Touchstone Counseling - Janice Dowson

What is Transactional Analysis?

T.A. is a set of practical conceptual tools for personal growth and change, a social psychology developed by Eric Berne MD. (Find out more about Eric Berne) According to Eric Berne, T.A. is a powerful tool for human well being that utilizes the “Adult”, in both the client and the counsellor to sort out thoughts and behaviours that result in personal difficulties.

T.A. counsellors work directly on here and now problem-solving behaviours while establishing an equal working relationship to provide clients with day-to-day tools for finding constructive creative solutions.

TA concepts are used by people who want to:

  • Think clearly and raise their emotionally intelligence

  • Develop new options and outcomes

  • Analyze difficult situations and change those that happen over and over

Key Concepts of Transactional Analysis

Ego States
Eric Berne made complex interpersonal transactions understandable when he recognized that the human personality is made up of 3 “ego states”, each of which is an entire system of thought, feeling, and behavior from which we interact with each other. The Parent, Adult, and Child ego states and the interaction between them form the foundation of transactional analysis theory.

Transactions refer to the communication exchanges between people. Transactional analysts are trained to recognize which ego states people are transacting from and to intervene in the interactions so that they can improve the quality and effectiveness of communication.

Life scripts
A large part of your life story unfolds like the script of a drama or play. When Shakespeare said "All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players" he alluded to the repetitive predictable aspects of life scripts. You are "in script" when your life follows family influences and childhood decisions. The nature of your script, whether positive or negative, depends on the kinds of permissions and prohibitions you received as a child, and the resulting early decisions you made.

The Philosophy of Transactional Analysis

Transactional Analysis is a humanistic social psychology. The underlying philosophical assumptions that form TA's foundational principles are:

  • People can be responsible for their choices and thoughts

  • People are OK, worthwhile, and deserve to be treated with dignity

  • People make decisions about their lives

  • People can change

The general Goal of Transactional Analysis is Autonomy which Eric Berne defined as the recovery of three human capacities: Spontaneity, Awareness and Intimacy.

For more Transactional Analysis information check out
or contact the BCTAA Library (604-878-8044).

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