The Activity of Listening  

The Encounterer

"The Encounterer" was the newsletter of the Golden Gate Foundation For Group Treatment, Inc.  It was written and edited by Franklin H. Ernst Jr., M.D.

      Many of Dr. Ernst's contributions to Transactional Analysis were introduced and developed in "The Encounterer." These included carrying forward Dr. Berne's earliest thoughts about OKness (I'm OK and You're OK, I'm OK and You are not-OK, I'm not-OK and You are OK, I'm not-OK and You are not-OK). See also the "Transactional Analysis Bulletin", not listed here. Berne's initial quest was to define the decision, commitment, and position that a small person made and commits his life to proving is reasonable.

      Dr. Ernst carried this thinking forward and kept the work of Tom A. Harris M.D. in mind ( See "I'm OK, You're OK" by Dr. Harris). Dr. Ernst showed that the idea of OKness is much more than a fixed life position. A person's OKness or not-OKness is in every day events and their dynamic movements, eg. get-on-with, get-away-from, get-nowhere-with, and get-away-from. These terms describe dynamic movements in life with the expenditure of energy that occurs between individuals during their social encounters.

     Another contribution by Dr. Ernst, initially presented in "The Encounterer," was the theory of specific finite and describable moves within the fabric of social games. Specific moves in the colloquial are "Hook", "Angle", "Con", "Gimmick", and "Payoff". In more formal language (1) the "Hook" is the Tentative Angular Transaction, (2) the "Angle" is the Committed Angular Transaction, (3) the "Con" is the Tentative Duplex Transaction, (4) the "Gimmick" is the Committed Duplex Transaction, (5) and the concluding move is the "Denouement," The Payoff.

      Dr. Ernst has told the story of an event that occurred during the time of his association with Dr. Berne. "Berne told us and showed us of having received a private written warning from Sam Slavson. Berne read it to some of us after the conclusion of a teaching seminar." [Berne also wrote and copied here from the Transactional Analysis Bulletin 2:5, Jan. 1963, pg 45, it reads in part: '... The fact that we are beginning to get in people's way and that one eminent gentleman even proposes to eradicate us as weeds that blemish his creation ...' S.R. Slavson, Acta Psychotheraputica. 10:62-73, 1962.]  "As some of us have witnessed Sam Slavson's promised destruction, most of our seminars were destroyed. Some have remembered Slavson treat patients. Currently this writer does not know of any Transactional Analysis Seminars that continue in existence. Every single one of the hundreds of TA seminars previously in existence have seemingly had troubles 'of their own making' and have fallen apart, ostensibly due to character problems of those holding these seminars together and leading them. This writer knew Sam Slavson fairly well and this writer knew Eric Berne M.D. quite well. Sam arrived in the USA from Romania in 1922 and he founded The American Group Psychotherapy Association. It continues today. It's current 'treatment standards', as read by the writer, look pretty tough to meet for a 'new treater.' "

      As a service of the non-profit Golden Gate Foundation for Group Treatment, Inc. the single sheet news service THE ENCOUNTERER was started.  A total of thirty-nine (39) issues were published. The original images are presented here to show how they looked and new images have been created in order to make for easier reading.






Encounterer Archives 

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