Background and education
Eric was born on May 10, 1910 as Eric Lennard Bernstein in Montreal, Canada. (He is unrelated to the conductor/composer Leonard Bernstein.) He was the son of a physician and a writer, David and Sara Gordon Bernstein. His father died in 1921, leaving Sara with Eric and his sister, Grace (who was five years younger).
Bernstein attended McGill University, graduating in 1931 and earning an M.D. in 1935. While at McGill he wrote for several student newspapers using pseudonyms. He followed graduation with a residency in psychiatry at Yale, where he studied psychoanalysis under Dr. Paul Federn. He completed his training in 1938 and became an American citizen in 1939. In 1943 he changed his legal name to Eric Berne. He continued to use pseudonyms for whimsical articles in the Transactional Analysis Bulletin, often as Cyprian St. Cyr ("Cyprian Sincere").
Berne's training was interrupted by World War II and his service in the Army Medical Corps. After working at Bushnell Army Hospital in Ogden, Utah, he was discharged in 1945. He resumed his studies under Erik Erikson at the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute and practiced at Mt. Zion Hospital.
In addition to technical papers on psychoanalysis, Berne published The Mind in Action in 1947. He became a group therapist attached to several hospitals in San Francisco. He also began to further extend of the Ego State Model of Dr. Federn.
Berne's work began to diverge from the mainstream of psychoanalytic thought. He published his work in several technical journals, but met with largely negative reactions. His break became formal in 1949 when he was rejected for membership in the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute.
Berne wrote a series of papers and articles on intuition, describing in one popular exposition his apparently uncanny ability to guess the civilian occupation of soldiers from just a few moments conversation with them. His musings on the faculty of intuition led to his groundbreaking work on transactional analysis.
Berne mapped interpersonal relationships to three ego-states of the individuals involved: the Parent, Adult, and Child state. He then investigated communications between individuals based on the current state of each. These interpersonal interactions he called transactions; certain patterns of transactions which popped up repeatedly in everyday life he called games.
His seminar group from the 1950s developed the term transactional analysis (TA) to describe therapies based on his work. By 1964, this expanded into the International Transactional Analysis Association. While still largely ignored by the psychoanalytic community, many therapists have put his ideas in practice.
In the early 1960s he published both technical and popular accounts of his conclusions. His Structures and Dynamics of Organizations and Groups in 1963 examined the same analysis in a broader context than one-on-one interaction.
In 1964 Berne published Games People Play which became an enormous bestseller and made Berne famous. The book presented clear everyday examples of the way in which human beings get caught up in the games they play, giving the games titles such as "Now I've got you you son of a bitch." Some of his terminology became a part of everyday vocabulary.
Transactional analysis of drinking
In Berne's explanation of transactions, when the transaction is a zero-sum game, e.g. one must win at the other's expense, the person who benefits from a transaction (wins the game) is referred to as Black, and the victim is referred to as White.
The transactional object of the drinking, for example, aside from the personal pleasure it brings, could be seen as being to set up a situation where the Child can be severely scolded not only by the internal parent but by any parental figures in the immediate environment who are interested enough to oblige. It is the same in the game Schlemiel: the messmaking, which attracts the most attention, is merely a pleasure-giving way for White to led up to the crux, which is obtaining forgiveness by Black.
There are a variety of organizations involved in 'Alcoholic’, some of them national or even international in scope, others local. Many of them publish rules for the game. Nearly all of them explain how to play the role of Alcoholic: take a drink before breakfast, spend money allotted for other purposes, etc. They also explain the function of the Rescuer. Alcoholics Anonymous, for example, continues playing the actual game but concentrates on inducing the Alcoholic to take the role of Rescuer. Former Alcoholics are preferred because they know how the game goes, and hence are better qualified to play the supporting role than people who have never played before. Cases have been reported of a chapter of A.A. running out of Alcoholics to work on; whereupon the members resumed drinking, since there was no other way to continue the game in the absence of people to rescue.
According to this type of analysis, with the rise of rescue organizations which publicize that alcoholism is a disease, alcoholics have been taught to play "Wooden Leg".
The role of the addict
Roles: Victim (addict), Persecutor (usually spouse), Rescuer (often family member of same sex), Patsy (enabler), Connection (supplier)
Pastimes: Martini (how much I used) and morning after (look what you made me do). Many addicts find unlimited access to these pastimes in organizations such as AA.
The game is played from the Victim role as "see how bad I've been; see if you can stop me." The purpose is self-punishment and the garnering of negative (persecution) strokes and positive ones of forgiveness, and the vindication of an "I'm not OK" existential position. The game often becomes elaborated into a self-destructive life script, especially if the parents were also chemically dependent.
Effective antithesis and cure can be achieved through psychotherapeutic script analysis, redecision, relearning. 
Berne was married three times. His first wife was Elinor McRae. They married in 1942, had two children, and divorced bitterly in 1945. In 1949 he married Dorothy DeMass Way, by whom he also had two children before their divorce in 1964. After his popular success, Eric married a third time, to Torre Peterson in 1967. The couple took up residence in Carmel, California where he wrote, but he continued some clinical work in San Francisco. This marriage also ended in divorce in early 1970.
- ↑ Eric Berne, Games People Play, pp. 73-81.
- ↑ http://frogsandprinces.dawntreader.net/appendixa.html#aa
- The Mind in Action; 1947, New York, Simon and Schuster.
- The Structures and Dynamics of Organizations and Groups; 1961; (1984 Paperback reprint: ISBN 0-345-32025-5).
- Transactional Analysis in Psychotherapy; 1961; (1986 reprint: ISBN 0-345-33836-7).
- Sex in Human Loving; 1963, Beverly Hills, California: City National Bank.
- Games People Play: the Psychology of Human Relations; 1964 (1978 reprint, Grove Press, ISBN 0-345-17046-6); (1996 Paperback, ISBN 0-345-41003-3)
- The Happy Valley; 1968, Random House Publisher, ISBN 0-394-47562-3
- A Layman's Guide to Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis (Paperback); 1975, Grover Press; ISBN 0-394-17833-X
- What Do You Say After You Say Hello?; 1975; ISBN 0-552-09806-X
- Eric Berne by Ian Stewart; 1992, Sage Publications, ISBN 0-8039-8466-9; (Paperback: ISBN 0-8039-8467-7).
By Eric Berne, M.D.
- Posthumous tribute website for Dr. Eric Berne
- American National Biography article
- International Transactional Analysis Association web site
- United States Transactional Analysis Association web site
- curso Eric Berne
- Complete Bibliography of Dr. Eric Berne
- A summary of Games People Play
- Some social games with links to game descriptions
- The Karpman Triangle/Berne
- Faces of the Victimbg:Ерик Берн
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