Transactional Analysis – Notes


TA Theory based on the assumption that our current decisions are based upon past experiences.

A group setting works very well. Clients are encouraged to discover how their current actions are motivated by past circumstances…and that they are able to change.

It is a lot like traditional psychoanalysis; it recognizes how the past affects us now. TA is quicker than traditional psychoanalysis. It is easier to understand.

TA is interactional (emphasizes the dynamics between people) and contractual (in a group it is clear what all want to work on and are willing to do).

A Life Script, formed by age five usually, is  reinforced by the parents and justified by events….it leads to a way of working through all of life.

Redicision therapy: help people challenge themselves to change

Ego States: (note how similar to id, ego, super ego)

  • Parent ego: Contains all the shoulds, should nots, oughts, etc.
  • Parent ego – nurturing parent – Positives: affirming others  Negative: “you poor thing”
  • Parent ego – controlling – Positive: “Finish your homework before you watch TV”  Negative: being critical
  • Adult ego: our data processor….decoding wrongs from rights…The adult ego negotiates between the child and parent ego.
  • Child ego: our most natural state…who we really are. Includes feelings, impulses, spontaneous actions, adapting, not adapting, rebelling, appropriate, inappropriate responses,

TA group members taught to recognize which ego they are in and how it is helping or hurting at that moment.

Strokes: Verbal or nonverbal signs of acceptance. Positive strokes offer warmth…needed for health development. “good job”, a smile, a touch, etc. Negative strokes are useful for setting limits…don’t go into the street, for example.  Self-strokes are not valuable.  Behavior is often guided by the need for strokes.

Injunctions: They are given by parents when parents feel threatened. They contain, dont’ be close, don’t be separate, don’t, don’t grow up, don’t be well, don’t belong, don’t feel, don’t be sane, etc.

Counterinjunctions: These come from parents  and contain the shoulds and should nots….be perfect, be strong, please me, be careful

Game: on ongoing series of transactions between two people trading strokes with a negative payoff in the end. Stroke starved people play games to get strokes. Game participants are persecutors,  rescuers, and victims. A person can have multiple roles. Game topics include, “poor me”, “kick me” “gotcha”, “blemish”, harassed, “I am only trying to help”, “if it weren’t for you”, “yes, but”.

Rackets are the unpleasant feelings at the end of the game: Substitute feelings the parents did not allow. They are manipulative. For example, a child is told they are not angry, just tired…go to your room. Later in life they may be “tired” a lot in place of anger. That is their racket. People who are usually, depressed, angry or bored may be feeding those feeling into a pattern of behaving.

People seek security by maintaining what is known…even though it may be harmful overall. But TA says people can change that once they recognize it.

Script analysis shows group members the process of how they got the scripts they are using and how those scripts justify their actions.


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