Transactional Analysis (TA) is a theory of personality and communication, developed from the ideas of psychiatrist Eric Berne
TA counselling and therapy is undertaken with an initial acceptance of three basic assumptions, which I express in the following ways:
- You were born ‘OK’
- You are free and able to make your life choices and decisions
- You can change these choices and decisions at any time
These statements form the basis for our therapeutic relationship.
TA work involves a collaborative agreement between client and therapist, intended to be as equal as possible, with neither party considered to be ‘in control’ or more dominant than the other.
TA can address deeply rooted issues to link personality (who we are) with communication (how we interact with others).
Working with as awareness of cognitive, behavioural and emotional process offers opportunities for in-depth insight and change, with a flexibility that allows for the focus to be either on the developmental journey itself, or on working towards a specific end point, to suit you.
One fundamental theory of TA involves the use and understanding of ego states. These are described as being Parent, Adult or Child, terms which encapsulate form of behaviour and emotional processes we use in everyday life. Understanding ego states can help to ensure we maximise our potential for effective decision making, and ensure our relationships with others are as appropriate, dynamic and intimate and possible.
By analysing our ‘transactions’ – the ways in which we communicate and express ourselves – TA can help us understand and identify the damaging, limiting or restrictive decisions we make, and provide us with a starting point for undertaking steps to improve our life, our relationships and our sense of personal OK-ness.
Different therapists with use the ideas and models of TA in different ways.