Transactional Analysis (TA) is a simple and easy way to analyze ego states, transactions, rackets and games for the purpose of changing one’s life script. TA was developed by Eric Berne, MD in the 1960’s, and popularized by his books, “Games People Play” and “What Do You Say After You Say Hello?” Many people are familiar with the phrase, “I’m Okay; You’re Okay” which is the basic tenet of TA. Through the learning of your personality adaptation by completing the Joines Personality Adaptation, you will quickly identify areas for self change. TA is contract driven therapy. This means you decide what it is you want to change about yourself and the therapist’s role is to point out everything that seems dysfunctional. The responsibility for change is shared by the client and the therapist. This means both parties are clear about what kind of change is being sought by the client and the contribution each will make to the achievement of that self-change contract. With a clearly stated contract, both parties will know when their work is completed rather than spend months, years working on the problem. The focus of therapy is the goal of change rather than attending to the problem.
The focus of TA therapy is the goal of change rather than attending to the problem.
Autonomy means freedom from script, responding to life in the here and now, choosing to abandon script beliefs and living with full awareness, spontaneity and intimacy.
Dr. Berne’s emphasized “cure the patient” not help him just “make progress.” A cure is not a one time solution and that’s it for life. Instead, cure means learning new choices and choosing to act on these new ways of thinking, feeling or behaving in an effective way.
Why TA? Everyone has a story they believe is the way the world is and the story, also, defines their self worth. For example, you may believe that you must work and work and not allow yourself any free time to enjoy life. Your family may complain to you how disappointed they are that you are not available to them. You may be someone who goes on a vacation and works the entire time. Knowing your story is the first step in changing. Many people are “sleep walking” or in a “trance” by listening to their self-talk. Learning about this internal dialogue (self-talk) would then give you an option to disconnect from it or not. When you decide to disidentify from this self-talk you are then in the here and now.
What do you mean by self-talk? Everyone has a dialogue or monologue playing in his or her head. TA helps you become aware of this dialogue. Until you have this awareness, you cannot make a change in your life that will be effective. In TA, the focus is not on the problem, but on being in the here and now, in other words, being authentic. There are three ego states: Parent, Adult and Child. The Adult ego state is experienced in the here and now.
What will I get out of Transactional Analysis (TA)? You will learn how to examine your thoughts so you can choose to listen or not to your internal dialogue. This dialogue is normal, habitual, and reinforces your story that keeps you stuck in either the past or future.
Can you be specific and tell me the steps or process for TA?
- The Joines Personality Adaptation (JPA) is given (a paper and pencil test) to determine your preferred way of coping learned in childhood based on genetic programming and your early life experiences. There are six types (Responsible-Workalcoholic, Playful-Resister, Enthusiast-Overreactor, Brilliant-Skeptic, Charming-Manipulator and Creative-Daydreamer) and everyone will possess some combinations of them.
- Reading the handouts on your personality adaptations and noting those areas for growth that you may want to change about yourself. Our work will focus on the top two adaptations, unless there is a tie and then a third adaptation is considered.
- Learning how strokes, games, rackets, discounting, and script matrix keep you stuck in childhood coping strategies that don’t work anymore.
- Learning the importance of disrupting your self-talk so you can choose.
- Learning that avoiding the psychological pain has not worked.
- Learning you can deal with your psychological pain without making things worse in your life.
- Learning what your emotional needs are and deciding to get them met in a healthy way.
- Learning how to give yourself permission to change and at the same time being aware of feeling afraid.
TA for couples the focus will be on understanding the developmental process of a relationship and the need for safety and mutual protection so the desired changes can occur.