Transactional Analysis (TA)
Transactional Analysis (TA) is a personality and psychotherapy for personal growth. It has wide applications in Clinical Psychology, organizations and education also. Transactional Analysis can be defined as many things, first and foremost it is a philosophy that begins with the belief that each of us is fundamentally OK whilst also expressing a point of view and a description of people which gives us an understanding to the structure of personality.
Woollams and Brown (1978) describe it as "An ever-expanding system of related techniques designed to help people understand and change their feelings and behaviors."
Eric Berne began to develop the theory of TA before 1958 when he had his first articles published containing the principles of TA and its concepts. His first book Transactional Analysis in Psychotherapy was published in 1961. This laid out a theory of personality and interpersonal relationships, in all his works extended over thirty - two years including seven books and fifty articles, transcripts and papers (Stewart 1992).
Berne described TA primarily as "a unified system of individual and social psychiatry", because of his extensive work within the psychiatric community both working with individuals and groups. In its strictest sense the term transactional analysis was used by Berne to denote the analysis of transactions. In his book Transactional Analysis in Psychotherapy 1961 he described TA as “Structural and transactional analysis that offers a systematic, consistent theory of personality and social dynamics derived from clinical experience, and an actionistic, rational form of therapy which is suitable for, easily understood by, and naturally adapted to the great majority of psychiatric patients".
TA Today (Stewart & Joines 1987) describe TA as defined by the ITAA (International Transactional Analysis Association) as "a theory of psychotherapy for personal growth and personal change". Stewart and Joines go on to say it is a theory of personality which uses a three part model known as the ego state model, which helps us understand how people function and express their personality in terms of behaviour.
Briefly TA also provides us with a theory of communication, it gives a method for analysing systems and organisations. It also offers a theory of child development, it offers life script explaining how are influenced by our history and the decisions we make about ourselves, others and the world because of that. It offers explanations as to how we continue to repeat patterns of behaviour that may be self-defeating. Overall TA gives us a theory of psychopathology, a system of psychotherapy, a treatment system for all types psychological problems from average neurosis to psychosis.
Dr.Eric Berne, the originator of TA, considers a transaction as the unit of social intercourse. A transaction consists of a transactional stimulus (TS) and a transactional response (TR). TS is the behavior (verbal or nonverbal) produced by one person in acknowledgement of the presence of others when two or more people encounter each other. TR is the response to TS by another person.
In his encounters with his clients, Dr. Berne understood that there exist three distinct states in all people. People change from one state to another in the course of their transactions. This change can be easily noticed by the manners, appearances, words, gestures, and tones.
The three distinct states called the ego states are the Parent ego state, the Adult ego state, and the Child ego state. The Parent ego state is produced by the play-back of recordings in the brain of unquestioned or imposed external events perceived by the person before his social birth i.e., before the age of 5 years. This ego state consists of NO's, DON’T's, HOW -TO's and the facial expressions, tone of voice, manners etc. of the person's parents. In other words, this ego state consists of the "taught - concepts" of life.
Berne opines that the recordings in the brain that causes the ego states cannot be erased at all, but "we can choose to turn these recordings off".
Berne represents the ego states as circles and represents TS and TR by arrows drawn from the respective ego state of the first person to that of the second person.
Types of Transactions
Berne identifies two types of transactions:1. Complementary Transactions
Personality and Psychopathology According to P-A-C system
There are two ways in which people differ according to TA. This is either due to contamination or exclusion.