Transactional analysis (TA) is a form of psychotherapy in which determination of client’s current or past ego states is defined by analysing transactions. These can take place either between the client and the therapist, between members of therapy group, between a couple (if in relationship therapy) or any other past event.
Transactions are analysed in the way that they determine either the ego state of the client (Parent, Adult, Child) or to determine any other intra-psychic process or characteristic.
The father of transactional analysis (TA) was Eric Berne (1910-1970), a Canadian psychiatrist, who based transactional analysis theory on psychoanalytical grounds of Freud, but nonetheless distanced transactional analysis from psychoanalysis.
Transactional analysis has elements of psychoanalytic, humanistic and behavioural ideas and. It can be used in classical form (1 person), integrative (1 ½ person) and relational (2 person) relationship between the therapist and client.
If used as functional model, transactional analysis analyses transactions between individuals or intra-psychic transactions. If used as structural model, it analyses content and “energy” of different ego-states (Parent, Adult, Child).
Transactional analysis can be used either in individual therapy, group therapy setting, couples therapy, family therapy or any other form of therapeutic interaction. Eric Berne based and practiced it predominantly in group therapy setting.
Transactional analysis as philosophy puts the power of change and the accountability for change into the client. The therapist only acts as someone that helps the client find the way into change.
One of basic philosophies of transactional analysis is that people are “OK” in their essence and as core selves. It is the actions that are sometimes not OK, however, this has not influence on the worth of a person.
Each person has their rationale for the actions they preform and each rationale is rational, depending on the circumstances the person has been through, regardless of how irrational it may seem.
Everyone has the capacity to think and to be accountable for their own thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
This philosophy is the fundament for putting the power of change into the client and also recognising the potential for change. When this philosophy is accepted by the client, the change can occur.