I will not go into detail here about how different transactions can be analyzed (as “parallel”, “complementary”, or “crossed”) or how we distinguish between “here-and-now” transactions and those that are habitual for a particular individual who seeks help, so he or she keeps setting up the likelihood of frustrating crossed transactions.
However I do want to add here that strokes are not always experienced as “positive”, like pleasant caresses or “negative”, like blows, and that what I may like when I am in one ego state I may dislike in another, or under different circumstances, as in the example of Susie above. There are also “crooked strokes” that seem positive, but have negative effects, thus generating what other schools of therapy call “double bind” consequences.
Ultimately, any kind of strokes may be preferable to none, for otherwise a person may feel “discounted”, like a piece of unimportant furniture. Some individuals can become quite provocative when they feel discounted, and they may seek to obtain attention at all costs. There are also people who actually prefer to invite negative or crooked strokes, because such input corresponds to the kinds of strokes they were raised on and thus feel like “homemade soup.” Even though it may contain some poisonous ingredients, it is reminiscent of what they were “fed” in childhood. It may take some time for them to develop a taste for healthier forms of nourishment.
One reason why it is useful to work with clients in groups rather than in individual sessions is that in a group it is easier for both the client and therapist to recognize helpful or harmful patterns of transactions. However, for practical reasons, treatment, counseling or coaching can also take place in individual sessions. TREATMENT CONSIDERATIONS