Transactional Analysis (TA) is a form of modern psychology that aims to promote personal change as well as growth using a set of conceptual tools. It was developed in the 1960s by Dr. Eric Berne.
Transactional analysis can help people reach their fullest potential in all areas of life. It is an excellent therapy for understanding and helping to develop constructive communication in relationships.
Transactional Analysis is often referred to as an integrative psychotherapy because incorporates elements of other types of therapy, including:
There are three key concepts in transactional analysis psychotherapy. These form the base for its approach to understanding problems and how to make things better.
Ego-states: This is a big part of transactional analysis, and it refers to the three main parts of your personality that each contain their own system of thoughts and behaviours. When taken together, they are believed to determine how we relate to others. They are:
- Child ego-state: Behaviours, thoughts, and feelings replayed from one’s childhood
- Adult ego-state: Behaviours, thoughts and feelings in response to current situations
- Parent ego-state: Behaviours, thoughts, and feelings copied from parents
Transactions: The aforementioned ego-states interact in order to create our transactions. When our ego-states do not work well together, they can create a distorted view of our life and the world. Understanding the difference between straightforward, mixed-up, and ulterior transactions is a helpful way to clarify and resolve conflicts.
Unconscious scripts: These are repetitive patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that can often be traced to the prohibitions and permissions placed on us as children. Because they operate out of awareness, when they are negative, they contribute significantly to frustration and unhappiness. As these are brought to light in the process of the therapy, ways to change negative patterns into positive ones can be devised, bringing relief and increased confidence.
The therapist sets up a secure, respectful, and non-judgemental atmosphere that promotes a positive client-therapist relationship and also serves as a model for forming relationships outside of therapy.
Transactional analysis therapists take the view that we are all capable of living the life that we want as opposed to some predetermined path. They find ways that our potential is being limited by repetitive patterns or unconscious thoughts that come from our past and help us to change these restrictive ways of thinking.
Therapy sessions typically explore how a person’s personality has been shaped by their experiences, especially those from their childhood. This helps shed light and understanding upon problematic feeling and habits, which can then be changed to achieve better outcomes. The therapist uses a number of questioning techniques to guide the conversation.
During transactional analysis psychotherapy, your therapist will help you find ways to solve your current problems. You can also develop useful everyday tools, which can be used to find future solutions, so that you can maintain independent control over your life in the future.
Sessions might be individual, or they could take place between couples, families, or in a group setting.
This type of therapy can help to solve a variety of problems and can even be applied outside of counselling, such as in education, parenting, coaching, and business. Nearly any situation where there is a lack of understanding or conflict can benefit from transactional analysis. It can be particularly useful for solving conflicts between couples and family members.