Onward Transitions Helps Families Safeguard Against Holiday Regression
Portland, ME – Onward Transitions (OT) recently hosted a video discussion for parents in preparation for holiday celebrations with their emerging adult children. Clinical Director Andy Derstine, LCSW, facilitated a conversation among the clinical team, in a pre-Thanksgiving “Family Forum” live stream that parents and family sponsors could tune in to learn more about the psychodynamic approach of Transactional Analysis (TA).
Developed by psychologist Eric Bern, TA focuses on the interactions between people as they communicate, consciously and unconsciously, cycling through three ego states. Derstine described ego states as “consistent patterns of thoughts and behaviors we engage in with people” TA’s five ego states often create complex dynamics and can sometimes cycle quickly leading to communication challenges. “The goal is to experience equal footing with the other person and return to what’s called the adult ego state as opposed to say the controlling parent or free child ego state,” said Derstine.
The clinical team described how they presented these concepts in their individual work with OT’s emerging adult members and the use of TA in four of the weekly clinical groups leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. The OT staff provided additional executive functioning support to members in apartment consults, managing travel itineraries, meal planning and preparation, and budgeting to help plan ahead for visiting family. “It’s not uncommon to see regression at home in all of us,” said Derstine as he asked viewers to be mindful of “slipping back into old patterns” and using old “triggering language.” The staff at OT use TA as a model to help facilitate relationship building, and Derstine encouraged families to do the same to help “make a positive experience” in their homes this holiday season.
About Onward Transitions
Onward Transitions (OT) in Portland, ME is a small, independent, owner-operated program for bright, motivated, emerging adults in the final stages of learning to live on their own. OT supports actual sustainable independent living and autonomy from two city locations. Participants (members) ages 18-29 never live with us; they live in their own apartments, scattered throughout the city. Members’ challenges include anxiety, depression, and executive functioning.