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updated May 10, 2010



OK Corral




Franklin H. Ernst Jr., M.D.




"Transactional Analysis in the OK Corral: Grid for What's Happening"

"Getting Well With Transactional Analysis: Get-On-With, Getting Well and Get (to be) Winners"

"Guide to the User Friendly OK Corral: Grid for What's Happening"

"OK Corral: Grid for What's Happening. Eric Berne Memorial Scientific Award Acceptance Speech / Boston, August 14, 1981"


Transactional Analysis in the OK CORRAL: Grid for What’s Happening. This is the diagram for classifying the outcomes of the events in your life:
      Get-On-With, Get-Away-From, Get-Nowhere-With, or Get-Rid-Of
YOU CAN CHOOSE how you want a situation to come out BEFORE the end of it. Not all events can end in a get-on-with. To have a get-on-with for some events, you can choose to have other events come out in one of the other three ways. You cannot get-on-with everybody and everything. Healthy people use each one of the four ways at least once a day.          
            One person’s get-on-with is also the other person’s get-on-with.
                  One person’s get-away-from is the other person’s get-rid-of AND vice versa.
                  One person’s get-nowhere-with is the other person’s get-nowhere-with.

The arrow points on the four sides of the grid show there are four kinds of strokes a person can give: “I Am OK,” “I AM Not-OK,” “You Are OK,” “You Are Not-OK.” One person strokes the other, gives words (gestures and/or touches) to move (stimulate) the other, AND MORE: to move the other person to the extent that first person gets words given back, to complete one transaction. Whatever else, while transactions are continuing, the parties are negotiating the answer to the psychological-business questions of “What are we going to do with each other?” and “How is this going to come out?” For the persons involved, the ending will come out in one of the four corners of their respective OK Corrals when they have arrived at a psychological-level form of (mutual) agreement about each person being OK or Not-OK.
      “I Am OK” is drawn to the right. For example: “I am going ahead.” 
      “I Am Not-OK” points to the left. For example: “I am going backward.”
      “You Are OK” points up. For example: “I look up to you; think well of you; admire you.”
“You are Not-OK” points down. For example: “I look down on you; think poorly of you; give you a put down.”
When used for named people, insert the first person’s name at the ends of the horizontal axis and the other person’s name at the ends of the vertical axis.
People form alliances, friendships. The “I Am OK (or Not-OK)” becomes a “We” after “I” and “You” have negotiated to become a “We;” “You” recruit “Me” or “I” recruit “You,” either way. The “We” are now dealing with others. The others can be a “You” (singular or plural), “He,” “She,” Named Person, “They” or Named Group. Then the “We” are listed on either end of the horizontal axis instead of “I” and the other party on either end of the vertical axis.
 “You Are OK” Strokes: for example “Either way (you take it), you are OK with me!” “It’s on me!” “Treat is on me!”
“I Am OK” Strokes: for example “Either way (you take it) I AM OK!” “It’s on you, if you will be OK with me or not!”
“I Am Not-OK” Strokes: for example “It’s because of me!” “It’s my fault!”
“You Are Not-OK” Strokes: for example (the jeers, put downs and psychological rackets) “It’s because of you!” (It’s ALL MY FAULT means “It is your fault!”)
All four kinds of strokes are useful.
Transactions of games are built on combinations of the four kinds of strokes: they will usually include more than one stroking (dynamic) arrow in the transactions given and received.
      SOCIAL PROCESS is the long range trend of a person’s or a group’s life.

      In closing: the strokes a person exchanges during his/her encounters with others (encounter by encounter) have consequences.


Encounterer - - - - - - - Franklin H. Ernst Jr., M.D.

Copyright 2010

Copying of publications and diagrams for non-commercial purposes is authorized. Permission to use, to copy granted when source credited. Permission is hereby granted to any person, magazine, newspaper, other periodical, or media to reprint any monograph or art work in any single issue of the periodical in question, so long as two conditions are met: (1) the monograph or art work is printed word for word, including diagrams, figures, and footnotes, and (2) the following reference is given at the bottom of the first page on which the reprinted article begins: "This article is taken from (name of title, author's name).; published by Franklin "Harry" Ernst III, Addresso'Set Publications, P.O. Box 3009, Vallejo, California, 94590, USA."