Sunday, December 13, 2015

Positive Quiddity: Transactional Analysis

Transactional analysis is a psychoanalytic therapy wherein social transactions are analyzed to determine the ego state of the patient (whether parent-like, childlike, or adult-like) as a basis for understanding behavior.  In transactional analysis, the patient is taught to alter the ego state as a way to solve emotional problems. The method deviates from Freudian psychoanalysis which focuses on increasing awareness of the contents of unconsciously held ideas. Eric Berne developed the concept and paradigm of transactional analysis in the late 1950s.


Transactional analysis integrates the theories of psychology and psychotherapy because it has elements of psychoanalytic, humanist and cognitive ideas.

According to the International Transactional Analysis Association, TA 'is a theory of personality and a systematic psychotherapy for personal growth and personal change'.

  1. As a theory of personality, TA describes how people are structured psychologically. It uses what is perhaps its best known model, the ego-state (Parent-Adult-Child) model, to do this. The same model helps explain how people function and express their personality in their behaviour
  2. As Berne set his Psychology up, there are four life positions that a person can hold and holding a particular psychological position has profound implications for how an individual operationalizes his or her life. The positions are stated as:
    1. I'm OK and you are OK. This is the healthiest position about life and it means that I feel good about myself and that I feel good about others and their competence.
    2. I'm OK and you are not OK. In this position I feel good about myself but I see others as damaged or less than and it is usually not healthy,
    3. I'm not OK and you are OK. In this position the person sees him/herself as the weak partner in relationships as the others in life are definitely better than the self. The person who holds this position will unconsciously accept abuse as OK.
    4. I'm not OK and you are not OK. This is the worst position to be in as it means that I believe that I am in a terrible state and the rest of the world is as bad. Consequently, there is no hope for any ultimate supports.
  3. It is a theory of communication that can be extended to the analysis of systems and organisations.
  4. It offers a theory for child development by explaining how our adult patterns of life originated in childhood.  This explanation is based on the idea of a "Life (or Childhood) Script": the assumption that we continue to re-play childhood strategies, even when this results in pain or defeat. Thus it claims to offer a theory of psychopathology.
  5. In practical application, it can be used in the diagnosis and treatment of many types of psychological disorders and provides a method of therapy for individuals, couples, families and groups.
  6. Outside the therapeutic field, it has been used in education to help teachers remain in clear communication at an appropriate level, in counseling and consultancy, in management and communications training and by other bodies.

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