THE OTHER SIDE OF POWER by Claude M. Steiner


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The other side of power"" is what might be called self-possession, as opposed to controlling or manipulating others. Steiner is a proponent of transactional analysis, so he tends to define a situation in terms of such paraphernalia as strokes and transactions. He offers the would-be deflector of others' power-plays three alternatives: escalating the situation (kind of an oh-yeah, well-if-you-do-that-then-I'll-do-this response); applying the ""antithesis"" (a ""neutralization"" of the attempt to control, or basically a who-cares attitude); and cooperating (a middle ground between escalation and submission). Steiner likes to encourage a sort of gentle disobedience to authority-figures who use their position to maneuver you through power plays; he favors such durables as communication and loving confrontation. He also attacks-with some vigor--the consequences of living for the ""American Dream"" of power as money, status, etc.: true power would (for him) involve values of ""mind, body, and heart."" As with Steiner's earlier attempt to apply transactional analysis to Healing Alcoholism (1979), this will find a home primarily among the followers of Berne et al. who already expect their games to be catalogued and named, their roles rigidly defined. But the approach is undeniably positive, and that in itself is a welcome change.

Pub Date: July 15th, 1981
Publisher: Grove Press--dist. by Random House