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Welcome to a practical pastoral counseling site of Dr. Harold L. White

 Every pastor can be a valued and competent counselor.

Trading Stamps

Rackets and games may be used to collect stamps.

In TA stamps are saved-up feelings or strokes which people use to justify some later behavior.
These collected feelings or strokes are called, “stamps,” because they are saved up
and cashed in for some prize, just like trading stamps were traded for many items some years ago.

Stamps can be collected for upsets, which are called brown stamps as well as for good deeds
which are called gold stamps.

Brown stamps may be a accumulated whenever a person is in her racket feeling,
such as when she receives a negative payoff at the end of a game.
For example, a dominated woman refuses to express her anger when her husband criticizes her.

Instead, she feels sorry for herself and collects brown stamps.
After five years or so, she may " cash in her stamps" to justify beating him up,
leaving the marriage, or some other behavior.

Gold stamps are collected and when a person feels a need to justify his behavior
by doing good things.
For example, a hard-working doctor may work for many years before he finally justifies his need
to take a short vacation.

A collected stroke or recycled feelings is not a gold stamp if it is reused only for pleasure
and not to justify any behavior or placed a condition on OK-ness.

Some people save only one kind of stamp, but most people collect both kinds.
For example, an alcoholic may justify a weekend binge by cashing in brown stamps
 -- "I've had such a hard week, I need a drink" -- or gold stamps --
" I've done really well lately, let's celebrate and have a drink."

I once counseled a CEO of a corporation who brought it back from bankruptcy to stability
and to profitability.
His used his gold stamp to take some cocaine which he had been free from for several years.
His success gave him an excuse to cash in his gold stamp.

Stamps are collected by people who feel not-OK about their behavior.
Some people cash in their stamps regularly for small prizes, like missing a day of work or failing a test.
Others save them for bigger prizes, such as divorce, suicide, homicide, or for going crazy.

Stamps are unnecessary and are used to keep a person from being autonomous by maintaining
her racket and forwarding her script.
The healthier the individual, the more she will directly and effectively express her feelings, wants,
and needs as they occur, rather than collecting stamps.

One of the goals of TA treatment is to help the client give up her existing stamp collection
and to stop collecting them.


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