Talk:Eric Berne

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I just discovered that Wikipedia needed this article. While I've tried to maintain NPOV, I must confess that I knew Doc Berne, and was a guest at several parties at his home in the late 1960s. So I've asked for someone to review this. While I'll try to avoid any edit wars, I will speak out for a generally favorable view of this sometimes contriversial genius. Lou I 19:59, 12 Sep 2003 (UTC)

The web site "" cannot be called "the official web site of Eric Berne" since he died in 1970 and therefore could never have had or even seen a web site, official or otherwise.

  • (My point of view in responce to your concerne) If anything, I think you could definitely get away with, and might even be negligent by w/out a greater attempt @ thoroughness. (Are "scripts" covered @ all [eg]?). Thaddeus Slamp (talk) 00:41, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

"Further Reading" section[edit]

In the further reading section, it would appear that someone has partially removed a reference to one of Berne's books. If there are no objections, then I will put back the missing text in approximately one week.

Nbahn 21:05, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

Eric Berne did not influence Timothy Leary[edit]

The only reference I can find from Timothy Leary's writings on Eric Berne is a remark in his biography Flashbacks suggesting that Berne himself took Leary's ideas on Game Theory and T.A. and popularised them with, Games People Play. See Flashbacks (1983), page – 196.

Berne's first paper outlining his ideas on T.A. might be traced back to 1958, with Principle of Transactional Analysis. I can't root out any earlier papers/books on actual T.A.. He did publish a lay person's guide to psychology in 1947, but this doesn't contain any writings on T.A.. Leary's similar, Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality, was published in 1957. Berne's introduction of the PAC (Parent Adult Child) concept wasn't used by Leary. I've read a great deal of Leary and I can't find any reference to it.

Leary delivered his introductory key speech on Game Theory at the International Association of Psychology in 1961 (p.46 Changing My Mind, Among Others). Berne's, Games People Play wasn't published until 1964. I can't find any references to Game Theory by Berne predating Leary's key speech in Copenhagen. Several people see Leary as being Berne's influence on Game Theory and T.A. Some examples:

Leary co-authored The Interpersonal Dimension of Personality in 1951, outlining the idea of the four Life Positions. The first guide I could trace to Berne's use of the four Life Positions was published after his death (1970) in 1973, in, What Do You Say After You Say Hello? I've gone through his published papers on the Eric Berne archive web-site and I couldn't find anything on the four Life Positions, AKA Life Scripts.

Leary describes introducing the concept of group therapy in 1947-48, in books like Changing my Mind, Among Others (pp. 5-6). In comparison Berne proposed a book to a publishing house on group therapy in 1954 (Berne Archive).

There's plenty of evidence to suggest that Leary influenced Eric Berne, but none to suggest that Berne influenced Leary. I'm left wondering why someone has placed Leary's name in the 'Influenced' box. So I've decided to remove the name.

To sum up: both men seem to have worked on similar themes around the same times. Neither credit each other for their ideas, however, Leary always appears to be slightly ahead of Berne, when you compare the dates of published papers & books. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:36, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Eric Berne/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Comment(s)Press [show] to view →
Much of the "Alcoholic" section is quoted verbatim from Games People Play...only without indicating that it's a (large) quote, but instead as if plain article text. The article author did a block quote in another section, although without introducing it with a frame like "Here is part of Berne's analysis of the game 'Alcoholic'", which I think is needed too, to make it clear that quoting is going on.

Berne's opinions on AA in particular here are pretty controversial (e.g., AA would say they refuse to play the Rescuer role, but take something like Berne's "Adult contractual position" on p.78 of the book), so the fact that he is being quoted (rather than the article itself discussing alcoholism) is important.

I would edit the formatting myself except that I would rather the whole quoted section be removed. I remember liking GPP in the seventies.

I'm also wondering whether the length of the quote exceeds fair use, or at least some Wikipedia (or common sense) limit on reliance on direct quoting. It's certainly too overly-focused to illustrate the man's whole life, unless you're trying to demonstrate that he had a tendency to take pot shots (did he?) or that he was on a crusade against AA (was he?). If fixed up, it might make a good example in the Transactional Analysis article...or maybe in an article about alcoholism.

Parts of "Alcoholic" section of Games People Play are available online here:

The whole book is visible using Amazon's "search inside this book" at

SteveWitham 05:07, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Last edited at 05:07, 27 June 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 14:35, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Benvhoff (talkcontribs) 04:06, 19 April 2018 (UTC)

Photo of "Games People Play" book[edit]

Please replace picture of book with a picture of a new book or at least one that isn't dirty. I don't see any reason to include the price of the book in 1960's dollars. That makes the book seem trivial. Thanks Benvhoff (talk) 02:04, 18 April 2018 (UTC)