The Circle Line

Who Are You?


Throughout history, and from all standpoints – philosophy, medical science, religion – people have found that every human has a multiple nature.

The famous Parent, Adult, Child’ model of the human psyche acknowledges our multiple parts and helps explain where these parts came from, how they were formed, and helps us understand ourselves in the present.

The Parent

The thoughts, feelings and behaviours that we saw in our parents and copied.

When we are in Parent this state we think, feel and behave as our real parents or caregivers did when we were children.

As James Baldwin, famous American novelist and essayist, said

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. They must. For they have no other models.”

In this state it is as if someone has pressed “play” on a recording and we repeat what we saw and heard without question. This might be values and morals – “treat others as you would be treated” – as well as emotions – for example never seeing your father cry.

The Adult

The Adult state consciously responds to the here-and-now reality. It is the only state that is not connected to the past.

If I asked you how to make an omelette you would probably tell me from your Adult state. Equally if someone dies and you grieve, you are responding in an appropriate way from your Adult part.

When we are in Adult we are aware of our thoughts, feelings and behaviours, why they are happening and we consciously choose them.

The Child

In the Child state we repeat thoughts, feelings and behaviours that we formed as a child.

From the excitement we feel at Christmas to the historic (and survival-serving) fear we had of being rejected or abandoned, this state is rooted in the past.


You can see straight off that out of the three of these parts of us, two of them are rooted in the past.  This can spell trouble in our relationships.

That is why it’s helpful to understand our multi-dimensional nature, and why we refer to it throughout our Programme.  Through education, self-awareness and therapy, we can update our Adult state with new information and challenge our Child and Parent patterns.


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