Transactional analysis

Psychotherapeutic method developed by Eric Berne.

Psychotherapy is a process that takes place between a therapist and a patient or group of patients, and consists of a series of verbal and nonverbal techniques that aim to bring about a better mental functioning or eliminate symptoms of mental illness.

Psychotherapy may be performed with specific qualifications doctors, psychologists, social workers and therapists, who have a university diploma and a four-year, postgraduate, in-depth and experiential training in psychotherapy.

Psychotherapy word derived from the Greek words psyche-soul-therapeia treatment. Most psychotherapeutic directions involve oral communication as the basis of psychotherapeutic process. Some courses also use various other forms of communication such as the written word, artwork, drama, storytelling, music, or therapeutic touch. Psychotherapy occurs within a structured encounter between a trained therapist and client.
Theoretical foundations of psychoanalytic psychotherapy are set at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Since then it has developed a number of different psychotherapeutic directions.

What is Transactional Analysis?

Transactional Analysis (lat. transactio = agreement) is allied to the techniques of psychotherapy and counseling, and is a method of observing and influencing human behavior and experience. It combines psychoanalytical, linguistic, behaviorist and cognitive elements into a unified approach. TA was founded by the Canadian psychiatrist Eric Berne (1910-1970) and interprets behavior and experience from changing “ego states”

Transaction analysis is the analysis of all possible transactions (social behavior) between two or more persons on the basis of clearly defined ego states (P – parent, A – adults, C – child).

TA starts with the assumption that every person is made up of partial personalities, called ego states, and communication is oriented to these ego states. Since it assumes a social element, the transaction that corresponds to that which two or more exchange with one another. The exchange transaction is communication.

Berne understands transaction to be the verbal or non-verbal communication (message) that one person addresses to another and the response to that. Berne describes that as the basis of every social action that arises from a stimulus and a reaction. Every one of our messages stems from a particular ego state and is addressed to a particular ego state of our communication partner. The purpose of analyzing transactions is to discover which ego state is involved.

Berne understands under ego-state a certain category of feelings and thoughts that lead to attitudes or states of mind. He distinguishes between three ego states:

  1. P – the parent-ego state – is derived from the behavior of our parents or of authoritative persons which we have taken over and which is like a tape which has been saved in our brains. When we are in our parent-egos, we act like our parents or those important for our upbringing would have acted. The parent ego can be either an attitude out of our own decision concerning values and orientations or an attitude which does not represent the results of our own considerations or our own independent decisions; it is taking over opinions: in this case we are not autonomous in the parent ego state. The parent ego punishes and praises, criticizes and encourages, is responsible for education, tradition, values, ethics and consciousness.
  2. A – the adult-ego state – is the thoughtful but also the emotionless, unimaginative, sober part of the personality. It is the practical stance which is oriented to the objective registration of reality. In the Adult ego state, information is collected and analyzed, and decisions accordingly met. In the adult ego, we also examine traditional opinions and judgments that we have taken over from our Parent ego, and we try to keep our actions free from the rash emotions from our Child ego.
  3. C – the child-ego state – While the parent ego registers the outer influences, the child ego makes an inner recording. The child ego state is basically a behavior pattern held over from childhood that we rediscover later in grown-ups as the “all men are boys at heart” syndrome. Feelings are shown in the child ego; here impulsive, spontaneous or even intuitive behavior is expressed.
We can identify the different ego-states according to:
  • body language
  • tone of voice and
  • verbal statements.
In order to understand human behavior transactional analysis uses four methods:
  1. An analysis of patterns of personality – which contributes to the understanding of internal events;
  2. An analysis of transactions – which contributes to the understanding of what is happening in social relationships;
  3. An analysis of games – which clarifies some established and bad, unproductive or destructive relationships between people;
  4. An analysis of the script – which contributes to the understanding of life course or life plan what people perform.

What is the goal of transactional analysis?

The aim of transactional analysis is autonomy. Achieving autonomy is reflected in the strengthening of three resources: awareness, spontaneity and intimacy. For Bern autonomy means health.

  • Awareness – includes living in the here and now (not in the past or the future), but not to be bound only by the moment. It means see things unloaded by past experiences, and thereby be fully aware of themselves, others and the situations in which we find ourselves, and on this basis to be able to predict the future consequences of an action after the selection. Being aware means to experience the world directly, and be fully aware of the reality in which we currently find ourselves.
  • Spontaneity – means being able to choose, to have the freedom to choose and to manifest feelings from all available sources and supplies, or ego states (Parent, Adult, Child), in the manner most appropriate situation. Spontaneity means openly and without censorship express our feelings, desires and needs.
  • Intimacy – closeness or the ability to receive and give love, honesty and openness without censorship, without manipulation and games. It is unspoilt and innocently experiencing here and now, while the person is able to see the other person with sense of wonder and curiosity, and not from necessity and need for other person.

Who needs Transactional Analysis?

  • All those who wish to learn about their personality;
  • Anyone who wants to become aware of his/her deep beliefs, patterns of thinking and behavior;
  • All those who want to discover their true identity and values;
  • All those who want to act responsibly and consciously in everyday life;
  • All those who want to develop self-confidence;
  • Anyone who wants to learn to structure their time effectively;
  • Anyone who wants to learn to communicate well with the people around them;
  • Anyone who wants to increase awareness;
  • Anyone who wants to live in autonomy.

How looks transaction psychotherapy?

Consists of a conversation for 60 minutes. The specificity of this type of psychotherapy is the contract between the client and psychotherapist. The contract commits both, and shall specify clearly the aim of the change that client wants to achieve – clearly defined specifications how the client will behave, feel and think when the goal is reached. It also determines what contributes to this goal, and what it distracts from the goal, and the definition of specific behaviors, thoughts and feelings, which, when they occur, indicating that the treatment goal was achieved. In this way it is known in advance and can be measured by the completion of therapy.

What are the different psychological professions?

There are many significant differences between psychiatry, psychology and psychotherapy. Each deals with different types of problems. But there is also some overlap and similarities in their work as the brief description of each profession below shows:

  • Psychiatrists are qualified medical doctors, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. They can prescribe psychiatric medication.
  • Psychologists are social scientists who study behavior and mental processes. Some work in research, education and commercial fields. Psychologists provide, administer and interpret psychological tests and assessments.
  • Clinical psychologists undergo specialist postgraduate training to qualify in psychological – or ‘talking’ – therapies. They are not medical doctors and do not prescribe drugs. Clinical psychologists work in similar ways to psychotherapists, although they may use a variety of methods including psychometric tests, interviews and direct observation of behavior to assess clients and decide on therapy options.
  • Psychotherapists undergo a four-year, postgraduate, in-depth and experiential training in how to work with a variety of people with a wide range of emotional distress, mental health issues and difficulties. Psychotherapists are trained in one or more of the psychotherapy modalities.
  • Counselors can practice after receiving relatively short training, although some have many years of experience. It is generally accepted that counselors provide shorter-term therapy.

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*** This method soon will be in use, till then this page has only information purpose. ***