Transactional analysis uses different tools and techniques to help you understand how you relate to other people. Once you have learnt these techniques, you can use them for the rest of your life.
Transactional Analysis sessions can be carried out in the form of one-on-one counselling, or with families, couples or groups. And, although it is commonly recognised as a brief and solution-focused approach, transactional analysis can also be applied as an effective long-term, in-depth therapy.
Transactional analysis can be used in any field where there is a need for greater understanding of an individual’s communication behaviours and how these impact on their relationships – both personal and in work. Transactional Analysis can be incredibly powerful in helping an individual understand why they say the things they do and why they may have repeating patterns of relationships – for instance, understanding why partners may say they are needy or demanding. It can be particularly useful where there are areas of conflict, so couples can really benefit from this approach.
Transactional Analysis is used to explore a range of issues, including:
Eric Berne developed Transactional Analysis in response to more traditional forms of psychoanalysis, such as Freudian therapy. Berne was interested in our social interactions and believed that the way we relate to each other is a key cause of some of the issues we develop.
Transactional Analysis therapists believe there are three ego-states – or places that we operate out of. These are:
Transactional analysis purports that sometimes the difficulties we run into, such as work conflict or repeated patterns in relationships, are because we are operating out of an ego state that isn’t the most helpful to the situation.
For instance - we might react to a partner’s statement that they have lost their keys with anger (Critical parent) when a more useful response could be to say ‘I last saw them on the table’. When we react out of our ‘Critical parent’ the likelihood is we trigger our partner to respond out of one of their child states and this is where problems can arise as these states aren’t always the most helpful or easiest to navigate.
Though the above is a very brief summary of Transactional Analysis, it shows that by understanding our ego states better, and by learning why we think the way we do, we are able to make changes that then help the other people in our lives respond in more useful, healthier ways.
Transactional Analysis was exactly the right therapy for me – it has helped me enormously. I came looking for help in my career as I was bypassing promotions but walked away with a much healthier relationship with both my parents and my wife. It feels great!
It can be really hard to know which therapy is the right one for your current circumstances. It’s normal for people to find one type of therapy works at a particular time in their lives, but then change to another type later on.
The key indicators that Transactional Analysis might be a good choice for you are:
Before deciding to have Transactional Analysis, it might be helpful to think about the following: