Want to tell a different story?


I have talked about the SCRIPT on a good few occasions. Here I mention a few more aspects that might help foster change through small, safe experiments

It’s possible to change the scenic route you are on – just by noticing the personal messages we created for ourselves. The messages that Drive us on and significantly shape our relationships with those around us. These messages eventually mature into Life Positions; statement we absorb about how we view ourselves and others. In time, these distill into short sentences such as I AM OK (or not), and THEY ARE OK (or not).

This page looks out a few more ‘trigger’ words and phrases that move this ‘decision-making’ along. It reflects on further antidotes to Script messages. Some of those common words and phrases are summarised in the rather complicated picture, above.

So making head-or-tail of the picture is yet another set of strategies to encourage our some curiosity!

Changing your script

My Script – my story built up through my past – impacts on my behaviour, TODAY. Behaviour develops patterns, and they can be changed. Those patterns can be seen in pithy phrases – even single words.

This material is based around the work of The Gouldings and Taibi Kahler, well summarised in Iain Stewart and Vann Joines book TA Today (1987).

The work of the Gouldings casts light on ways to respond when safe experiments falter.

Here are some of those further ways to think about practical safe experiments you can develop.

SIX patterns in SCRIPTS

You will not be surprised to hear that writers, from Freud onwardsm have connected Greek myths and personalities to different Script labels. Iain Stewart and Vann Joines place emphasis on the possibility of stepping outside these Scripts, once we are minded to do so.

Here are some of those labels for our Script – along with an example of a safe experiment called, here, a ‘Permission’. Which one seems reasonable ‘short-hand’ for the Script you have evolved?


……. based on Hercules waiting to be promoted to the gods, but required to do so many tasks to qualify.

Permission: enjoy today before finishing the task in front of you.


…. based on Damocles waiting for tomorrow to have a good time fearful that the sword dangling above him might fall at any time.

Permission: enjoy today whilst it lasts without over-doing it.


… where, like Tantalus, the donkey starves to death when condemned to stand on a barren island in a lake – with a store of food just out of reach – to the left and to the right.

Permission: do something, however small, each day. That’s a familiar mantra throughout this website.


….. written around the experience of Arachne, condemned to spin her web for all eternity when she had the temerity to challenge the goddess, Minerva, to an embroidery contest!

Permission: look for something new: do not repeat the same old things. Elsewhere, I mentioned that one definition of madness is to keep doing the same old actions, and still expecting things to change.


…. this is the story of Sisyphus; a Greek legend already mentioned.

Permission: to finish the smallest job – and then the next – just noticing each and every small victory as you achieve it.


….. a combination of Until and After. This Script is based on Philemon and Baucis, an elderly couple putting off an event lest “they do not know what to do with themselves” after it has been achieved.

Permission: take time to write the ending that you choose, and doing it.

As you look back on your life, as it has unfolded, which one of these Scripts ring a bell with you?

Changing a favourite Life Position

These Script messages can lead us to adopt specific life positions. If this line of experimenting piques your interest, devise an small safe experiment to discover how some of these Script messages might work together more usefully.

TA offers a number of matrices – one can be found at the head of this page

The aim of changing my Script is to:

Move toward Getting On With

…. myself and other people.

Pursuing this aim of Getting On With (GOW), changes one other life position:

I’m not OK and You’re OK with its tendency to …

…. toward acceptance of ourself and others through ….

such safe experiments as

Category of experiment: Boundary setting, Assertive Communication and developing the discpline of compassion.

Such experiments help turn ‘running away’, into stepping away. The behaviour may look the same but you make clear to others the limits you are operating in.

For example, instead of crossing the road to avoid some-one, you present a body image and facial expression to greet some-one politely and showing you can say ‘hello’ but you are not stopping. Then there is ……

I’m not OK and You are Not OK

Category: setting limits on vexatious thoughts and people by editing the internal dialogue. Then there is the avoidance of repeating specific thoughts and actions.

Such experiments commit you to find limits for the discomfort you may feel, for a length of time that works for you.

For example, there are some conversations with folk that go on and on; some conversations that seem to repeat themselves. Both are a form of negative looping.

A feasible response is to be explicit about the amount of time you have got available. Even phrases like “can’t stop; get in touch on Thursday“, can help. Notice the value of stating a specific time to avoid a dismissive attitude.

Then there is ….

I’m OK and You are Not OK

Category of experiment: Communicating from a different Ego State; from Adult rather than Parent or Child. Then there is work on inter-generational trauma and telling tales. Such safe experiments may foster reframing of our world-view.

Such experiments can help turn rejection of others into asking for time to respond differently,

For example, instead of feeling panic when faced with a demand from some-one, you summarise what’s going on and specify what you can do and when you will deal with. What you will not do is inferred by what is left out!

This gives you time to think if there is more you might do later on. At the same time, the response offers something – it is not a global rejection.

If all goes well, then you may find your 3P’s are strengthened.

Some leads to consider

Designing safe experiments

Stepping outside the Window of Tolerance (WOT)

Parts of the scenic route and experiments relating to them

Transactional Analysis

Actions that might make up a safe experiment

Taking a step at a time

An Index of all pages on Your Nudge