The Narrative Arc

Act l The Beginning or the “Set-up”

The inciting incident that sets my story in motion occurred when…

The inciting incident that sets my story in motion occurred when I found myself pinned into a haphazard pile of laughing people. I had arrived there voluntarily. I joined the mayhem and jumped! When the pile untangled, I discovered that my leg had been pinned against the instigator of the mayhem, the awesome Dr. Eric Berne. He had stood in the middle of the room repeating “no touching” over and over again, as his disciples tackled him and everyone in the room seemed to jump onto the pile.

Everyone else seemed to be having a wonderful time. I crawled under a nearby table and cried hysterically. Nobody noticed. The following morning, I listened to a lecture, sang “dingdong the witch is dead” while prancing across the conference grounds in a conga line with dozens of others. I haven’t been the same since.

Prior to this incident I had been…

Prior to this incident I had been a 28-year-old wife and mother of an almost 2-year-old son. I was a former Jewish American Princess, back on track after the loss of our first baby at term three years earlier. My belief that being good and following the rules would make everything turn out okay had been shattered.

We were coming to the end of our month-long stay in Monterey California in August 1968, when my psychologist husband was studying Transactional Analysis. Soon we would be returning to Chicago and my part-time job as a science teacher in a Jewish day school in Skokie, Illinois.

After the inciting incident, my life was built around my desire to…

After the inciting incident, my life was built around the desire to learn more about TA (transactional analysis) so I could use it in classroom management, and to become part of the exciting and affirming community I had stumbled upon. There, I was more than my role as wife and mother. I was treated as a separate and fully functioning human being. I was invited to learn as much as I wanted to – no professional degree needed! And I reveled in learning how to really understand, predict and change human behavior, starting with my own!

Act II The “Confrontation”

Make a list of some of the experience–or “plot points” – that you will recount in your memoir

  1. Home in Chicago, I started learning about myself by taking the TA101 , an introduction to Transactional Analysis with Dave Kupfer and Fanita English. I finagled permission to attend professional meetings of the Chicago TA seminar. I got pregnant and Jonathan and I did a therapy marathon with David Kupfer in December. I participated in advanced training with Natalie Haimowitz and Fanita English in June 1969.
  2. My daughter was born on July 2, the first moon landing occurred two weeks later, and shortly after that we were moving to my husband’s new job at Fort Logan mental health center in Denver Colorado. Dr. Warden Rimel and his wife Carolyn, who are also members of the seminar moved to Denver at the same time. The four of us made plans to introduce Transactional Analysis in Colorado.
  3. In August 1969, starting a new life in Denver and starting the Denver area TA seminar, DATAS with Warden and Carolyn.
  4. In January, 1970 Jon earned his CM or clinical membership in the ITAA, the International Transactional Analysis Association. Eric Berne died. We attended the August conference in Monterey together, I met Jacqui Schiff and reconnected with Bob and Mary Goulding. I think that’s also when they invited us and others to their new place on Mount Madonna and I went skinny-dipping for the very first time.
  5. When visiting my sister in Washington DC in spring, 1971, I also visited Jacqui Schiff in Virginia. I learned they were moving to California and needed places to stop and invited them to stop at our home in Denver. They did, Jackie taught a seminar Passivity theory, Jon got very excited about it, and they invited us to visit them at Their new place in Walnut Hills California.
  6. At the 1971 conference Natalie Haimowitz asked when I would take my clinical exams. That possibility had not occurred to me before she asked. (That might have been the first time at Mt. Madonna.)
  7. DATAS hosted the ITAA Winter conference in January 1972. Bob and Mary Goulding taught a workshop before the conference that I attended, and I took my clinical exams. I didn’t completely pass them because of a lack of knowledge of psychopathology. However I was awarded a Limited Clinical Membership in ITAA, something they invented on the spot, as a recognition of my extensive knowledge and work in the organization.
  8. In 1972 we incorporated Rocky Mountain Transactional Analysis Institute Associates. Jon, Maggie, and Terry were to be partners and I said, “me too” and joined them. At the summer conference in San Francisco, I led a breakout group in the 101 Jon organized for the ITAA. I retook my exams and was awarded my full Clinical Membership. (If I had not lied about treating schizophrenics—I said I didn’t—I would have gotten a perfect score.)
  9. Between 1972 in 1976 were actively teaching transactional analysis and passivity theory all over the country. RMTAA, Inc. became the Rocky Mountain TA Institute.
  10. In 1973 a week I spent at Mount Madonna during which I met our lifelong friends, Nancy Porter and Curtis Steele who were to change the course of my life again in 2010. During that week, Mary told me to get a Masters degree the external program at Lone Mountain College. I signed up.

I was awarded my teaching membership in 1974. I also earned my MA in 1974.

That era ended in a messy corporate divorce in 1976. They got the offices and the lease. We got custody of the name, The Rocky Mountain TA Institute.  

A different narrative the same time period.

I moved from avidly learning as much TA as I could to the idea of becoming a therapist by the time we attended 1970 summer conference in Carmel. By that time TA community the been established in Denver and we were meeting semiweekly, alternating between our newly purchased first home and the Rimel’s home. As the stay-at-home mother of an infant and a preschooler, I handled the mailing.

I continue to learn voraciously, in 1971 when Natalie Haimowitz suggested I could take the exam for clinical membership I was startled. The idea had never occurred to me. Once it did, I started accumulating the necessary practice and supervision hours. Jonathan had earned his clinical membership in January 70 and was able to supervise my work. Warden soon followed and I joined their ongoing supervision group and began to redo groups as well as workshops with Jon. At the 1972 conference in Denver, I earned a limited clinical membership.

The ending of my story occurs when…

I felt as if I had proved myself as a grown-up by publishing our first book in 1989, and completing a PhD in 1994. After 20 years of challenges because I lacked the proper professional credentials, although I had been a leader, board member, and officer in ITAA, and had published three books since 1976, I was finally Dr. Weiss in my own right.

Over that period the feminist thread of my development had allowed me to join with other women in a consciousness-raising group of our own that met from 1970 to 1974. Participating in the women’s Caucus of the ITAA.

The presentation and publication of my original work with the Association of Feminist Therapists was the work that grew into the first published and most popular books. That period also included the five-year challenge of sponsoring the Money and You workshop detour.

I learned to assert my own direction as I became aware of addiction, cults, and holding my own boundaries with that brilliant and narcissistic guru. This detour prepared me to publish the Emperor book on business communication.

The 1997 incorporation of coaching into our work and my certification as an MCC in 1999 was another thread. Another was writing about Relationships between 2004 and 2019. I ultimately circled back to therapy and Logosynthesis in 2010.