TA Rules OK… and More!
“No Sigmund, it has nothing to do with Transcendental Meditation.”
If you’ve read “I’m OK you’re OK” or “What do You Say After You Say Hello?” you’ll know a bit about Transactional Analysis.
If you’re a social worker, a teacher, a counsellor, involved in a caring profession or in management training you’re also likely to have come across it.
So, why have so many people come across TA, yet know very little about other psychological
theories? I believe it’s because TA is more than a psychotherapy – it’s a means of understanding
why we behave the way we do, it provides us with simple tools for personal growth and it helps
us to understand and improve how we communicate.
It’s accessible and it’s versatile, and people love it!
TA was originated by Eric Berne – an American psychoanalyst. He loved the brilliance and profundity of psychoanalysis, but disliked the rigidity and the exclusivity of psychoanalysts.
He saw psychology as a tool which could be used by everybody in all aspects of their lives. He developed TA in the late 1950s and purposely expressed the theory in simple terms and in everyday language. The language is a little dated now, but if you go to a TA therapist, trainer or facilitator they won’t be coy about explaining the theory and it won’t be difficult to understand.
So what is TA? First it’s a philosophy – a view about people which begins with the assumption we are all OK. This doesn’t mean everything we do is OK. It means that at our core, we are all assumed to be lovable and having the potential for growth and self-actualisation.
It follows that in all relationships; family, employer-employee, student-teacher and therapist-client, both parties are equal and have the right to mutual respect.
TA therapists and trainers do their best to behave in a way which recognises this philosophy.
TA is a “decisional” theory based on the view that we learn specific behaviours and develop a life plan, called a “script”, as we grow up. Our decisions are strongly influenced by our parents and others who play roles in our early lives, but are made in a way which fits with our own unique personality and style.
The good news is, since each of us has decided on our life plan and our behaviour patterns, we have the power and the ability to change those life plans and our behaviour by making new decisions.
Finally TA offers a set of techniques designed to help people achieve behavioural change.
If you go to a workshop or read a TA book you’ll learn about how you communicate from “Parent, Adult or Child” and how to recognise these communications and change them.
You’ll learn about the psychological “games” we all play, how to spot them and how to stop them.
You’ll learn about your script, how it affects your present behaviour and how to change that too.
Only you can do it but TA sure can help!
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