Updated: In Memoriam: Muriel James, by Ian James

Muriel James, a psychotherapist, educator, and bestselling author who wrote 19 books about subjects from personal growth to spirituality, has died. She was 100.

Muriel helped popularize the ideas and methods of transactional analysis, which were pioneered by her mentor, Dr. Eric Berne. She gained acclaim in the 1970s and 1980s through popular self-help books, including the bestseller Born to Win: Transactional Analysis with Gestalt Experiments, which she coauthored. She lectured to groups and conferences around the world about the concepts of “self-reparenting” and other approaches to psychotherapy and encouraged participants to come to grips with painful past experiences and become more aware of their behavioral “scripts.”

Muriel advocated using simple methods to brighten the mood of others, such as giving an unexpected compliment or encouraging people to laugh “as an aid to breaking free.” With her smile, energy, and infectious sense of purpose, she helped those she counseled to discover their positive qualities and find meaning to their lives. As she put it, “That’s why I became a psychotherapist, to help people.” She believed everyone has some positive qualities they may not have developed or negative qualities that may have overwhelmed them. She encouraged purposeful positive thinking, believing people can live happier lives by being aware of their internal conversations and turning those thoughts toward the positive.

Muriel died peacefully in her sleep on 10 January 2018, in Pleasant Hill, California, where she had lived for the past 3 years. On this Valentine’s Day, she would have been 101 years of age.

She was born Muriel Marshall in Berkeley, California, on 14 February 1917. Her father, John Albert Marshall, was a medical doctor and a captain in the U.S. Army. He was a professor of music, biochemistry, and dental pathology at the University of California. Muriel’s mother, Hazel Knowles Marshall, was an internationally recognized concert pianist. Like her parents, Muriel had a love of music. As a teenager, she briefly performed as a singer with a band at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco until her father discovered her wayward ways.

Muriel grew up in San Francisco and lived in St. Francis Wood. She attended Lowell High School, from which she graduated in 1934. On 29 May 1934, she married Ralph Bertram McMurtry, with whom she had two children, Gail Ann and Duncan.

During World War II, she worked for the Red Cross teaching swimming safety for naval recruits on San Francisco’s Treasure Island and first aid for the prison guards on Alcatraz Island. During the war she also worked in the Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond, California, as a safety inspector, joining other “Rosie the Riveter” women in performing tasks previously reserved for men.

After divorcing her first husband, Muriel in 1943 married Paul Wellesley James, a foreman at the Richmond Shipyards, with whom she had her third child, John.

After WWII, she worked as a secretary for the Montclair Presbyterian Church from 1951-1954.

Interested in history, religion, and education, Muriel enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1954, at the age of 37, graduating in just 3 years in 1957. She simultaneously attended the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (an Episcopal seminary) in Berkeley, where she earned a Bachelor of Divinity (B.Div.) degree, and thereafter attended the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, where she earned a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree. Later she earned a doctoral degree from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Education.

Muriel was ordained as a minister and began serving at a church in Orinda, California. In 1959, she founded the Laymen’s School of Religion, which was an interdenominational school meant to bring together all religions to address their commonality rather than their differences. It was located in Berkeley, California.

In 1965, she married again, to Ernest Calvin Brawley, a California State Prison administrator.

Muriel was a strong advocate for women’s rights and civil rights. In March of 1965 she joined demonstrators who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Selma, Alabama.

In the late 1960s, she co-led teacher-student trainings in multicultural awareness at California high schools, seeking to help improve relations between black, white, and Latino students.

The idea for the book Born to Win grew out of Muriel’s conversations with coauthor Dorothy Jongeward, who was also interested in transactional analysis after they participated in a panel discussion at a YMCA meeting. When it was published in 1971, Born to Win became a bestseller and was praised for clear writing that brought helpful psychological tools to a broad popular audience. The book eventually sold more than 4 million copies and was used as a college textbook.

Muriel traveled widely to lead counseling sessions, train therapists, and deliver lectures to groups in countries such as Mexico, Japan, and India. She became president of the International Transactional Analysis Association.

In addition to Born to Win, James authored other popular psychology books including Born to Love (1973), Breaking Free: Self-Reparenting for a New Self (1981), It’s Never Too Late to be Happy! Reparenting Yourself for Happiness (1985), and The Better Boss in Multicultural Organizations (1991).

For many years, she led summer workshops and trainings at Lake Tahoe. She often worked together with her son John James, who was also a psychotherapist. They coauthored the book Passion for Life: Psychology and the Human Spirit (1991).

Strongly independent-minded, Muriel branched out to explore historical subjects in books such as Hearts on Fire: Romance and Achievement in the Lives of Great Women (1991) and Religious Liberty on Trial: Hanserd Knollys, Early Baptist Hero (1997).

She later moved to Walnut Creek, California, where she participated in a writers group and continued working on book projects. Into her 90s, she remained fascinated by spirituality, psychology, history, and genealogy. One of her last projects was to arrange for the publication of her grandmother Josephine Knowles’ autobiographical manuscript about her experiences during the Klondike Gold Rush. The book, Gold Rush in the Klondike: A Woman’s Journey in 1898-1899, was published in 2016.

Muriel was preceded in death by her husband Ernest, her older brother John “Jack” Albert Marshall, her younger sister Shirley Marshall, her daughter Gail Ann, and her son John. She is survived by her son Duncan M. James, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren. At Muriel’s request, her family does not plan to hold a formal memorial service and will instead honor her memory in other ways.

Condolences may be sent to Muriel’s grandsons Ian James (ianmjames@gmail.com) and Raymond Riddle (Riddleyou@verizon.net) and granddaughter Gabriella Schlesinger James (gabrilamuriel@gmail.com).

Those who wish to honor Muriel’s memory with a charitable donation are encouraged to give to the ITAA Scholarship Grant Fund or the Authors Guild Foundation.

In Memoriam: Muriel James, by Ian James

Muriel James, a psychotherapist, educator, and bestselling author who wrote 19 books about subjects from personal growth to spirituality, has died. She was 100.

Muriel helped popularize the ideas and methods of transactional analysis, which were pioneered by her mentor, Dr. Eric Berne. She gained acclaim in the 1970s and 1980s through popular self-help books, including the bestseller Born to Win: Transactional Analysis with Gestalt Experiments, which she coauthored. She lectured to groups and conferences around the world about the concepts of “self-reparenting” and other approaches to psychotherapy and encouraged participants to come to grips with painful past experiences and become more aware of their behavioral “scripts.”

Muriel advocated using simple methods to brighten the mood of others, such as giving an unexpected compliment or encouraging people to laugh “as an aid to breaking free.” With her smile, energy, and infectious sense of purpose, she helped those she counseled to discover their positive qualities and find meaning to their lives. As she put it, “That’s why I became a psychotherapist, to help people.” She believed everyone has some positive qualities they may not have developed or negative qualities that may have overwhelmed them. She encouraged purposeful positive thinking, believing people can live happier lives by being aware of their internal conversations and turning those thoughts toward the positive.

Muriel died peacefully in her sleep on 10 January 2018, in Pleasant Hill, California, where she had lived for the past 3 years. On this Valentine’s Day, she would have been 101 years of age.

She was born Muriel Marshall in Berkeley, California, on 14 February 1917. Her father, John Albert Marshall, was a medical doctor and a captain in the U.S. Army. He was a professor of music, biochemistry, and dental pathology at the University of California. Muriel’s mother, Hazel Knowles Marshall, was an internationally recognized concert pianist. Like her parents, Muriel had a love of music. As a teenager, she briefly performed as a singer with a band at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco until her father discovered her wayward ways.

Muriel grew up in San Francisco and lived in St. Francis Wood. She attended Lowell High School, from which she graduated in 1934. On 29 May 1934, she married Ralph Bertram McMurtry, with whom she had two children, Gail Ann and Duncan.

During World War II, she worked for the Red Cross teaching swimming safety for naval recruits on San Francisco’s Treasure Island and first aid for the prison guards on Alcatraz Island. During the war she also worked in the Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond, California, as a safety inspector, joining other “Rosie the Riveter” women in performing tasks previously reserved for men.

After divorcing her first husband, Muriel in 1943 married Paul Wellesley James, a foreman at the Richmond Shipyards, with whom she had her third child, John.

After WWII, she worked as a secretary for the Montclair Presbyterian Church from 1951-1954.

Interested in history, religion, and education, Muriel enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1954, at the age of 37, graduating in just 3 years in 1957. She simultaneously attended the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (an Episcopal seminary) in Berkeley, where she earned a Bachelor of Divinity (B.Div.) degree, and thereafter attended the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, where she earned a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree. Later she earned a doctoral degree from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Education.

Muriel was ordained as a minister and began serving at a church in Orinda, California. In 1959, she founded the Laymen’s School of Religion, which was an interdenominational school meant to bring together all religions to address their commonality rather than their differences. It was located in Berkeley, California.

In 1965, she married again, to Ernest Calvin Brawley, a California State Prison administrator.

Muriel was a strong advocate for women’s rights and civil rights. In March of 1965 she joined demonstrators who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Selma, Alabama.

In the late 1960s, she co-led teacher-student trainings in multicultural awareness at California high schools, seeking to help improve relations between black, white, and Latino students.

The idea for the book Born to Win grew out of Muriel’s conversations with coauthor Dorothy Jongeward, who was also interested in transactional analysis, after they participated in a panel discussion at a YMCA meeting. When it was published in 1971, Born to Win became a bestseller and was praised for clear writing that brought helpful psychological tools to a broad popular audience. The book eventually sold more than 4 million copies and was used as a college textbook.

Muriel traveled widely to lead counseling sessions, train therapists, and deliver lectures to groups in countries such as Mexico, Japan, and India. She became president of the International Transactional Analysis Association.

In addition to Born to Win, James authored other popular psychology books including Born to Love (1973), Breaking Free: Self-Reparenting for a New Self (1981), It’s Never Too Late to be Happy! Reparenting Yourself for Happiness (1985), and The Better Boss in Multicultural Organizations (1991).

For many years, she led summer workshops and trainings at Lake Tahoe. She often worked together with her son John James, who was also a psychotherapist. They coauthored the book Passion for Life: Psychology and the Human Spirit (1991).

Strongly independent-minded, Muriel branched out to explore historical subjects in books such as Hearts on Fire: Romance and Achievement in the Lives of Great Women (1991) and Religious Liberty on Trial: Hanserd Knollys, Early Baptist Hero (1997).

She later moved to Walnut Creek, California, where she participated in a writers group and continued working on book projects. Into her 90s, she remained fascinated by spirituality, psychology, history, and genealogy. One of her last projects was to arrange for the publication of her grandmother Josephine Knowles’ autobiographical manuscript about her experiences during the Klondike Gold Rush. The book, Gold Rush in the Klondike: A Woman’s Journey in 1898-1899, was published in 2016.

Muriel was preceded in death by her husband Ernest, her older brother John “Jack” Albert Marshall, her younger sister Shirley Marshall, her daughter Gail Ann, and her son John. She is survived by her son Duncan M. James, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren. At Muriel’s request, her family does not plan to hold a formal memorial service and will instead honor her memory in other ways.

Condolences may be sent to Muriel’s grandsons Ian James (ianmjames@gmail.com) and Raymond Riddle (Riddleyou@verizon.net) and granddaughter Gabriella Schlesinger James (gabrilamuriel@gmail.com).

Those who wish to honor Muriel’s memory with a charitable donation are encouraged to give to the ITAA Scholarship Grant Fund or the Authors Guild Foundation.

Transactional Analysis Journal (TAJ) Free Trial

Get access to the Transactional Analysis Journal (TAJ) until 31st August 2017 by registering here: http://journals.sagepub.com/tax/tajfreetrial

The TAJ is a multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal focusing on transactional analysis theory, principles, and applications in various fields, including psychotherapy, counseling, education, and organizational development. Published quarterly since 1971, it offers scholarly articles from all theoretical perspectives and fields of application, including quantitative and qualitative research, case studies, literature surveys, book reviews, and reflective essays. Two of the four annual issues are organized around specific themes.

The USATAA Social Justice Committee Expands Members and Mission

The USATAA social justice committee springs from a suggestion by Catherine O’Brien, General Coordinator, that interested council members form a social justice committee.[1] The social justice circle of interest advances open discussion of social and cultural issues, promotes socio-education, diversity, and egalitarianism through the frame of transactional analysis, seeks to recognize the contributions of our colleagues engaged in social justice applications of transactional analysis (TA), and records developing social justice theory and practices among our community members.

Dr. Eric Berne did not advocate for political parties, nor does the social justice circle. Social justice is defined as the fair treatment and genuine respect for people at the social level. We have elected to define social justice broadly, as promoting I’m OK – You’re OK attitudes, safety, and respect among people.

Readers and long term members will recall that social action traditions among transactional analysts began in 1961 with the San Francisco Social Psychiatry Seminars’ sponsorship of George, a six-year-old boy from Crete, whose father was killed in the late 1950’s by an abandoned WWII mine (TAB, 1962).[i] Worldwide, transactional analysts continue this tradition, working within diverse communities to provide access to TA tools and philosophical principles, including respect for all human dignity, problem-solving capacities, and worth. These foundational, humanitarian principles gesture toward equality among races, classes, genders, sexual orientation, and different abilities. Prejudice was Berne’s standard nomenclature for psychopathology that arises from contamination of the Adult ego states by the Parent ego states; this terminology conveys Berne’s commitment to social equity. Along with these humanitarian principles, Berne designated TA a social psychiatry and obliged members to be proficient at analyses of groups and organizational systems, as well as the interactions and personality of individuals. These principles and requirements, his anti-authoritarian use of contractual methodology, and theoretical focus on physis and free child energy signal transactional analysis social justice applications for humanity and encapsulate our professional ethics of fairness and fidelity.

Founding social justice committee members, Janice Dowson, Bob Hempel, and Cheryl Leong, are pleased to welcome new members to this discursive circle of interest. We invite you to welcome Inger Acking and Reiko True to this committee! Reiko and Inger each have a lengthy history of social activism as redecision therapists in our (TA) community. These women exemplify the Gouldings’ core principles of self-determination, personal responsibility, and direct action. Their presence will augment our social justice tradition as well as our mission to maintain the integrity of TA philosophical principles as they apply to social justice concerns in our practice and theory, by encouraging egalitarian values, facilitating awareness of institutionalized injustices, and enabling understanding and respect in their personal and professional lives.[2]

The following brief introductions illuminate the breadth and diversity each committee member contributes to our social justice collaboration.

Reiko True – I have mainly focused on the inequity of support services for the racial minorities, women, and disabled persons. Through advocacy, I have pioneered the development of culturally and linguistically responsive services to racial minorities, women, DV victims, and mentally ill.

Inger Acking –Through practicing redecision therapy with diverse populations I have worked to erode the systems of oppression and decrease all repressive isms. Bob and Mary’s teaching that “the power is in the patient” has remained a strong aspect of social justice that has empowered people by recognizing their power–and as a side effect, people have become more socially active.

Rev. Robert L. Hempel- For me, the scope of social justice is broadly founded on the principle that all persons are created equal around the world. My social justice concerns have extended to caring deeply for the environment, rights to safe working conditions and fair wages, racial and gender equality. In my early TA training, Denton Roberts and the Haimowitz’s reinforced this dual focus on a level playground and our ability to create social change; their influence underpinned my social justice work as a minister of the United Church of Christ and has served as a thrust in my role as USATAA Facebook moderator and committee participation.

Cheryl Leong – I am a CA licensed psychotherapist and leadership coach. My social justice work has included a 20-year journey offering LGBTQ education/consultation for mental health professionals in Singapore and San Francisco. Being part of the 90s “zen hacker” movement, I believe that a truly “free internet” can level the playing field worldwide. Currently, I am advocating for quality and free online TA education for all.

Janice Dowson – In my clinical and teaching practice in Canada, I have concentrated my social activism on developing individual autonomy and collective resistance against the effects of class and gender bias. My graduate work emphasized the intersection of race, class, and gender through critiques of social injustices against women and Indigenous peoples. Presently, I promote increased awareness of what Kendall calls “white privilege” in my social justice work, while as a clinician and teacher I have advocated for widespread accessibility to training and mental health services.

Our diverse committee works for social justice awareness through raising questions and conversation, inviting and participating in “integrated” Adult[3] (Berne, 1961, p.195) to Adult discussions of social issues as they relate to transactional analysis practice and theory. We expect that all blog responses will remain consistent with this spirit of thoughtful, inquiring integrated Adult to convey mutual respect for differences in beliefs and experience.

References

Berne, Eric. (1961). Transactional analysis in psychotherapy. New York: Grove.

“George (Our sponsored orphan in Crete).” Transactional analysis bulletin 1:4. Oct. 1962.

[1] Catherine’s excellent organizational model expresses her vision that has expanded to include the following circles of interest: Psychotherapy & Counselling; Education; Self-Help & Personal Development; Social Justice; Organizational Training & Leadership Resources.

[2] These terms are excerpted from the listed criteria for the ITAA Bob and Mary Goulding Social Justice award.

[3] Berne’s (1961) structural term, “integrated Adult” combines qualities of personal responsiveness, objective reasoning, reality-testing, feelings of ethical responsibility toward humanity and a worldwide ethos of courage, loyalty, and sincerity (p. 195). Berne’s nomenclature for these second order structural elements, Ethos and Pathos borrows from Aristotle’s classical transactional modes to convey their enduring social and humanitarian qualities.

FREE ONLINE TA BASICS CLASS

FREE ONLINE TA BASICS CLASS, By Catherine O’Brien, MFT, TAPI

  • Tools to Understand People,
  • Communicate Effectively, and Solve Problems
  • You will learn and have fun learning about yourself and others.
  • This is an introduction to TA and is a preview of the TA Practitioner Program.
  • Dates-Two sessions of Thursday Nights, August 24th, and 31st
  • Time- 7:00-8:00 pm Pacific time
  • Zoom Video Conference Training, connect from anywhere in the world!
  • To register email Catherine O’Brien TheTATeacher@gmail.com