Have you ever done the bring your child to work thing? You have, you may not know it, but you have, even if you don’t have any children. In a previous article, I wrote about ego-states and the Parent-Adult-Child model. That article looked at what is described as the Functional model, this model is best described or classified as the observable behaviour. The structural model can be described or classified as the stored memories or strategies (these are stored within the Parent or Child ego-state).
Now it may be worth stating that the ego-states are not things, rather they are the names given to describe or explore a set of phenomena – the thoughts, feelings and behaviours. The PAC model, represents sets of thoughts, feelings and behaviours, In Parent, this is the thoughts feelings and behaviours of someone who was important to me when I was growing up, when I’m in Child I am replaying the thoughts feelings and behaviours of the child I once was and when I’m in Adult I am showing the thoughts, feelings and behaviour of my real ‘grown-up’ self, right now.
You may recall (If you’ve read my previous posts) that we can split the ego-state model down further into Controlling/Structuring Parent or Nurturing Parent but I want to focus on the split within the Child – Adapted Child and Free Child. We’re in Adapted Child a fair bit of the time – the rules that we follow, the social conventions that apply to our everyday interactions that can help us get through our days easily and without conflict, this is the Functional Model of ego-states.
Now these rules and conventions that are taught to us and allow us to function mean that often we know how to behave (and even think and feel) even if we secretly resent the way we are expected to behave or the way that we are expected to feel following a particular event (perhaps following the death of a much-loved famous person or even a relative). Perhaps we may resent or feel uncomfortable about the way that we have been spoken to at work by a colleague or supervisor for example from their Structuring/Critical Parent ego-state that is inviting a response from our Adapted Child ego state.
Yet for a workplace to thrive or to flourish over-adaptation is ultimately unhelpful and whilst it would be lovely to believe that we can all engage in Adult – Adult interactions that is fantasy! There is another aspect of the Child ego state that is important, perhaps vital for a thriving, developing and innovative workplace. It is the Free or Natural Child ego-state. Now the Free or Natural Child ego-state can be where our creativity stems from (it can also be where a fair bit of chaos and disruption can flow from if we use too much of it) A third aspect of the Child ego-state is described as the Little Professor. The Little Professor allows us to process, test out and develop new ways of ‘being’ or new ways of creatively problem-solving. Now there is a danger that we can be in our Free or Natural Child too often and be too egotistical, too focused purely on our own needs and wants, yet the ability to access the Child in full consciousness is an essential aspect of having a balanced and emotionally healthy life. To deny it, to block it or lock it away denies us the opportunity to see and explore things with energy and wonder, it can allow us to fun and through fun develop and grow.
Golden Tree CIC recently delivered a number of Laughter Yoga sessions for University College London as part of their staff wellbeing programme. Within these sessions we talk about allowing yourself to be ‘child-like’ (notice the words, child-like not childish), as through laughter and play we can access this part of our psyche and draw in or cathect the energy from our free/natural child and consciously use that energy within our Adult ego state encouraging creative ways of thinking and engaging with colleagues.
So, back to the beginning, have you brought your Child to work? As I said you will have done but which one do you manifest most frequently?
Thanks for reading.