I’ve just returned from a a great trip to Krakow in Poland. Part holiday, part work I’m feeling invigorated by the experience. The work aspect involved my taking part in a workshop that will mean I can work as a Transactional Analysis supervisor and trainer of other psychotherapists; an important and exciting career development for me. What impacted on me most from this experience were two things: having a sense of the truly international membership of Transactional Analysis and secondly, that in spite of language barriers and cultural differences, there are often ways that we can communicate with others.
The European Association of Transactional Analysis has over 8000 members and there were people from Germany, Belgium, England, Scotland, Ireland, Russia, Italy and the Ukraine on my workshop. Some speaking English, others communicating through a translator. What struck me was, that in spite of the language and cultural differences, we had a common framework that we could use to communicate through Transactional Analysis (TA). In some ways that does make this a unique experience, and even with TA there are national and cultural differences and I found it fascinating to explore this with my colleagues.
Since I’ve been back I’ve been thinking about this experience and how we communicate in a more general sense with others. Are we aware of the similarities and differences between us? How often do we make assumptions about others? On this workshop there were people from 8 different countries where cultural and language differences were very clear: every day in our interactions with people, at work and out and about, we make contact and are communicating with people whose “culture” is likely to be different to ours. Sometimes because of a difference in country of origin and sometimes just because they were born in a different part of town.