Basic Transactional Analysis

What is Transactional Analysis?

Transactional Analysis (TA) is a counselling model developed by Eric Berne in the 1950s. Social ‘transactions’ (or communication with self and with others) is used to analyse or determine which ego state you are in on a day to day basis.  It may change depending on who you interact with and what you are doing at any given time.  Knowing which ego state you are in is the basis for understanding your behaviour, thoughts and feelings. Knowing is the basis of changing the ego state you are in.  The diagram below gives a simple overview of the Parent-Adult-Child (PAC) model used to determine ego states:

TA, PAC model, Resilience counselling, London, Nikki Millard


Within the PAC model there are further divisions of the parent and child ego state. There are positive and negative aspects to the free/adapted child and the critical/nurturing parent.  For example, it is perhaps easy to see the negative side to the critical parent, as a lot of criticism experienced in childhood comes with us into adulthood, but a line such as ‘don’t put your fingers into the electric socket’ would be the reason most of us made it into adulthood at all.  The nurturing parent could be seen as positive, but overly nurturing or smothering a child would stifle their growth towards independence and impede their resilience to life.  And remember it is our resilience that keeps our mental body in good health.

TA supports the development of self-awareness, options and skills for problem management and personal development in daily life through enhancement of our strengths, resources and functioning. The counselling relationship is important and unique in that it allows for exploration of relational patterns without the complication of feeling judged or concerned about what the other is thinking or feeling.

TA can be used in any field where there is a need for understanding individuals, relationships and communication.  Out of the theory books, comes a very easy to understand model easily accessible to all.

On our next blog we will look further into our internal ego states and invite you to look at your internal transactions – the conversations you have with yourself.

Main image: Aaron Burden


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