Transactional Analysis (TA)

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For over a decade I have incorporated a model of applied social psychology in my work - Transactional Analysis (TA). I became certified as a Transactional Analysis Practitioner (TAP) in 2011 through study with Vann Joines (author of TA Today and Personality Adaptations). TAP is the basic level of certification in TA.

 

TA was popularized by Thomas Harris' self-help book "I'm OK, You're OK," published in 1967. According to founder Eric Berne, a Canadian psychiatrist, TA is written in language that is simple enough for an 8-year old to understand. Although deliberately written in simple language, it is far from simplistic. TA is a sophisticated theory of personality, communication, and behavior used for personal growth, insight and awareness, decision making, and transformation.

 

TA can be applied to all kinds of personal interactions including those that occur in work, school, home, family and relationship, whether with strangers, friends, family members or intimate partners. TA applications include counseling, coaching, psychotherapy, education, organizational, and business consulting.

 

The "transactional" piece of TA refers to person to person interactions (interpersonal transactions) as well as intrapersonal transactions (within a person). In other words, TA analyses what goes on in our interactions with other people, and what goes on internally with the conversations we have between our own different parts. I warn my clients (in a humorous way of course!) that once you are introduced to TA (or parts work in general) and start using it in your own life, you can never go back! The shift from thinking of oneself as a single entity to acknowledging that we have multiple parts within us is a profound one.

TA emphasizes human freedom and autonomy. Its basic tenet, a statement of essence, is that each person has value and worth and is "OK." This provides a useful framework for deconstructing what occurs between people as we interact with each other, as well as how we interact within ourselves. Ultimately this allows us to improve our relationships with ourselves and others. 

When I work with clients using TA, I share the basic concepts so that the client takes a proactive role in their own behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. These concepts include:

  • Life Scripts: how our life is unconsciously playing out according to old scripts that were written in childhood. When you sign up for a TA program with me you will complete the Life Script Interview.

  • Games People Play: the title of one of Eric Berne's books. Games get in the way of true intimacy, but we all play them one way or another. Find out what your favorite psychological game is...

  • Strokes: positive or negative recognition from others

  • Racket feelings: old, familiar ways of behaving and feeling that even if uncomfortable or harmful we continue to fall back on precisely because of their familiarity. These feelings are "rackets" as in a "con" - getting in the way of intimacy and authenticity.

  • Time Structuring: how spend our days - this ranges from withdrawal to intimacy and all points in between

  • Ego States: Parent, Adult, and Child

  • Personality Adaptations - which survival and performance strategies we adopt very early in life

  • Transactions: both overt (verbal) and covert (non-verbal) communications are analyzed - these run parallel to each other and may be contradictory.

  • The "OK Corral" which has four basic positions, illustrated below:

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What to expect when you work with me using TA:

  • You will complete the Life Script Interview and the Joines Personality Adaptation Questionnaire (JPAQ) 

  • We will talk about "racket" feelings and why you have repeating patterns in your life

  • We will examine the psychological games you (and significant others in your life) typically play

  • We will look at how your personality adaptations affect the way you live your life and interact with others

  • We will examine in depth how your Parent, Adult and Child ego states behave and interact, and how these behaviors affect your relationships

  • We will explore how you can integrate this knowledge into your daily life to improve the way you function in relationships with yourself and others.