The diagram below is the basis of the integrated Adult ego state model. Health is seen as staying in the Adult and thus remaining in the here and now in ones relationships and emotions. When there is no influence by the Introjected (Parent) or the archaic (Child) the Adult ego state can be in full contact with others and the environment and the person is operating in an age appropriate manner – Autonomy
The integrated Adult ego state model rests two assumptions:
1. It is possible for the Adult to not be influenced by Parent introjects and the fixations in the Child
2. That an Adult influenced by the Parent or Child is pathological. That it can’t have full contact with others and the environment if it is influenced by the Parent and Child.
This model rejects both these assumptions. It rests on a different assumption. Introjects and fixations are natural for humans to have and it is not possible for the Adult to be uninfluenced by them. Instead the Adult operates in the here and now and is also influenced by the past. It is not possible for the Adult to operate 100% in the here and now. Instead there is an ever present pull in us all to gravitate back to the past introjects in our Parent and the archaic fixations in our Child ego state in our current relating.
Secondly the Parent is comprised of both healthy and unhealthy introjects and the Child is comprised of both healthy and unhealthy fixations. For example we all make early decisions such as
Don’t get your needs met
Don’t be important
These then reside in the Child ego state as fixations. What redecision does is create new fixations. If such a person in adulthood redecides, “I am important” this becomes a new fixation that is also stored in the Child ego state.
In healthy relating the Adult is in contact with others in the here and now and is also relating to others based on past healthy fixations (and introjects). Again the assumption is that it is not possible to relate 100% in the here now with no influences from past fixations and introjects. This is not the natural human condition.
Hence we end up with an alternate diagram
In this model the Adult ego state by itself would be incompetent and incapable of communication. It would be like a babbling 3 month old child. It is the introjects and fixations that allow the person to develop more mature communication patterns because it has pre determined beliefs about self, others and the world. This allows the Adult ego state to selectively attend to a few pieces of information each second not the thousands that the babbling infant does. Hence mature communication can be achieved.
The grown up enters a conversation already knowing they are important (or not important). The babbling infant enters a conversation not knowing this (and a huge number of other things) so it is incapable of attending to the few pieces of information necessary to carry on a mature conversation.
I am not disregarding the neurological development that is also necessary for a child to develop conversation skills. Instead I am asserting that one reason why humans have evolved the ability to introject and have fixations is because it allows them to have pre determined beliefs and thus these can be relegated to the unconscious each time one enters a conversation. One does not have to think about them each time they talk. It’s like learning to drive a car. In the beginning one has to think of many, many things. As these become habitual they are relegated to the unconscious and one can attend to other things.
In essence the Parent and Child ego states free up the Adult to engage in higher level cognitive functions and relationship skills. Indeed the Adult ego state is dependent on having active Parent and Child ego states influencing it. They take away the unwanted chatter and white noise that so befuddles the the infant and makes it an imbecile. However the infant is 100% in the here and now. It is not possible for the mature adult to ever be so again but of course it still can engage in very intimate and full relational contact, because we do.