Transactional Analysis

As well as working as a person-centred counsellor and as a cognitive behavioural therapist I also work as a transactional analyst.

Transactional Analysis (TA) is a model for understanding human personality, relationships, and communication developed by Eric Berne, an American psychiatrist in the 1950’s. It is a practical approach to understanding and changing the way we think, feel and behave by using a three part model known as “ego states.”
Depending on what ego state we are in will influence not only how we think and communicate with ourselves and others but also how others respond to us. Learning how to recognise and differentiate how we communicate with others, and why some relationships are more complicated than others and then learning what to do about this is all part of transactional analysis.
Embodied in the theory of TA is the theory of life scripts, which is an unconscious life plan based on decisions made in early childhood about ourselves, others and our lives. These decisions made sense when we were young and often helped us to adapt to the world of our childhood.
However, these decisions and behavioural patterns are often unhelpful in our adulthood and can be restricting and limiting. These decisions are then played out in our day to day lives through the way we think, feel, behave and communicate with others. It is a theory of communication that can help us understand our roles in the family, the community and the work place.
TA is also relational in that it is the quality of the therapeutic relationship that is important to the success of the therapy. We all have a basic need to be recognised, to belong, to love and be loved and to have healthy satisfying relationships. Having a framework to help us better understand ourselves coupled with a treatment plan can be very helpful for many.
I frequently use TA in therapy because people want help in changing patterns in their lives that feel bad or are not productive and part of the process may be making goals and then working with the therapist to achieve these goals.
Transactional Analysis includes learning:

How to differentiate between “Being” and “Doing”
How our history impacts on our current life
How to relax more deeply into being ourselves
How to manage our thoughts and feelings
How to live in the present moment
How to appreciate and value ourselves and the lives we lead