“We are born princes and the civilizing
process makes us frogs” – Eric Berne

Transactional Analysis

Transactional Analysis (TA) was founded by Eric Berne, who sought to demystify psychotherapy and who developed concepts, language and methods understandable to everyone.

The most basic and best known TA concept is the Ego-state model. An ego-state is a set of related behaviours, thoughts and feelings. If, for example, we behave rationally in response to a situation, we are said to be in the Adult ego-state.

If, instead, we behave in a way that reminds us of our parents’ behaviour, we are said to be in our Parent ego-state. At times, we might think, feel or behave as we were as a child. This indicates that we might be in our Child ego-state.

Another well known TA concept is Script. Script theory says, that in the first few years of life, we receive very precise instructions about what we can do and what we can’t. These “instructions” are not just table manners or playground rules. They are the “script” of our whole life. From as early an age as 5 or 6 we see the world through the prism of our life script and ignore the facts that don’t fit this picture. Our script vision does not allow us to see all the variety of choices that life has to offer. As a result, we keep moving in circles, sometimes wondering why the same things keep happening to us again and again.

For example, a person with a Work Hard script theme will keep working long hours, despite the signs of deteriorating health. Or a woman with a Don’t be Important script message might choose to marry a man who will make her feel unimportant, therefore reinforcing her script beliefs.

To learn about your own script means to be able to get rid of it.

Transactional Analysis believes that we can live the life we choose, not the one we were programmed to live. By acknowledging your script beliefs you will be able to challenge them. Then you might finally become yourself.

If you are interested in finding out more about Transactional Analysis, go to the International Transactional Analysis Association website: www.ITAA.com or read my Article.