An Introduction to Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy and Counselling

Transactional Analysis
I work primarily using Transactional Analysis (TA). TA is an incredibly powerful therapeutic approach which is widely used by psychotherapists and counsellors, and is also used effectively for organisational development and in educational settings.

'Transactional Analysis is a theory of personality and a systematic psychotherapy for personal growth and personal change' (ITAA)

TA focuses upon internal (intrapsychic) processes, and also interpersonal relationships, interactions and processes.

The cornerstone of TA practice is deep respect and empathy. TA is not a therapy which is 'done to' the client, but is 'done with'- you will be expected to be a full and active participant in the process and the work is underpinned by a series of agreements, or contracts to ensure that both therapist and client maintain focus and are in agreement about the nature and direction of the therapy.

In TA, the personality is viewed in terms of three ego-states: Parent, Adult, and Child. Internal dialogue and conflicts can be understood using this theory, and communication between people can be analysed and improved using this method.

Problematic relationship patterns can be analysed using Game Analysis, and examined for their relationship to an individuals Life Script. Life Script is the unconscious life plan that we develop- comprised of our views and expectations of our selves, other people and the world around us. We all hold many views which are often not immediately apparent and held at an implicit level. These views have been formed from our responses to our many various life experiences, and in particular, our early life experiences. TA therapy involves systematically uncovering and seeking to resolve limiting aspects of an individuals Life Script.

 All of this combines to form an approach which accounts for an individual's development as well as their current situation and way of life. It examines how an individual interacts with others and their environment and seeks to promote movement away from limiting and problematic ways of relating to ones self, others and the wider world. 

TA- How it links to other therapies

TA is a humanistic therapy, and as such, respects the fundamental worth and value of each person and recognises that each individual is constantly striving for health, wellbeing, happiness and fulfilment of potential

TA is an existential therapy in that it deals with the basic concerns and dilemmas of existence and focuses on personal freedom and ressponsibility and living in a truly authentic way

TA is a cognitive behavioural therapy, and utilises many potent methods for identifying and changing negative limiting belief systems, core beliefs and implicit assumptions.

TA is a psychodynamic therapy, and seeks to enable the individual to resolve unconscious conflicts which may be causing their distress, or generating problematic situations for them. The psychodynamic approach also examines the influence of the past over the present.

I view TA as an Integrative model, in that it draws upon the best from a number of other therapeutic models. I find that the combination of the above elements makes TA an incredibly powerful and highly effective therapy which accounts for the complexity of human problems, their origin and resolution. My way of working is located within the Relational approach to psychotherapy, and is particularly concerned with the therapeutic relationship as the primary growth agent. A relational approach to therapy requires the therapist to carefully and systematically immerse themselves in the client's subjective experience of the world, and to account for the client's individuality. The client's situation is considered in light of their particular context, history and ongoing relationships. I consider our capacity to engage in intimate, genuine and authentic relationships is absolutely central to our well being. As a relational therapist, I strive to help my client learn more about how relationships have shaped them, and continue to shape them, and to help them to improve the relationships in their lives.

I am also qualified in Integrative counselling, and have undertaken training and education in a wide range of theoretical approaches and models of psychotherapy and counselling.