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The Transactional Analysis Therapy

In modern psychology, Transactional Analysis (TA) uses a variety of conceptual tools to encourage both individual change and progress. Dr. Eric Berne invented it in the 1960s.People can realize their greatest potential by using transactional analysis in all facets of life.

The Transactional Analysis Therapy Transactional Analysis

It is a great form of treatment for fostering understanding and good communication in partnerships.

What is Transactional Analysis Therapy

Eric Berne created the psychoanalytic theory and therapeutic technique known as Transactional Analysis (TA) in the 1950s. The term “transactions” describes how people communicate with one another.

The person initiating communication will first provide the “transaction stimulus,” and the person receiving this stimulus (or communication message) will then provide the “transaction reaction.”

The technique used to evaluate this process of transactions in interpersonal communication is known as transactional analysis. It calls for us to be conscious of our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors when interacting with others.

Three “ego states” make up the human personality, according to TA, and each one is a whole system of feelings, thoughts, and actions that influences how we interact with one another. 

Transactional analysis theory is built on the interaction between the Parent, Adult, and Child ego states.

Benefits of Transactional Analysis Therapy

  • The first benefit of TA is that Berne intended for it to be simple and have notions that were simple to grasp. This enables the layperson to comprehend the theory, become familiar with its principles, and grasp why social interactions in their everyday lives take the particular form they do.
  • Using TA, individuals can get a deeper understanding of their own actions, reactions, thoughts, and emotions that they may not have previously been aware of, increasing their level of self-awareness.
  • Another benefit of TA is that it fosters better interpersonal interactions and communication skills while reducing conflicts. This benefit is validated by recent studies.
  • The fact that TA can be used in a variety of social settings, conversations, and relationship kinds is a final advantage. For instance, connections or interactions at work between coworkers and managers, teacher-student interactions in classrooms, romantic relationships or marriage, families, parent-child relationships, challenging clients at work in all industries, etc. This makes it a very flexible theory.
  • Self-awareness may grow as a result of TA.
  • It encourages introspection.
  • It enables people to converse more effectively.
  • It can aid in getting rid of negative ideas, emotions, and behaviors.
  • It can assist people in accepting accountability for their thoughts and deeds.
  • It can be used to solve a variety of underlying mental health issues.

Who Can Benefit From Transactional Analysis Therapy

Several issues can be resolved with this kind of therapy, which can also be used in settings other than counseling, such as education, parenting, coaching, and business. 

The use of transactional analysis can be advantageous in almost any circumstance when there is a communication gap or a disagreement. It can be especially helpful for resolving disputes inside families and between couples.

In addition to therapy, transactional analysis is frequently used in the fields of medical, communication, education, and corporate management. This method has drawn parents, professionals, social workers, and other people who aim to maximize personal development due to its general appeal.

 One strategy that is seen to be beneficial for improving relationships with oneself and others is transactional analysis.

Research has shown that transactional analysis, which is frequently used by counselors and clinicians to address concerns the patient is now experiencing, can be a useful technique in the therapy of emotional problems and relational troubles that may arise as a result of long-term health issues.

Widespread in the educational sector, transactional analysis can work as a conduit for the dissemination of educational ideals and philosophy. This type of therapy can be administered to children and adults of all ages, regardless of social circumstances.

3 stages of transactional analysis

Transactional Analysis Theory by Eric Berne – Dr. Paras, Matrrix | Best Life Coach in India & USA.

According to TA, when we interact, we can be in one of three different states: the adult state, the parent state, or the child state (Berne, 1957).

The ego state that we are in during an interaction depends on a number of variables, including how we have been socialized to act or react since childhood, any past traumas that have affected how we behave in certain situations or interactions, and how the other person is treating us or what ego state they are in when speaking to us.

It often takes deliberate awareness to be able to get ourselves back into adult mode and engage with people from that condition instead of our default or unconscious reaction of being in kid or parent mode.

The Child Ego State

The child state can be divided into the adapted child and the free child ego states. This occurs when we engage and react to people in accordance with our former training of inner feelings experienced as youngsters, returning to our earlier ways of thinking and feeling.

The child ego state is based on whatever positive or negative reinforcements we received as children to act or not behave in a particular way, which still conditions and affects our interpersonal interactions. 

The adapted child state complies to the wishes of others and behaves in a way that makes them feel good about themselves and accepted. 

But, it also has a rebellious side that manifests as resistance, antagonism, and emotional reactivity in the face of imagined confrontation.

The creative, impulsive, playful, and pleasure-seeking ego states of the free child occur quite frequently and interchangeably according to various external and internal factors. 

The Parent Ego State

The parent state can be divided into two types: the demanding/controlling parent state and the nurturing parent state. We have learned these behaviors and thought patterns via our experiences with our parents and other authoritative figures in the past (teachers, grandparents, etc.).

Berne thought that our first five years of life’s events led to the parent ego condition. This is the state where we find ourselves having a lot of “shoulds” and “should nots” about things. It is the state where we have a lot of judgments about how someone or something is.

Individuals behave in this way when they respond hastily to a situation and act in accordance with their upbringing, imitating how their parents (or other authoritative figures) treated them and others rather than considering each individual case.

It occurs when we speak to someone in an authoritative manner. The critical parent expresses disapproval in a severe, possibly hostile manner.

 The nurturing parent, on the other hand, attempts to take control of a situation more in a rescuing manner, trying to calm others, which can be quite inappropriate when speaking to other adults rather than children.

The State of Adult

The adult state doesn’t have any divisions like the other two have. Adults interact with people and their surroundings in the present moment, independent of past programming or how others have suggested they should behave.

This mentality is more open, more logical, and slower to pass harsh judgements on people or situations.

We are more inclined to be respectful, make concessions, listen intently to others, and engage in more positive social interactions when communication takes place in the adult state.

How to become a certified Transactional Analysis Therapist

Strengthening the client’s adult state is the main objective or driving force of TA therapy. This is accomplished by asking insightful questions and using appropriate techniques to uncover the client’s triggers for entering parent or child ego mode and develop practical techniques to employ during these circumstances in order to maintain their adult state (Berne, 1958).

TA places stress on our upbringing and our parenting because she feels that our early experiences, particularly those from birth to age five, have a significant impact on our behavior and how we connect with others.

This procedure, which analyzes and investigates the scripts we developed as children, is also known as script analysis. In order to make sense of our internal and external environments from early experiences and interactions, humans evolved scripts, which are unconsciously formed beliefs and perceptions that we have about ourselves, others, and the world.

Whatever positive or negative reinforcements we received as children to act or not behave in a certain way will be examined during script analysis, along with any life lessons we have imparted. For example, “only the luckiest get rich,” or “you have to suffer to succeed.”

Individuals will also question whether they are imitating or mimicking their parents’ and other authoritative figures’ behavior.

Additionally, more subliminal instructions we were given as children will be examined (also known as injunctions), such as being constantly told to keep quiet when your parents were talking to friends, which may have left us with the impression that “no one wants to hear me” or “what I have to say doesn’t really matter,” will be examined in therapy along with how they currently affect our interactions.

The parent, adult, and child diagram, often known as the “structural diagram,” is a helpful tool that TA practitioners use to assist clients understand the three states they have inside of them.

This influences their social and behavioral interactions and gives them a better understanding of how the three moods interact with one another in specific contexts and while speaking to particular individuals.

To acquire more insight into our unconscious world, enhance our connections with others, and lessen conflict, TA can be used in quick solution-focused treatment, long-term therapy, or both.

TA is adaptable and can be used in family counseling, couple’s therapy, and individual psychotherapy. Nurses, instructors, and even professionals working in the business or sales training sectors may find it useful to adapt it to their work with clients.

However, if one wishes to use this method as outlined above for therapy, one needs to get certified in TA. TA certification is handled and conducted by the International Transactional Analysis association. All the details about the latest dates and sessions can be found here


I hope this article has been helpful for you to understand all the necessary information about transactional analysis. 

All of us flow through all the three stages of interaction multiple times during our life and hence it is not only important to understand these stages for our own good but also so that we as coaches can help guide our clients through these stages effectively. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the purpose of Transactional Analysis?

The goal of transactional analysis, according to Eric Berne, is autonomy. Berne further divided autonomy into three parts: awareness, impulsivity, and the potential for closeness. 

The goal of transactional analysis is to help you become more present so that you can make wise judgments about your behavior, to be fully connected to both yourself and others without being constrained by the past. This is independence.

How many types of transactional analysis are there?

There are three main types of TA namely, complementary transactions, crossed transactions, and ulterior transactions. 

When the lines of the sender’s and the receiver’s ego states are parallel, a complementary transaction occurs (which can be seen in the image to the right).

This means that, regardless of the sender’s ego state, their message affects the desired ego state of the receiver. As a result, the recipient responds in a way that enhances rather than challenges the sender’s ego state.

Crossed transactions occur when two people connect but their ego states do not match because the sender’s ego state does not reach the recipient’s desired or intended ego state, causing them to respond to the sender in an inconsistent manner.

Ulterior transactions are when the sender outwardly gives a message to the receiver that sounds like it’s coming from his adult state to the receiver’s adult state.