Transactional Analysis (TA) is a widely recognised form of modern psychology, designed to promote personal growth and change. TA is based on the theory that each person has three ego-states: parent, child, and adult. These are used, along with other key TA concepts, tools, and models to analyse how individuals communicate and to identify what interaction is needed for a better outcome.
The TA therapist will work on problem-solving behaviours, whilst helping you to develop day-to-day tools for finding constructive and creative solutions. The goal of transactional analysis is to ensure that you regain absolute and complete autonomy over your life.
The key concepts within transactional analysis are:
- Ego-States: which refer to the three main parts of an individual’s personality. Each ego-state reflects a complete system of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. The three ego-states are parent, adult, and child. The parent ego-state is rooted in the past and is the part of our personality that can be supportive or critical. The adult ego-state is rooted in the present and tends to be the most rational part of our personality. The child ego-state is also rooted in the past and can either be free and natural or strongly adapted to parental influences.
- Unconscious Scripts: TA recognises that we all have the potential to live the lives that we want, rather than simply living the lives we were programmed to live. However, sometimes this potential is hindered by repetitive patterns or ‘unconscious scripts’ that stem from our childhood. TA therapists will work to identify these unconscious scripts and work with you to understand where they came from and how they are impacting your life in the present.
- Transactions: When individuals communicate, their ego-states interact to create transactions. If the ego-states interact and blend healthily, transactions and communication are healthier. Sometimes ego-states can contaminate each other and create unhealthy communication.
- Strokes: Stroked refer to compliments, acceptance, and recognition, which are all influential in how people live their lives. TA therapists recognise that we are greatly motivated by the reinforcement that we received as children, and if this was dysfunctional, we are likely to adopt dysfunctional patterns of living as we get older.
- Intimacy: Similarly to strokes, if the intimacy a child experiences is dysfunctional, it can lead to problems in adulthood. For example, a child may assume that the type of intimacy that they receive in childhood is the best that he or she can get to meet their basic needs, hindering their potential in adulthood.
- Redecision: This refers to an individual’s capacity to make changes to certain decisions that were made as a child – those stemming from unconscious scripts. Ultimately, the TA therapist will encourage you to challenge your current beliefs and the way that you use your life script. The aim is to increase your understanding of yourself.Transactional Analysis is particularly useful where there are issues of conflict, confusion, or where something is lacking. Relationship issues tend to benefit greatly from TA, as it encourages you to address problems that have built up over time.