Transactional Analysis (known as TA for short) is such great tool for understanding both verbal and non-verbal communication between people that it is also widely used in education and the workplace. It uses clear, everyday language and simple diagrams that can be shared with counselling clients offering insights and tools that can be useful in many areas of life.
TA was developed by Eric Berne in the 1960’s as a theory of how our personality develops and how we communicate with other people. Two of the many books he wrote topped the popular best seller lists as ‘Games People Play’ and ‘What do you say after you say hello?’ offered fascinating insights into human relationships.
The Parent, Adult and Child ‘Ego States’ model, depicts how our internal dialogue (the things we say to ourselves) is influenced by parental or authority figures in the past and how we learned to think, feel and behave in childhood in response to the world around us.
‘Ego State’ theory evolved from Freudian psychoanalytic roots, and Classical TA therapy is very similar to CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). As TA developed its theory encompassed and integrated techniques from other popular therapies such as Person Centred and Gestalt, to offer an holistic approach to thinking, emotional and physical feelings and behaviour.
This all makes TA a very integrative therapy with tools and techniques applicable and effective most therapeutic issues.
If you’re interest to find out more about modern Transactional Analysis, a key book is: ‘TA Today’ by Vann Joines & Ian Stewart, Lifespace Publishing (ISBN 1-870244-00-1).
TA therapy is portrayed in story-form through the character of a depressed Toad from ‘Wind in the Willow’ visiting Heron the counsellor: ‘Counselling for Toads’ by Robert de Board, Brunner Routledge (ISBN 0-415-17429-5).