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Encyclopedia > Transactional analysis

Transactional analysis, commonly known as TA to its adherents, is a psychoanalytic (ie, consciously post-Freudian) theory of psychology developed by Canadian-born US psychiatrist Eric Berne during the late 1950s. Today psychoanalysis comprises several interlocking theories concerning the functioning of the mind. ... Sigmund Freud His famous couch Sigmund Freud (May 6, 1856 - September 23, 1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of the psychoanalytic school of psychology, a movement that popularized the theory that unconscious motives control much behavior. ... Psychological science redirects here. ... For other uses, see Psychiatrist (disambiguation). ... Eric Berne (May 10, 1910 – July 15, 1970) was a Canadian-born psychiatrist best known as the creator of transactional analysis and the author of Games People Play. ...

Contents

History

TA is not only post-Freudian but according to its founder's wishes consciously extra-Freudian. That is to say that while it has its roots in psychoanalysis - since Berne was a psychoanalytic-trained psychiatrist - it was designed as a dissenting branch of psychoanalysis in that it put its emphasis on transactional, rather than "psycho-", analysis.


With its focus on transactions, TA shifted its attention from internal psychological dynamics to the dynamics contained in people's interactions. Rather than believing that increasing awareness of the contents of unconsciously held ideas was the therapeutic path TA concentrated on the content of people's interactions with each other. Changing these interactions was TA's path to solving emotional problems. For other uses, see Interaction (disambiguation). ...


In addition Berne believed in making a commitment to "curing" his patients rather than just understanding them. To that end he introduced one of the most important aspects of TA: the contract - an agreement entered into by both client and therapist to pursue specific changes that the client desires.


Revising Freud's concept of the human psyche as composed of the id, ego, and super-ego, Berne postulated instead three "ego states" — the Parent, Adult, and Child states — which were largely shaped through childhood experiences. These three are all part of Freud's ego; neither represented the id nor the superego. Sigmund Freud (IPA: ), born Sigismund Schlomo Freud (May 6, 1856 – September 23, 1939), was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who founded the psychoanalytic school of psychology. ... For other uses of ego and id, see EGO and ID. The ego is not sharply separated from the id; its lower portion merges into it. ...


Unhealthy childhood experiences could damage the Adult or Parent ego states, which would bring discomfort to an individual and/or others in a variety of forms, including many types of mental illness. A mental illness or mental disorder refers to one of many mental health conditions characterized by distress, impaired cognitive functioning, atypical behavior, emotional dysregulation, and/or maladaptive behavior. ...


Berne considered how individuals interact with one another, and how the ego states affected each set of transactions. Unproductive or counterproductive transactions were considered to be signs of ego state problems. Analysing these transactions, according to the person's individual developmental history, would enable the person to "get better". Berne thought that virtually everyone has something problematic about their ego states and that negative behaviour would not be addressed by "treating" only the problematic individual.


Berne identified a typology of common counterproductive social interactions, identifying these as "games".


Berne presented his theories in two popular books on transactional analysis: Games People Play (1964) and What Do You Say After You Say Hello? (1975). As a result of this popularity, TA came to be disdained in many[citation needed] mainstream mental health circles as an example of "pop psychology". I'm OK, You're OK (1969), written by Berne's longtime friend Thomas Anthony Harris, is probably the most popular TA book. Many TA therapists regard I'm OK, You're OK as an oversimplification or worse. Games People Play is a famous 1964 book by psychologist Eric Berne. ... The term popular psychology (frequently called pop psychology or pop psych), refers to concepts and theories about human mental life and behaviour that are purportedly based on psychology and that attain popularity amongst the general population. ... Cover of Im OK- Youre OK. Im OK, Youre OK (later republished as Im OK- Youre OK, ISBN 038000772X) by author Thomas Anthony Harris, is one of the most successful self-help books ever published. ... Thomas A. Harris is a psychiatrist famous for his self-help manual, Im OK, Youre OK. The book was a runaway bestseller and its title became a catch phrase of the 1960s and 70s. ...


TA was also dismissed by the conventional psychoanalytic community[citation needed] because of its radical departures from Freudian theory. However, by the 1970s, because of its non-technical and non-threatening jargon and model of the human psyche, many of its terms and concepts were adopted by eclectic therapists as part of their individual approaches to psychotherapy. It also served well as a therapy model for groups of patients, or marital/family counselees, where interpersonal (rather than intrapersonal) disturbances were the focus of treatment. Critics[1] have charged that TA — especially as loosely interpreted by those outside the more formal TA community — is a pseudoscience; when it is in fact better understood as a belief system. Integrative Psychotherapy involves the fusion of different schools of psychotherapy. ... Psychotherapy is an interpersonal, relational intervention used by trained psychotherapists to aid clients in problems of living. ... A typical 18th century phrenology chart. ... This article is currently under construction. ...


TA's popularity in the U.S. waned in the 1970s, but it retains some popularity elsewhere in the world.[1] The more dedicated TA purists banded together in 1964 with Berne to form a research and professional accrediting body, the International Transactional Analysis Association, or ITAA. The organization is still active as of 2007.


TA outline

TA is a theory of personality and a systematic psychotherapy for personal growth and personal change. Psychotherapy is an interpersonal, relational intervention used by trained psychotherapists to aid clients in problems of living. ...

  1. As a theory of personality, TA describes how people are structured psychologically. It uses what is perhaps its best known model, the ego-state (Parent-Adult-Child) model to do this. This same model helps understand how people function and express themselves in their behaviour.
  2. As a theory of communication it extends to a method of analysing systems and organisations.
  3. It offers a theory for child development.
  4. It introduces the idea of a "Life (or Childhood) Script", that is, a story one perceives about ones own life, to answer questions such as "What matters", "How do I get along in life" and "What kind of person am I". This story, TA says, is often stuck to no matter the consequences, to "prove" one is right, even at the cost of pain, compulsion, self-defeating behaviour and other dysfunction. Thus TA offers a theory of a broad range of psychopathology.
  5. In practical application, it can be used in the diagnosis and treatment of many types of psychological disorders, and provides a method of therapy for individuals, couples, families and groups.
  6. Outside the therapeutic field, it has been used in education, to help teachers remain in clear communication at an appropriate level, in counseling and consultancy, in management and communications training, and by other bodies.

Personality psychology is a branch of psychology which studies personality and individual differences. ... There is much discussion in the academic world of communication as to what actually constitutes communication. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

Key ideas of TA

TA emphasizes a pragmatic approach, that is, it seeks to find "what works" in treating patients, and, where applicable, develop models to assist understanding of why certain treatments work. Thus, TA continually evolves. However some core models and concepts are part of TA as follows:


The Ego-State (or Parent-Adult-Child, PAC) model

At any given time, a person experiences and manifests their personality through a mixture of behaviours, thoughts and feelings. Typically, according to TA, there are three ego-states that people consistently use:

  • Parent ("exteropsychic"): a state in which people behave, feel, and think in response to an unconscious mimicking of how their parents (or other parental figures) acted, or how they interpreted their parent's actions. For example, a person may shout at someone out of frustration because they learned from an influential figure in childhood the lesson that this seemed to be a way of relating that worked.
  • Adult ("neopsychic"): a state in which people behave, feel, and think in response to what is going on in the "here-and-now," using all of their resources as an adult human being with many years of life experience to guide them. This is the ideal ego state, and learning to strengthen the Adult is a goal of TA. While a person is in the Adult ego state, he/she is directed towards an objective appraisal of reality.
  • Child ("archaeopsychic"): a state in which people revert to behaving, feeling and thinking similarly to how they did in childhood. For example, a person who receives a poor evaluation at work may respond as they did in their childhood, by looking at the floor, and feeling shame or anger, as they used to when scolded as a child.

Berne differentiated his Parent, Adult, and Child ego states from actual adults, parents, and children, by using capital letters when describing them. These ego-states may or may not represent the relationships that they act out. For example, in the workplace, an adult supervisor may take on the Parent role, and scold an adult employee as though he were a Child. Or a child, using his Parent ego-state, could scold his actual parent as though the parent were a Child. Majuscules or capital letters (in the Roman alphabet: A, B, C, ...) are one type of case in a writing system. ...


Within each of these ego states are subdivisions. Thus Parental figures are often either nurturing (permission-giving, security-giving) or criticizing (comparing to family traditions and ideals in generally negative ways); Childhood behaviours are either natural (free) or adapted to others. These subdivision categorize individuals' patterns of behaviour, feelings, and ways of thinking, that can be functional (beneficial or positive) or dysfunctional/counterproductive (negative).


Ego-states do not correspond directly to Sigmund Freud's Ego, Superego and Id, although there are obvious parallels. Ego states are consistent for each person and are argued by TA practitioners as more readily observable than the pats in Freud's hypothetical model. In other words, the particular ego state that a given person is communicating from is determinable by external observation and experience. Sigmund Freud (IPA: ), born Sigismund Schlomo Freud (May 6, 1856 – September 23, 1939), was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who founded the psychoanalytic school of psychology. ... In his theory of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud sought to explain how the unconscious mind operates by proposing that it has a particular structure. ...


There is no "universal" ego-state; each state is individually and visibly manifested for each person. For example, each Child ego state is unique to the childhood experiences, mentality, intellect, and family of each individual; it is not a generalised childlike state.


Ego states can become contaminated, for example, when a person mistakes Parental rules and slogans, for here-and-now Adult reality, and when beliefs are taken as facts. Or when a person "knows" that everyone is laughing at him, because "they always laughed". This would be an example of a childhood contamination, insofar as here-and-now reality is being overlaid with memories of previous historic incidents in childhood.


Ego states also do not correspond directly to thinking, feeling, and judging, as these behaviors are present in every ego state.


Berne suspected that Parent, Adult, and Child ego states might be tied to specific areas of the human brain; an idea that has not been proved.[1]


In more recent years the three ego state model has been questioned by a marginal TA group in Australia, who have devised a "two ego-state model" as a means of solving perceived theoretical problems:


"The two ego-state model sought to correct inaccuracies in the three ego-state model Berne devised. The two ego-state model says that there is a Child ego-state and a Parent ego-state, placing the Adult ego-state with the Parent ego-state. The information we learn at school is all Parent ego-state introjects. How we learn to speak, add up and learn how to think is all just copied from our teachers. Just as our morals and values are copied from our parents. There is no absolute truth where facts exist out side a person’s own belief system. Berne mistakenly concluded that there was and thus mistakenly put the Adult ego-state as separate from the Parent ego-state." For anyone interested in sourcing this deviation from mainstream TA, see [2][3]


Transactions and Strokes

  • Transactions are the flow of communication, and more specifically the unspoken psychological flow of communication that runs in parallel.
  • Transactions occur simultaneously at both explicit and psychological levels. Example: sweet caring voice with sarcastic intent. To read the real communication requires both surface and non-verbal reading.
  • Strokes are the recognition, attentio,n or responsiveness that one person gives another. Strokes can be positive (nicknamed "warm fuzzies") or negative ("cold pricklies"). A key idea is that people hunger for recognition, and that lacking positive strokes, will seek whatever kind they can, even if it is recognition of a negative kind. We test out as children what strategies and behaviours seem to get us strokes, of whatever kind we can get.

People often create pressure in (or experience pressure from) others to communicate in a way that matches their style, so that a boss who talks to his staff as a controlling parent will often engender self-abasement or other childlike responses. Those employees who resist may get removed or labeled as "trouble". In psychology, specifically transactional analysis, warm fuzzies are positive strokes: gestures of positive recognition or attention. ...


Transactions can be experienced as positive or negative depending on the nature of the strokes within them. However, a negative transaction is preferred to no transaction at all, because of a fundamental hunger for strokes.


The nature of transactions is important to understanding communication.


Kinds of transactions

Reciprocal or Complementary Transactions

A simple, reciprocal transaction occurs when both partners are addressing the ego state the other is in. These are also called complementary transactions.


Example 1

A: "Have you been able to write the report?" (Adult to Adult)
B: "Yes - I'm about to email it to you." (Adult to Adult)

Example 2

A: "Would you like to come and watch a film with me?" (Child to Child)
B: "I'd love to - what shall we go and see?" (Child to Child)

Example 3

A: "Is your room tidy yet?" (Parent to Child)
B: "Will you stop hassling me? I'll do it eventually!" (Child to Parent)

Communication like this can continue indefinitely. (Clearly it will stop at some stage - but this psychologically balanced exchange of strokes can continue for some time).


Crossed Transactions

Communication failures are typically caused by a 'crossed transaction' where partners address ego states other than that their partner is in. Consider the above examples jumbled up a bit.


Example 1a:

A: "Have you been able to write that report?" (Adult to Adult)
B: "Will you stop hassling me? I'll do it eventually!" (Child to Parent)

is a crossed transaction likely to produce problems in the workplace. "A" may respond with a Parent to Child transaction. For instance:

A: "If you don't change your attitude you'll get fired"

Example 2a:

A: "Is your room tidy yet?" (Parent to Child)
B: "I'm just going to do it, actually." (Adult to Adult)

is a more positive crossed transaction. However there is the risk that "A" will feel aggrieved that "B" is acting responsibly and not playing his role, and the conversation will develop into:

A: "I can never trust you to do things!" (Parent to Child)
B: "Why don't you believe anything I say?" (Adult to Adult)

which can continue indefinitely.


Duplex or Covert transactions

Another class of transaction is the 'duplex' or 'covert' transactions, where the explicit social conversation occurs in parallel with an implicit psychological transaction. For instance,

A: "I need you to stay late at the office with me." (adult words)

body language indicates sexual intent (flirtatious child)

B: "Of course." (adult response to adult statement).

winking or grinning (child accepts the hidden motive).


Phenomena behind the transactions

Life (or Childhood) Script

  • Script is a life plan, directed to a pay-off.
  • Script is decisional and responsive, i.e., decided upon in childhood in response to perceptions of the world and as a means of living with and making sense of the world. It is not just thrust upon a person by external forces.
  • Script is reinforced by parents (or other influential figures and experiences).
  • Script is for the most part outside awareness.
  • Script is how we navigate and what we look for, the rest of reality is redefined (distorted) to match our filters.

Each culture, country and people in the world has a Mythos, that is, a legend explaining its origins, core beliefs and purpose. According to TA, so do individual people. A person begins writing his own life story (script) at a young age, as he tries to make sense of the world and his place within it. Although it is revised throughout life, the core story is selected and decided upon typically by age 7. As adults it passes out of awareness. A life script might be "to be hurt many times, and suffer and make others feel bad when I die", and could result in a person indeed setting himself up for this, by adopting behaviours in childhood that produce exactly this effect. Though Berne identified several dozen common scripts, there are a practically infinite number of them. Though often largely destructive, scripts could as easily be mostly positive or beneficial. In operant conditioning, reinforcement is an increase in the strength of a response following the presentation of a stimulus contingent on that response. ... Look up muthos in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Redefining and Discounting

  • Redefining means the distortion of reality when we deliberately (but unconsciously) distort things to match our preferred way of seeing the world. Thus a person whose script involves "struggling alone against a cold hard world" may redefine others' kindness, concluding that others are trying to get something by manipulation.
  • Discounting means to take something as worth less than it is. Thus to give a substitute reaction which does not originate as a here-and-now Adult attempt to solve the actual problem, or to choose not to see evidence that would contradict one's script. Types of discount can also include: passivity (doing nothing), over-adaptation, agitation, incapacitation, anger and violence.

Injunctions and Drivers

TA identifies twelve key injunctions which people commonly build into their scripts. These are injunctions in the sense of being powerful "I can't/mustn't ..." messages that embed into a child's belief and life-script:

Don't be (don't exist), Don't be who you are, Don't be a child, Don't grow up, Don't make it in your life, Don't do anything!, Don't be important, Don't belong, Don't be close, Don't be well (don't be sane!), Don't think, Don't feel.
In addition there is the so-called episcript, "You should (or deserve to) have this happen in your life, so it doesn't have to happen to me." (Magical thinking on the part of the parent(s).)

Against these, a child is often told other things he or she must do. There is debate as to whether there are five or six of these 'drivers':

Please (me/others)! Be perfect! Be Strong! Try Hard! Hurry Up! (Be Careful! is disputed)

Thus in creating his script, a child will often attempt to juggle these, example: "It's okay for me to go on living (ignore don't exist) so long as I try hard".


This explains why some change is inordinately difficult. To continue the above example: When a person stops trying hard and relaxes to be with his family, the injunction You don't have the right to exist which was being suppressed by their script now becomes exposed and a vivid threat. Such an individual may feel a massive psychological pressure which he himself doesn't understand, to return to trying hard, in order to feel safe and justified (in a childlike way) in existing.


Driver behaviour is also detectable at a very small scale, for instance in instinctive responses to certain situations where driver behaviour is played out over five to twenty seconds.


Broadly, scripts can fall into Tragic, Heroic or Banal (or Non-Winner) varieties, depending on their rules.


Series of transactions

Rituals

A ritual is a series of transactions that are complementary (reciprocal), stereotyped and based on social programming. Rituals usually comprise a series of strokes exchanged between two parties.


For instance, two people may have a daily two stroke ritual, where, the first time they meet each day, each one greets the other with a "Hi". Others may have a four stroke ritual, such as:


A: Hi!


B: Hi! How do you do?


A: Getting along. What about you?


B: Fine. See you around.


The next time they meet in the day, they may not exchange any strokes at all, or may just acknowledge each other's presence with a curt nod.


Some phenomena associated with daily rituals:

  • If a person exchanges fewer strokes than expected, the other person may feel that he is either preoccupied or acting high and mighty.
  • If a person exchanges more strokes than expected, the other person might wonder whether he is trying to butter him up or get on good terms for some vested interests.
  • If two people do not meet for a long time, a backlog of strokes gets built up, so that the next time they meet, they may exchange a large number of strokes to catch up.

Pastimes

A pastime is a series of transactions that is complementary (reciprocal), semi-ritualistic, and is mainly intended as a time-structuring activity. Pastimes have no covert purpose and can usually be carried out only between people on the same wavelength. They are usually shallow and harmless. Pastimes are a type of smalltalk.


Individuals often partake in similar pastimes throughout their entire life, as pastimes are generally very much linked to ones life script and the games that one often plays. Some pastimes can even be understood as a reward for playing a certain game. For example, Eric Berne in Games People Play discusses how those who play the "Alcoholic" game (which Berne differentiated from alcoholism and alcoholics) often enjoy the "Morning After" pastime in which participants share their most amusing or harrowing hangover stories. King Alcohol and his Prime Minister circa 1820 Alcoholism is the consumption of or preoccupation with alcoholic beverages to the extent that this behavior interferes with the alcoholics normal personal, family, social, or work life. ... For other uses, see Hangover (disambiguation). ...


Other kinds of transactional series

The other kinds include procedures, operations and games. Games are discussed below.


Games and their analysis

Definition of game

A game[4] is a series of transactions that is complementary (reciprocal), ulterior, and proceeds towards a predictable outcome. Games are often characterized by a switch in roles of players towards the end. Games are usually played by Parent, Adult and Child ego states, and games usually have a fixed number of players; however, an individual's role can shift, and people can play multiple roles. A parent is a father or mother; one who begets or one who gives birth to or nurtures and raises a child; a relative who plays the role of guardian // Mother This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... For the adult insect stage, see Imago. ... For other uses, see Child (disambiguation). ... eGO is a company that builds electric motor scooters which are becoming popular for urban transportation and vacation use. ...


Berne identified dozens of games, noting that, regardless of when, where or by whom they were played, each game tended towards very similar structures in how many players or roles were involved, the rules of the game, and the game's goals.


Each game has a payoff for those playing it, such as the aim of earning sympathy, satisfaction, vindication, or some other emotion that usually re-enforces the life script. The antithesis of a game, that is, the way to break it, lies in discovering how to deprive the actors of their payoff.


Students of transactional analysis have discovered that people who are accustomed to a game are willing to play it, even if as a different "actor" from what they originally were.


Analysis of a game

One important aspect of a game is its number of players. Games may be two handed (that is, played by two players), three handed (that is, played by three players), or many handed. Three other quantitative variables are often useful to consider for games:

  • Flexibility: The ability of the players to change the currency of the game (that is, the tools they use to play it). In a flexible game, players may shift from words, to money, to parts of the body.
  • Tenacity: The persistence with which people play and stick to their games and their resistance to breaking it.
  • Intensity: Easy games are games played in a relaxed way. Hard games are games played in a tense and aggressive way.

Based on the degree of acceptability and potential harm, games are classified as:

  • First Degree Games are socially acceptable in the players' social circle.
  • Second Degree Games are games that the players would like to conceal, though they may not cause irreversible damage.
  • Third Degree Games are games that could lead to drastic harm to one or more of the parties concerned.

Games are also studied based on their:

  • Aim
  • Roles
  • Social and Psychological Paradigms
  • Dynamics
  • Advantages to players (Payoffs)

Contrast with rational (mathematical) games

Transactional game analysis is fundamentally different from rational or mathematical game analysis in the following senses:

  • The players do not always behave rationally in transactional analysis, but behave more like real people.
  • Their motives are often ulterior

Some commonly found games

Here are some of the most commonly found themes of games described in Games People Play by Eric Berne: Games People Play is a famous 1964 book by psychologist Eric Berne. ... Eric Berne (May 10, 1910 – July 15, 1970) was a Canadian-born psychiatrist best known as the creator of transactional analysis and the author of Games People Play. ...

  • YDYB: Why Don't You, Yes But. Historically, the first game discovered.
  • IFWY: If It Weren't For You
  • WAHM: Why does this Always Happen to Me? (setting up a self-fulfilling prophecy)
  • SWYMD: See What You Made Me Do
  • UGMIT: You Got Me Into This
  • LHIT: Look How Hard I've Tried
  • ITHY: I'm Only Trying to Help You
  • LYAHF: Let's You and Him Fight (staging a love triangle)
  • NIGYYSOB: Now I've got you, you son of a bitch

Berne argued that games are not played logically; rather, one person's Parent state might interact with another's Child, rather than as Adult to Adult. A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true. ... A love triangle is a romantic relationship involving three people. ...


Games can also be analysed according to the Karpman drama triangle, that is, by the roles of Persecutor, Victim and Rescuer. The 'switch' is then when one of these having allowed stable roles to become established, suddenly switches role. The victim becomes a persecutor, and throws the previous persecutor into the victim role, or the rescuer suddenly switches to become a persecutor ("You never appreciate me helping you!"). The drama triangle is a psychological and social model of human interaction in transactional analysis (TA) first described by Stephen Karpman, which has become widely acknowledged in psychology and psychotherapy. ...


Why Don't You/Yes But

The first such game theorized was Why don't you/Yes, but in which one player (White) would pose a problem as if seeking help, and the other player(s) (Black) would offer solutions (the "Why don't you?" suggestion). This game was noticed as many patients played it in therapy and psychiatry sessions, and inspired Berne to identify other interpersonal "games".


White would point out a flaw in every Black player's solution (the "Yes, but" response), until they all gave up in frustration. For example, if someone's life script was "to be hurt many times, and suffer and make others feel bad when I die" a game of "Why Don't You, Yes But" might proceed as follows:

White: I wish I could lose some weight.
Black: Why don't you join a gym?
W: Yes but, I can't afford the payments for a gym.
B: Why don't you speed walk around your block after you get home from work?
W: Yes but, I don't dare walk alone in my neighborhood after dark.
B: Why don't you take the stairs at work instead of the elevator?
W: Yes but, after my knee surgery, it hurts too much to walk that many flights of stairs.
B: Why don't you change your diet?
W: Yes but, my stomach is sensitive and I can tolerate only certain foods.

"Why Don't You, Yes But" can proceed indefinitely, with any number of players in the Black role, until Black's imagination is exhausted, and she can think of no other solutions. At this point, White "wins" by having stumped Black. After a silent pause following Black's final suggestion, the game is often brought to a formal end by a third role, Green, who makes a comment such as, "It just goes to show how difficult it is to lose weight."


The secondary gain for White was that he could claim to have justified his problem as insoluble and thus avoid the hard work of internal change; and for Black, to either feel the frustrated martyr ("I was only trying to help") or a superior being, disrespected ("the patient was uncooperative").


Superficially, YDYB can resemble Adult to Adult interaction (people seeking information or advice), but more often, according to Berne, the game is played by Black's helpless Child, and White's lecturing Parent ego states.


Now I've got you, you son of a bitch

Another common game is "Now I've got you, you son of a bitch." This is played when White would exploit some small error or fault of Black in order to extract an exorbitant payoff, such as a customer holding up a $3,000 payment on a plumbing job, and demanding, say, a $50 or $100 discount because of an unauthorized 95c overcharge.


Rackets

  • A racket is the dual strategy of getting "permitted feelings," while covering up feelings which we truly feel, but which we regard as being "not allowed".

More technically, a racket feeling is "a familiar set of emotions, learned and enhanced during childhood, experienced in many different stress situations, and maladaptive as an adult means of problem solving". In psychology, a behavior or trait is adaptive when it helps an individual adjust and function well within their environment. ...


A racket is then a set of behaviours which originate from the childhood script rather than in here-and-now full Adult thinking, which (1) are employed as a way to manipulate the environment to match the script rather than to actually solve the problem, and (2) whose covert goal is not so much to solve the problem, as to experience these racket feelings and feel internally justified in experiencing them.


Examples of racket and racket feelings: "Why do I meet good guys who turn out to be so hurtful", or "He always takes advantage of my goodwill". The racket is then a set of behaviours and chosen strategies learned and practised in childhood which in fact help to cause these feelings to be experienced. Typically this happens despite their own surface protestations and hurt feelings, out of awareness and in a way that is perceived as someone else's fault. One covert pay-off for this racket and its feelings, might be to gain in a guilt free way, continued evidence and reinforcement for a childhood script belief that "People will always let you down". In operant conditioning, reinforcement is an increase in the strength of a response following the presentation of a stimulus contingent on that response. ...


In other words, rackets and games are devices used by a person to create a circumstance where they can legitimately feel the racket feelings, thus abiding by and reinforcing their Childhood script. They are always a substitute for a more genuine and full adult emotion and response which would be a more appropriate response to the here-and-now situation.


Philosophy of TA

  • People are OK; thus each person has validity, importance, equality of respect.
  • Everyone (with only few exceptions) has full adult capability to think.
  • People decide their story and destiny, and this is a decision that can be changed.
  • Freedom from historical maladaptations embedded in the childhood script is required in order to become free of inappropriate inauthentic and displaced emotion which are not a fair and honest reflection of here-and-now life (such as echoes of childhood suffering, pity-me and other mind games, compulsive behaviour, and repetitive dysfunctional life patterns).
  • TA is goal-oriented, not merely problem-oriented.
  • The aims of change under TA are autonomy (freedom from childhood script), spontaneity, intimacy, problem solving as opposed to avoidance or passivity, cure as an ideal rather than merely 'making progress', learning new choices.

Transactional Analysis Today

Leaving psychoanalysis half a century ago, Eric Berne presented transactional analysis to the world as a phenomenological approach replacing Freud's philosophical construct with observable data. His theory used the science of Penfield and Spitz along with the neo-analytic thought of people such as Federn, Weiss and Erikson. By moving to an interpersonal motivational theory, he placed it both in opposition to the psychoanalytic traditions of his day and within what would become the psychoanalytic traditions of the future. From Berne, transactional analysts have inherited a determination to create an accessible and user-friendly system, an understanding of script or life-plan, ego states, transactions, and a theory of groups. They also inherited troubled aspects of his thinking and personality, especially his rebelliousness and antagonism toward the psychoanalysis of his day. They have inherited misunderstandings arising from the ill-informed equation of the ego states of transactional analysis with the psychoanalytic constructs of id, ego, and superego, the consequences of the popularity of his book Games People Play, and problems arising from coercive reparenting techniques (the 1980s Schiff scandal) which were rejected long ago but have continued under other names and auspices. These problems have been compounded by the isolationist and elitist attitude that permeated the beginnings of transactional analysis as it established its own standards for competency based credentialing without taking into account other training or certification in occupational fields – while at the same time paradoxically cultivating the “pop psychology” image that appealed to mental health clients and other consumers in organizations and education. Dr Wilder Graves Penfield, CC, OM, CMG, MD, FRS (January 25/26, 1891 – April 5, 1976) was a American-born Canadian neurosurgeon. ... René Árpád Spitz (1887, Vienna - November 11, 1974, Denver) was an American psychoanalyst of Hungarian origin. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ...


Fifty years later

Within the overarching framework of transactional analysis, more recent transactional analysts have elaborated several different, if overlapping, “flavors:” cognitive, behavioral, relational, redecision, integrative, constructivist, narrative, body-work, positive psychological, personality adaptational, self-reparenting, psychodynamic, and neuroconstructivist. Some transactional analysts highlight the many things they have in common with cognitive-behavioral therapists: the use of contracts with clear goals, the attention to cognitive distortions (called “Adult decontamination” or “Child deconfusion”), the focus on the client’s conscious attitudes and behaviors and the use of “strokes”. Cognitive based transactional analysts use ego state identification to identify communication distortions and teach different functional options in the dynamics of communication. Some have the competence to make additional contracts for more profound work involving life-plans or scripts or with unconscious processes, including those which manifest in the client-therapist relationship as transference and countertransference, and define themselves as psychodynamic or relational transactional analysts. Some highlight the study and promotion of subjective well-being and optimal human functioning rather than pathology and so identify with the new “positive psychology” movement. Many are increasingly influenced by current research in attachment, mother-infant interaction, and by the implications of interpersonal neurobiology, and non-linear dynamic systems. However, whatever the particular "flavor" of TA preferred by the individual practitioner, all share a common group of Bernian concepts: ego states, transactions, strokes, games, scripts and existential positions. Thereby they form an interpretive community. Stanley Fish (born 1938) is a prominent American literary theorist and legal scholar. ...


Today the training and certification standards of TA are to a large degree synchronized with normatives set by the various National Awarding Organizations (see EAP, UKCP, PACFA..). The Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) is the umbrella professional body that plays a self-regulating role in the psychotherapy and counselling industry. ...


References:


Allen, J.R. (2006). Transactional analysis as an interpretive community: Identity and destiny in 2007. The Script, International Transactional Analysis Association,36(9):1-5.


Berne, E. (1961). Transactional analysis in psychotherapy: A systematic individual and social psychiatry. New York: Grove Press


Pop TA

Berne's ability to express the ideas of TA in common language and his popularisation of the concepts in mass-market books inspired a boom of 'popular' TA texts, some of which simplify TA concepts to a deleterious degree.


One example is a caricature of the structural model, where it is made out that the Parent judges, the Adult thinks and the Child feels. Most serious TA texts, including those aimed at the mass market rather than professionals, avoid this degree of oversimplification.


Thomas Harris's highly successful popular work from the late 1960s, I'm OK, You're OK is largely based on Transactional Analysis. A fundamental divergence, however, between Harris and Berne is that Berne postulates that everyone starts life in the "I'm OK" position, whereas Harris believes that life starts out "I'm not OK, you're OK". Many transactional analysts have regarded Harris as too far-removed from core TA beliefs to be considered a transactional analyst. Thomas A. Harris is a psychiatrist famous for his self-help manual, Im OK, Youre OK. The book was a runaway bestseller and its title became a catch phrase of the 1960s and 70s. ... Cover of Im OK- Youre OK. Im OK, Youre OK (later republished as Im OK- Youre OK, ISBN 038000772X) by author Thomas Anthony Harris, is one of the most successful self-help books ever published. ...


Controversy

In 2001 the French Interministerial Anti-Cult Mission (MILS) (PDF) wrote (p 101-2 ):

MILS examined the organisation of a French group offering training in 'transactional analysis'. This organisation reveals a system of pyramid selling. Every new "member" is authorised, or even obliged, to take on patients for 'transactional analysis' while they are themselves still training as therapists. Treating patients provides them with the means of paying for their own training. Dues are payable to the organisation's master in psychotherapy at regional, national and international level. The patients undergoing therapy form the base of the pyramid, followed by the "contracts,[…] those being trained in the four fields", i.e., guidance, education, organisation, and psychotherapy. The "contracts" may become "qualified in the four fields", "trainee teachers" or "trainers"...

MILS has also been informed of practices contrary to individual dignity by psychotherapists or practitioners of 'transactional analysis'. There was clearly collusion and solidarity among dubious professional organisations and groups to the detriment of victims. Self-styled ethics committees or professional ethics commissions discredit the complaints, gather false witness statements and come out in favour of the psychotherapists concerned..

In the United States, a controversy existed (and was eventually resolved) regarding Jacqui Schiff's abuse of TA.[1]


See also

Sigmund Freud (IPA: ), born Sigismund Schlomo Freud (May 6, 1856 – September 23, 1939), was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who founded the psychoanalytic school of psychology. ... In his theory of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud sought to explain how the unconscious mind operates by proposing that it has a particular structure. ... Herbert Harry Stack Sullivan (February 21, 1892, Norwich, New York – January 14, 1949, Paris, France) was a U.S. psychiatrist whose work in psychoanalysis was based on direct and verifiable observation (versus the more abstract conceptions of the unconscious mind favored by Sigmund Freud and his disciples). ... The drama triangle is a psychological and social model of human interaction in transactional analysis (TA) first described by Stephen Karpman, which has become widely acknowledged in psychology and psychotherapy. ... Claude Steiner was born January 6, 1935 in Paris, France. ... The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations is a descriptive list which was created by Georges Polti in 1868 to categorize every dramatic situation which might occur in a story or performance. ... Margaret Thaler Singer (1921 - 2003) was a clinical psychologist and emeritus professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, USA. Dr. Singer was born in Denver and received her bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Denver. ... A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true. ... A love triangle is a romantic relationship involving three people. ...

References

  1. ^ a b c d http://www.skepticreport.com/pseudoscience/attachmenttherapy.htm#A16
  2. ^ http://graffiti99.blogspirit.com/archive/2007/02/24/two-ego-state-model.html
  3. ^ http://www.ausweblogs.com/users/ynot1/?p=63
  4. ^ this section draws heavily on TA Today: A New Introduction to Transactional Analysis by Ian Stewart, Vann Joines

Books by Eric Berne (Popular)

  • (1964) Games People Play. New York: Grove Press. ISBN 0-14-002768-8.
    • (1996) (Paperback reissue ed.) New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-41003-3.
  • (1975) A Layman's Guide to Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis (Paperback); 1975, Grover Press; ISBN 0-394-17833-X
  • (1975) What Do You Say After You Say Hello? ISBN 0-552-09806-X.

Games People Play is a famous 1964 book by psychologist Eric Berne. ...

Books by Eric Berne (Other)

  • Transactional Analysis in Psychotherapy. ISBN 0-285-64776-8.
  • The Structure and Dynamics of Organizations and Groups. ISBN 0-345-23481-2.

Books by other authors

  • Ian Stewart, Vann Joines - TA Today: A New Introduction to Transactional Analysis
  • (1990) (Paperback reissue ed.) Scripts People Live: Transactional Analysis of Life Scripts. New York: Grove Press By Claude Steiner ISBN 0-394-49267-6.
  • Reparenting, TA and ITAA. Margaret Singer, Janja Lalich Crazy Therapies : What Are They? Do They Work? 1996, ISBN 0-7879-0278-0
  • Celebrate Your Self. Corkille Briggs, Dorothy. (1986). Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group. ISBN 0-385-13105-4
  • Steiner, Claude, and JoAnn Dick (illustrator). The Original Warm Fuzzy Tale: A Fairytale. Sacramento: Jalmar Press, 1977. ISBN 0915190087.

Margaret Thaler Singer (1921 - 2003) was a clinical psychologist and emeritus professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, USA. Dr. Singer was born in Denver and received her bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Denver. ...

External links

General

Skepticism about TA

Practical Application Of TA


  Results from FactBites:
 
Transactional analysis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3527 words)
Transactional analysis, commonly known as TA to its adherents, is a psychoanalytic theory of psychology developed by psychiatrist Eric Berne during the late 1950s.
Another class of transaction is the 'duplex' or 'covert' transactions, where the explicit social conversation occurs in parallel with an implicit psychological transaction.
Students of transactional analysis have discovered that people who are used to a game are willing to play it, even if as a different actor from what they originally were.
Transactional Analysis (1128 words)
In the Transactional Analysis model the human personality consists of three "selves" -- the impulsive "Child," the socially-conditioned "Parent," and the logical "Adult." -- any of which may be in control of a person during a social situation (called a transaction).
While a "Parent-Child" transaction might superficially lead someone to believe that a domination-subjugation relationship is taking place, what is actually diagrammed is the clash between the authoritarian conditioning (played back by the "Parent"), on the one hand, and the instinctual feelings, such as frustration and alienation (replayed in the "Child"), on the other.
Transactional analysis again falls short by overlooking the circumstances underwhich the transaction came about, that is, whether or not it was the product of free and voluntary association.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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