Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Medical Classics

Games People Play

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 19 June 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2478
  1. Michael Archer, general practitioner, King’s Lynn, Norfolk
  1. michael.archer{at}

    Although written by a psychiatry professor as a psychotherapy textbook more than 40 years ago, this remains an immensely readable book for professionals and laypeople alike, resulting in sales of more than five million copies since its first publication in 1964. Eric Berne is not the father of social games theory (Stephen Potter published Gamesmanship in 1934), but he is the father of transactional analysis and of the games theory within it. His book has become a medical classic for the contribution it has made to the teaching of consultation skills: it is often quoted and is recommended reading for courses in consultation skills.

    The book has two main parts: the first deals with the theory and the second is a thesaurus of the games themselves. It is …

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