Transactional Analysis

by Len Horridge

Introduction

Transactional Analysis, founded on research carried out by Doctor Eric Berne in the 1950s, has numerous uses, not just in psychoanalysis but also in business.

If you deal with people and want to do so in a more effective way, TA helps you to analyse why things go sometimes wrong and, just as importantly, why things go right.

The theory is based on the principle that we all have certain ‘ego states’ which we use in different ways in different situations.

An ego state is a state we have psychologically (normally) which determines our attitude and approach. This state is often governed by our own feelings in any given situation and those of the other party. For example, we will have one response when confronted by authority (the police, teachers, managers) and another when we are in control (being a parent, a boss or the elder statesman).

Different situations throw up different responses. Berne recognised this and used it as a basis for his theory as to how and why we respond in different ways.

By understanding these states and our own preferences, we can alter and tweak our behaviour to get better and different responses from most people.