Transactional Analysis

Psychological .

Transactional Analysis:


Transactional Analysis (TA) therapy is a widely used form of psychotherapy that focuses on understanding and improving communication and relationships. Developed by psychiatrist Eric Berne in the 1950s, Transactional Analysis is based on the idea that individuals have 3 ego states (parent, adult, and child). These ego states influence how we interact with others and perceive the world around us. The therapy aims to help individuals identify and change these patterns in order to improve their relationships and overall wellbeing.

How does Transactional Analysis work?

Transactional Analysis works by helping individuals understand the dynamics of their relationships and communication patterns. The therapist helps the client identify their ego states and how they affect their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Through awareness and understanding, clients are able to make positive changes in how they interact with others, create healthier patterns of behaviour, and build self-esteem.

In Transactional Analysis, the therapist helps the client to recognise and change unhelpful patterns of communication and behaviour that may have developed in childhood. This may involve exploring past experiences and relationships to gain insight into how these patterns are formed. The goal of Transactional Analysis therapy is to empower the client to take control of their own thoughts and feelings, and make positive changes in their relationships and overall wellbeing.


The Parent Ego State is based on the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours that individuals have internalised from their caregivers or authority figures during their childhood. This ego state is divided into two sub-categories:


(1) The nurturing parent is characterised by warmth, care, and protection. (2) The critical parent is characterised by judgement, rules, and criticism.


Individuals in the Parent Ego State may exhibit behaviours that reflect the values and expectations they learned from their caregivers, such as offering advice and scolding others.



The Adult Ego State is the rational, logical part of an individual’s personality that represents their capacity for critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making.


In the Adult Ego State, individuals are able to analyse situations objectively, gather information, and make decisions based on facts and evidence rather than emotions or pre-conceived beliefs. This ego state allows individuals to engage in effective communication and problem-solving, and is essential for forming healthy relationships and making informed choices.



The Child Ego State represents the emotional, spontaneous, and playful aspects of an individual’s personality that are associated with their experiences and feelings during childhood. This ego state is divided into two sub-categories:


(1) The Adapted Child – influenced by the rules, expectations, and conditioning from one’s upbringing, leading to behaviours such as compliance, rebellion, or seeking approval from others.


(2) The Natural Child – is uninhibited, curious, and expressive, allowing individuals to experience emotions, creativity, and joy in a healthy and authentic way.


Overall, the three ego states in Transactional Analysis provide a framework for understanding how individuals navigate their internal thoughts, feelings, and choices in various social contexts. By recognising and examining these different ego states, individuals can gain insight into their behaviours, improve their communication skills, and develop healthier relationships with themselves and others.


Scripts are often unconscious and govern how individuals think about themselves, relate to others, and navigate life challenges. There are four main types of life scripts according to Transactional Analysis:

  1. The Winner Script: Individuals with a winner script view themselves positively and believe they are capable of achieving success. They are often confident, assertive, and motivated to pursue their goals.
  2. The Loser Script: Individuals with a loser script view themselves negatively and believe they are doomed to failure. They may lack confidence, doubt their abilities, and struggle to take risks or step out of their comfort zone.
  3. The Drama Script: Individuals with a drama script tend to create chaos, conflict, and excitement in their lives. They may seek attention, validation, and thrill through dramatic or turbulent relationships and situations.
  4. The Non-Script: Individuals with a non-script have a more adaptive approach to life, as they are flexible, open-minded, and willing to learn and grow from experiences. They are able to navigate challenges and setbacks with resilience and positivity.

Understanding and uncovering one’s life script is a key component of Transactional Analysis, as it helps individuals gain insight into their beliefs, patterns, and behaviours that may be limiting their personal growth and fulfilment.

Through awareness and self-reflection, individuals can challenge and re-write their scripts, adopt healthier perspectives, and make positive changes in their lives. Transactional Analysis therapists use techniques such as script analysis and re-decision therapy to help clients identify and modify their scripts for personal development and emotional healing.

Script Analysis: This is a method used in Transactional Analysis to understand and identify the unconscious beliefs, decisions, and patterns of behaviour that individuals develop early in life. These scripts are often formed in childhood based on repeated experiences, interactions, and messages received by others. By analysing these scripts, individuals can become aware of how their past experiences influence their current thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.

Re-Decision Therapy: This is a therapeutic approach within Transactional Analysis that focuses on helping individuals identify and change their unconscious scripts. This process involves challenging and revising outdated or negative beliefs, decisions, and patterns of behaviour that no longer serve the individual’s best interests. By making conscious choices to change these scripts, individuals can improve their relationships, mental health, and overall wellbeing. This aims to empower clients to take control of their lives, create new possibilities, and make positive changes.

Why might people need Transactional Analysis?

People may seek Transactional Analysis for a variety of reasons, including communication issues, relationship problems, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns. Transactional Analysis therapy can be beneficial for individuals who are looking to improve their relationships, gain insight into their own behaviour, and make positive changes in their lives.

Who might need Transactional Analysis?

Transactional Analysis can benefit individuals of all ages and backgrounds. It is particularly helpful for those who struggle with interpersonal relationships, have difficulty expressing their emotions, or engage in negative patterns of communication or behaviour. Transactional Analysis therapy can also be beneficial for couples looking to improve their communication and resolve conflicts.

Transactional Analysis can help individuals address a wide range of issues, including relationship problems, communication difficulties, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and trauma. By gaining insight into their own behaviour and emotions, clients can learn to make healthier choices and develop more positive relationships.

How are Transactional Analysis therapy sessions outlined?

Transactional Analysis sessions typically involve a combination of talk therapy, cognitive-behavioural techniques, and psycho-education. The therapist works collaboratively with the client to identify goals, develop insight, and make positive changes in their behaviour. The number of sessions needed varies depending on the individual and their specific concerns.

What are the benefits of Transactional Analysis therapy?

One of the key benefits of Transactional Analysis therapy is its focus on improving communication and understanding in relationships. By gaining insight into their own behaviour and learning effective communication skills, clients can make positive changes in their relationships and overall wellbeing. TA therapy also offers a non-judgmental and supportive environment for clients to explore their thoughts and emotions.

In conclusion, Transactional Analysis therapy is a powerful and effective form of psychotherapy that can help individuals improve their communication, relationships, and overall well-being. By gaining insight into their own behaviour and understanding the dynamics of their relationships, clients can make positive changes and create healthier patterns of interaction. With its focus on understanding and improving communication, TA therapy offers valuable tools for personal growth and self-awareness.


  1. Berne, E. (1964). Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships. Penguin Random House.
  2. Harris, T. A. (1967). I’m OK – You’re OK. HarperCollins.
  3. Stewart, I., & Joines, V. (1987). TA Today: A New Introduction to Transactional Analysis. Lifespace Publishing.
  4. Rothschild, L., & Mouton, M. (2000). Transactional Analysis Counseling in Action. Sage Publications.
  5. Erskine, R. G., & Moursund, J. P. (1988). Integrative Psychotherapy in Action. Sage Publications.


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