyond the Drama Triangle: The Overcoming Self. Psychology. Journal of Higher School of Economics, 12(2), 133-149
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