Eric Berne Quotes

Who is Eric Berne?

Eric Berne was a Canadian psychiatrist who created the theory of transactional analysis as a way of explaining human behavior.

Berne is best known for his pivotal book 'Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships'.

Born May 10, 1910
Died July 15, 1970

Books by Eric Berne


Best 68 Quotes by Eric Berne | Page 1 of 3

“A consecrated fetishist does not usually make a very good husband unless he finds exactly the right woman.”

Eric Berne

“A real person can be defined as follows: one who acts spontaneously, but rationally and with dignity, while taking into account the interests of other people.”

Eric Berne

“All your decisions are made by four or five people inside your head, and although you may ignore them if you are too proud to hear them, they will be there next time if you bother to listen. Script analysts learn to amplify and identify these voices.”

Eric Berne

“Children understand people much better than trained adults who study human behavior.”

Eric Berne

“Hunger is the need to touch and be touched, to be recognized by society and is only appeased by caresses.”

Eric Berne

“I know that when people talk, they exchange something with each other, and that is why they talk to each other. The fundamental question is: why do people talk to each other?”

Eric Berne

“If you are not petted, your spinal cord will begin to dry up.”

Eric Berne

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“In most cases, a person spends his whole life deceiving the world, and usually himself.”

Eric Berne

“In most cases, when we mention interaction it implies that there is no action. People who actually do things do not use words as interaction. Transaction means: At least I’ve taken a step forward.”

Eric Berne

“Instead of encouraging people to live bravely in an old world, it is possible to make them live happily in a brave new world.”

Eric Berne

“It is better to be a slave to your beloved woman than a free man to the unloved one.”

Eric Berne

“It is incredible to think, at first, that the destiny of man, all his nobility and all his degradation, is decided by a child of no more than six years, and usually three.”

Eric Berne

“It’s our responsibility to take off that toad skin and remain princes and princesses.”

Eric Berne

“Love is nature's psychotherapy.”

Eric Berne

Products by Eric Berne

“Men tend to be attracted by the things that their families emphasize, in particular their mother. Indeed, the basic rule of fetishes is that a man’s fetish is the same as his mother’s Child.”

Eric Berne

“So many people are more willing to spend money on booze, drugs, and gambling than on mental health care that could save them.”

Eric Berne

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“The ability to do what you want, when you want, with who you want, for as long as you want, is priceless. It is the highest dividend money pays.”

The Psychology of Money


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“The achievement of autonomy is manifested by the discovery or recovery of three capacities: awareness, spontaneity and intimacy.”

Eric Berne

“The destiny of every human being is decided by what goes on inside his skull when confronted by what goes on outside his skull.”

Eric Berne

“The most brutal psychological blow that a human being can receive is the proof that his good mother cheated him.”

Eric Berne

“The parental programming is not the 'fault' of the parents since they only pass on to their children the programming received from their parents, just as it is not their 'fault' the physical appearance of their children since they only pass on to them the genes they received from their ancestors. But brain chemicals are easier to change than those that determine physical appearance.”

Eric Berne

“We are born princes and the civilizing process makes us frogs.”

Eric Berne

“Whatever you do, think of next morning's headlines.”

Eric Berne

“When the intuitive disposition is strong, it brings with it a feeling of certainty that is difficult to shake.”

Eric Berne

“When the script decrees that the patient should never get well, but the therapist manages to destroy this curse. This requires enormous power and skill on his part. He must gain the full confidence of the Child of the patient, since success depends on the Child having more confidence in him than in the Parent of origin who dictated the script.”

Eric Berne

Games People Play Quotes

“A game is played from a position, but a position or its corresponding attitude is not a game.”

Eric Berne
Games People Play

“A game looks like a set of operations, but after the payoff it becomes apparent that these operations were really maneuvers; not honest requests but moves in the game.”

Eric Berne
Games People Play

“A sense of independence is achieved, as we believe, by the release or awakening of three abilities: involvement in the present, spontaneity and closeness.

Eric Berne
Games People Play

“According to many clinicians, neurotics go to the doctor not to be cured, but to understand how to become an even better neurotic.

Scenario analysts say something similar: the patient does not come to be cured, but to learn how to play their games better.”

Eric Berne
Games People Play

Products by Eric Berne

“As this is written, a sow bug crawls across a desk. If he is turned over on his back, one can observe the tremendous struggle he goes through to get on his feet again. During this interval he has a “purpose” in his life. When he succeeds, one can almost see the look of victory on his face. Off he goes, and one can imagine him telling his tale at the next meeting of sow bugs, looked up to by the younger generation as an insect who has made it. And yet mixed with his smugness is a little disappointment. Now that he has come out on top, life seems aimless. Maybe he will return in the hope of repeating his triumph. It might be worth marking his back with ink, so as to recognize him if he risks it. A courageous animal, the sow bug. No wonder he has survived for millions of years.”

Eric Berne
Games People Play

“At the end of the party, each person will have selected certain players he would like to see more of, while others he will discard, regardless of how skillfully or pleasantly they each engaged in the pastime. The ones he selects are those who seem the most likely candidates for more complex relationships — that is, games. This sorting system, however well rationalized, is actually largely unconscious and intuitive.”

Eric Berne
Games People Play

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“Many of us are afraid of risk and prefer the bland, the predictable, and the repetitive. This explains the overwhelming sense of boredom that is a defining characteristic of our age.”

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