Transactional Analysis and Communication
Transactional analysis or TA is a branch of psychotherapy developed by Eric Berne. His definition of it is “a theory of personality and a systematic psychotherapy for personal growth and change”.
Knowing about TA can be very useful for improving our communication skills. TA is about how people are structured psychologically and is both a theory of communication and a theory of child development.
Berne’s model is a three part ego-state model. An ego state is
* “A consistent pattern of feeling and experience directly related to a corresponding consistent pattern of behaviour”.
There are three ego states in Berne’s model:
Ego states are irrespective of age and are capitalised to differentiate from the normal use of the words parent, adult and child.
The Parent and Child ego states are echoes of the past. The Adult ego state is a response to the here and now when a person is grown up and using grown up responses.
Ego states are ‘things’ not names. They are a set and related; thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
Communication between people can be from one ego state to a different one or from one ego state to the same ego state.
Normally communication will be from one ego state either to the same ego state or a different one. The person who first communicates will expect a reply to be from a certain ego state. If communication is from a different ego state to the expected one, then the communication may be ineffective and the message may be lost, not received or disregarded by the person receiving it.
If communication is from Adult to Adult then it is likely to be the most effective communication for most of our communications.
The ‘3 Rules of Communication’ in TA
1st Rule of Communication
* So long as transactions remain complementary, communication can continue indefinitely.
2nd Rule of Communication
* When a...