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Transactional Analysis

Eric Berne- Games People Play View of Human Nature: Rooted in an antideterministic philosophy. Places faith in persons capacity to rise above habit patterns and to select new goals and behavior. It acknowledges that people were influenced by expectations and demands of significant others, especially because their early decisions were made at a time in life when they were highly dependent on others. But decisions can be changed! What once was decided can be undecided. (Harris). Excuses and cop-outs are not acceptable in this therapy. Key Concepts 1. Ego states-

Parent: part of the personality that is an introject of the parents and parental substitutes. Shoulds and oughts. We each have both a Nurturing Parent and a Critical Parent. Adult: the processor of data. Objective. Not emotional or judgmental; without passionate convictions. Child: consists of feelings, impulses, spontaneous acts. The Natural Child- impulsive, spontaneous expressive infant The Little Professor- unschooled wisdom of a child. Manipulative, egocentric, and creative. Intuitive. The Adapted Child- modifications of the Natural Childs inclinations. Whines, complies, and rebels. Clients taught how to recognize which ego state they are in. 2. Injunctions and early decisions

Injunctions are messages given to the child by the parents internal Child out of the circumstances of the parents own anxiety, anger, frustration, and unhappiness. These messages tell children what they have to do and be in order to get recognition. Often inferred from parental actions. We may have invented them or misinterpreted the messages from our parents. Early decisions are responses to the injunctions, motivated by the need to be recognized by our parents, to be stroked by them, and by sheer need for physical or psychological survival. These early decisions may have been appropriate in certain situations in

childhood, but are inappropriate in adulthood. As adults, we can examine these decisions and determine if we will continue living by them. Dont: tells children not to do normal things for fear that they could lead to disaster. decision- I cant decide for myself. I might be wrong, so I wont decide. Dont be: Often delivered nonverbally. May be implied by brutality or indifference. decision- Ill get you to love me if it kills me. Ill disappear or kill myself. Dont be close ( or trust or love) decision- I wont get close and then I wont be hurt. Dont grow: dont grow up and leave me. Stay a child. decision- Ill stay little and helpless. (Anorexia Nervosa) Dont succeed: From excess parental criticism. Children get stroked for failing. decision- Ill show you I can make it even if it kills me. No matter how good I am, Ill never be good enough. Ill always be a loser. 3. Strokes- a form of recognition Positive strokes say, I like you. (words and gestures) Negative strokes say, I dont like you. (words and gestures) Conditional strokes say, I will like you if or when... Unconditional strokes say, I like you for being who you are. TA therapy pays attention to how people get their strokes, as well as the kinds of strokes they get and give. We need positive strokes for healthy development, but negative strokes are better than no strokes at all.



An ongoing series of transactions that ends with a bad feeling for at least one player. Games are designed to prevent intimacy. Games support original decisions and are part of a persons life script (a plan for life, or a conclusion that was reached about how to behave in order to survive in this world). The life script supports early decisions and bring people the kinds of strokes to which they are accustomed. Games are exchanges of strokes that lead to payoffs of bad feelings and advance the script. TA helps people become aware of the nature of their transactions with others so they can respond to others with directness, wholeness, and intimacy. Common games: 1. Poor me; 2. Martyr; 3. Yes, but; 4. If it werent for you; 5. Look what you made me do; 6. Harried; 7. Uproar. Karpman Drama Triangle: Persecutor, Rescuer; Victim (What distinguishes a game from a transaction is the fast switch from one position in the triangle to another.) 5. Rackets

Unpleasant feelings that we experience after a game. The chronic feelings we hold on to are often the ones we experienced with our parents. They support early decisions and are part of a life script. (anger racket, guilt racket, depression racket, etc.) 6. Life scripts

Includes parental injunctions, early decisions that resulted, games played to maintain the early decisions, resulting rackets, and expectations of the way we think our story will end. As children we decide is we are O.K. or not O.K. 7. Redecisions

We can make new decisions to replace early decisions. Go back to early childhood scenes, then from Child ego state client makes a new decision both emotionally and intellectually.

THERAPEUTIC PROCESS Therapeutic Goals Help client make new decisions regarding their present behavior and the direction of their life. Substitute an autonomous life-style characterized by awareness, spontaneity, and intimacy for a life of game playing and self-defeating life scripts. Therapists Function and Role Teacher, trainer, and resource person with heavy emphasis on involvement. Teach clients how to rely on their own Adult, not the therapists Adult. Clients Experience in Therapy Client is an active agent in the therapeutic process. Must understand and accept a therapeutic contract. Must do assignments. Demonstrate willingness to change by doing not just talking. Relationship between Therapist and Client Contract is and Adult-to-Adult agreement between therapist and client, describing both the goals and the process of therapy. Must be specific. Therapist and client are partners in the therapeutic process. THERAPEUTIC TECHNIQUES Structural Analysis Client becomes aware on content and functioning of his or her Parent, Adult, Child. It allows them to find out which ego state their behavior is based on. Problems: Contamination- when contents of one ego state are mixed with those of another. (Parent or Child intrude on Adult.) Contamination by Parent prejudiced ideas and attitudes Contamination by Child distorted perception of reality

Exclusion- when rigid ego-state boundaries do not allow for free movement between ego states, i.e. the Constant Parent (duty bound; judgmental; moralistic) Transactional Analysis A description (in Ego state language) of what people do and say to themselves and to each other. Complementary- message sent from a specific ego state gets predicted response from a specific ego state of the other person. Crossed- When message gets response from unexpected ego state. Ulterior- When overt and covert message sent at same time. (More than two ego states involved. Empty Chair / Two Chair work Used for structural analysis. Role Playing Another group member becomes the ego state with which the client is having problems. Analysis of Games and Rackets