Duplex transaction

The duplex transaction


A duplex transaction, the symbol of the intricate nature of human communication. Animals can’t do it, dogs say what they do and do what they say.


But so do humans in a way. We cannot, not do it. Our unconscious will communicate to others what we are really thinking and feeling, we can’t stop it. Our words usually say what we are wanting the public to hear but our unconscious will say what we are really thinking and feeling through our body language, paralanguage and so forth. We will tell the world what we are really feeling and thinking, its just a matter of being able to hear it.


How does one do that? As I have said to many trainee therapists over the years, turn down the audio and turn up the video. Stop listening with your ears and start listening with your eyes. Stop listening to the words being spoken and start watching what the client does. Many find this hard as we are told and taught as therapists to listen to what the client is saying. Indeed from the first time a child can understand the spoken word, parents are saying,

“Listen to what I am saying”

they don’t say

“Watch what I am doing”

and for very good reason. Because then they will see the parents’ Child ego state in its true colours and most, at least at times, would prefer that not too be seen. The most obvious example is when parents tell their children not to take drugs whilst they drink their wine, take their medications, smoke their cigarettes, drink their coffee and eat their chocolate. Is it any great surprise that some of the children will eventually take drugs when they are being told directly by the parent’s Child ego state to do precisely that.


However it is interesting that we cannot stop it. The unconscious will get expression. Humans will say (show) it each time they talk with others. Why would that be?  Maybe it is just for the therapeutic effect of catharsis. Humans feel better when they have said (shown) out what they are thinking and feeling inside, especially when that thing is troubling to them.

Despite the reason, we humans can’t keep a secret. We will say it out. The key is for the listener to stop listening and start watching. As a therapist it is certainly better to do this regularly with your clients.

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