transactional analysis

transactional analysis
• Transactional Analysis is one of the most accessible theories of
modern psychology.
• Transactional Analysis was founded by Eric Berne, and the
famous 'parent adult child' theory is still being developed today.
• Transactional Analysis has wide applications in clinical,
therapeutic, organizational and personal development,
encompassing communications, management, personality,
relationships and behaviour.
transactional analysis
• roots of transactional analysis
• In the early 20th century, Sigmund Freud first established that
the human psyche is multi-faceted, and that each of us has
warring factions in our subconscious. Since then, new theories
continue to be put forward, all concentrating on the essential
conviction that each one of us has parts of our personality
which surface and affect our behaviour according to different
circumstances.
• In 1951 Dr Wilder Penfield began a series of scientific
experiments. Penfield proved, using conscious human subjects,
by touching a part of the brain (the temporal cortex) with a
weak electrical probe, that the brain could be caused to 'play
back' certain past experiences, and the feelings associated with
them.
transactional analysis
• Penfield's experiments went on over several years, and resulted
in wide acceptance of the following conclusions:
• The human brain acts like a tape recorder, and whilst we may
'forget' experiences, the brain still has them recorded.
• Along with events the brain also records the associated
feelings, and both feelings and events stay locked together.
• It is possible for a person to exist in two states simultaneously
(because patients replaying hidden events and feelings could
talk about them objectively at the same time).
• Hidden experiences when replayed are vivid, and affect how we
feel at the time of replaying.
• There is a certain connection between mind and body, i.e. the
link between the biological and the psychological, eg a
psychological fear of spiders and a biological feeling of nausea.
transactional analysis
• early transactional analysis theory and model
• In the 1950's Eric Berne began to develop his theories of
Transactional Analysis. He said that verbal communication,
particularly face to face, is at the centre of human social
relationships and psychoanalysis.
• His starting-point was that when two people encounter each
other, one of them will speak to the other. This he called the
Transaction Stimulus. The reaction from the other person he
called the Transaction Response.
• The person sending the Stimulus is called the Agent. The
person who responds is called the Respondent.
• Transactional Analysis became the method of examining the
transaction wherein: 'I do something to you, and you do
something back'.
transactional analysis
• early transactional analysis theory and model
• Berne also said that each person is made up of three alter ego
states:
• Parent
• Adult
• Child
transactional analysis
• early transactional analysis theory and model
• Parent
• This is our ingrained voice of authority, absorbed conditioning,
learning and attitudes from when we were young. We were
conditioned by our real parents, teachers, older people, next
door neighbours, aunts and uncles, Father Christmas and Jack
Frost. Our Parent is made up of a huge number of hidden and
overt recorded playbacks. Typically embodied by phrases and
attitudes starting with 'how to', 'under no circumstances',
'always' and 'never forget', 'don't lie, cheat, steal', etc, etc. Our
parent is formed by external events and influences upon us as
we grow through early childhood. We can change it, but this is
easier said than done.
transactional analysis
• early transactional analysis theory and model
• Child
• Our internal reaction and feelings to external events form the
'Child'. This is the seeing, hearing, feeling, and emotional body
of data within each of us. When anger or despair dominates
reason, the Child is in control. Like our Parent we can change
it, but it is no easier.
• Adult
• Our 'Adult' is our ability to think and determine action for
ourselves, based on received data. The adult in us begins to
form at around ten months old, and is the means by which we
keep our Parent and Child under control. If we are to change
our Parent or Child we must do so through our adult.
transactional analysis
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early transactional analysis theory and model
In other words:
Parent is our 'Taught' concept of life
Adult is our 'Thought' concept of life
Child is our 'Felt' concept of life
When we communicate we are doing so from one of our own
alter ego states, our Parent, Adult or Child. Our feelings at the
time determine which one we use, and at any time something
can trigger a shift from one state to another. When we respond,
we are also doing this from one of the three states, and it is in
the analysis of these stimuli and responses that the essence of
Transactional Analysis lies.
transactional analysis
• early transactional analysis theory and model
• At the core of Berne's theory is the rule that effective
transactions (ie successful communications) must be
complementary. They must go back from the receiving ego
state to the sending ego state. For example, if the stimulus is
Parent to Child, the response must be Child to Parent, or the
transaction is 'crossed', and there will be a problem between
sender and receiver.
• If a crossed transaction occurs, there is an ineffective
communication. Worse still either or both parties will be upset.
In order for the relationship to continue smoothly the agent or
the respondent must rescue the situation with a
complementary transaction.
transactional analysis
• early transactional analysis theory and model
! Problem Transaction
Critical Parent
Critical Parent
Critical Parent
Rebellious Child
Critical Parent
Adaptive Child
! Danger
Nurturing Parent
Adaptive Child
Adult
Free Child
! Opportunity
Adult
Adult
Free Child
Free Child
transactional analysis
• early transactional analysis theory and model
Complimentary Relationships
P
P
A
A
C
C
transactional analysis
• early transactional analysis theory and model
Crossed Relationships
CP
P
A
A
C
RC
transactional analysis
• early transactional analysis theory and model
• In serious break-downs, there is no chance of immediately
resuming a discussion about the original subject matter.
Attention is focused on the relationship. The discussion can
only continue constructively when and if the relationship is
mended.
• Here are some simple clues as to the ego state sending the
signal. You will be able to see these clearly in others, and in
yourself:
transactional analysis
• early transactional analysis theory and model
• Parent
• Physical - angry or impatient body-language and expressions,
finger-pointing, patronising gestures.
• Verbal - always, never, for once and for all, judgmental words,
critical words, patronising language, posturing language.
transactional analysis
• early transactional analysis theory and model
• Child
• Physical - emotionally sad expressions, despair, temper
tantrums, whining voice, rolling eyes, shrugging shoulders,
teasing, delight, laughter, speaking behind hand, raising hand
to speak, squirming and giggling.
• Verbal - baby talk, I wish, I dunno, I want, I'm gonna, I don't
care, oh no, not again, things never go right for me, worst day
of my life, bigger, biggest, best, many superlatives, words to
impress.
transactional analysis
• early transactional analysis theory and model
• Adult
• Physical - attentive, interested, straight-forward, tilted head,
non-threatening and non-threatened.
• Verbal - why, what, how, who, where and when, how much, in
what way, comparative expressions, reasoned statements, true,
false, probably, possibly, I think, I realise, I see, I believe, in my
opinion.
transactional analysis
• early transactional analysis theory and model
• And remember, when you are trying to identify ego states:
words are only part of the story.
• To analyse a transaction you need to see and feel what is being
said as well.
• Only 7% of meaning is in the words spoken.
• 38% of meaning is paralinguistic (the way that the words are
said).
• 55% is in facial expression.
• There is no general rule as to the effectiveness of any ego state
in any given situation (some people get results by being
dictatorial (Parent to Child), or by having temper tantrums,
(Child to Parent), but for a balanced approach to life, Adult to
Adult is generally recommended.
transactional analysis
• early transactional analysis theory and model
• Let’s focus for a moment on Paralinguistic Communication.
• Paralinguistic communication is the study of voice and how
words are said. When you open your mouth to speak, you
reveal much about yourself that often has nothing at all to do
with the words you are speaking.
• Paralinguistic signals and cues refer to every element and
nuance of your speech. Paralinguistic communication can be
much more subtle than other forms of nonverbal
communication.
transactional analysis
• early transactional analysis theory and model
• For example, a loud, booming voice is not at all subtle.
However, a firm voice that conveys conviction is more nuanced
than a pointing finger, big gestures, or invading someone's
personal space. Here are some common paralinguistic vocal
cues and examples:
• Rate/Speed
– to establish instant vocal rapport and a more subtle connection, speak at
a rate or speed similar to the person you are communicating with in
conversation.
• Rhythm
– No matter what your native language is, if you match the rate and
rhythm of speech of the slowest speaking person, it will be easier to
communicate and connect on a paralinguistic level.
transactional analysis
• early transactional analysis theory and model
Examples continued…
• Volume
– Research indicates that confidence, assertiveness, and boldness are
reflected in louder speech. This doesn't mean that you go around
speaking loudly but if you need to "raise the stakes" or occur more
assertive, raising your vocal volume will help you to do this.
• Pitch
– A high-pitched voice can often time sound squeaky or childlike. Many
people associate lower pitches with greater credibility, maturity and
authority. It is important to note that the pitches you choose to speak on
most should be in your most powerful vocal range. Even though a lower
pitched voice is often considered more credible, you should never force
your voice so low that you lose vocal power or vocal focus.
transactional analysis
• early transactional analysis theory and model
Examples continued…
•
•
Inflection/Vocal Variety
– Inflection refers to variations in pitch. Too much inflection can undermine
credibility. Too little will be boring and monotonous.
Quality
– Quality usually refers to the vocal characteristics that allow you to
differentiate one voice from another. Is a person's voice small, feminine,
or shaky; thin, throaty, or aloof; tense, flat, grating, nasal, harsh, or
shrill? All of these represent different vocal combinations of rate, pitch,
and volume. Each will determine how you choose to transact with them.
• Intensity/Tone
– This reveals the emotion behind the words being spoken.
transactional analysis
• early transactional analysis theory and model
Examples continued…
•
•
Inflection/Vocal Variety
– Inflection refers to variations in pitch. Too much inflection can undermine
credibility. Too little will be boring and monotonous.
Quality
– Quality usually refers to the vocal characteristics that allow you to
differentiate one voice from another. Is a person's voice small, feminine,
or shaky; thin, throaty, or aloof; tense, flat, grating, nasal, harsh, or
shrill? All of these represent different vocal combinations of rate, pitch,
and volume. Each will determine how you choose to transact with them.
• Intensity/Tone
– This reveals the emotion behind the words being spoken.
transactional analysis
• early transactional analysis theory and model
An assertive listener will be able to connect face to face and create instant
rapport with someone on the telephone by being aware of the subtle
nuances of paralinguistic communication.
When you match & mirror vocal characteristics without mockery but with
the intention to authentically connect with the people you are speaking with,
you will be amazed at how quickly and easily you can establish vocal rapport
that leads to greater understanding and more efficient paralinguistic
communication.
Being aware of your own paralinguistic vocal strengths and weaknesses will
allow you to subtly influence your speaking and listening so that you will be
a more powerful communicator.
transactional analysis
• early transactional analysis theory and model
• Transactional Analysis is effectively a language within a
language; a language of true meaning, feeling and motive. It
can help you in every situation, firstly through being able to
understand more clearly what is going on, and secondly, by
virtue of this knowledge, we give ourselves choices of what ego
states to adopt, which signals to send, and where to send
them. This enables us to make the most of all our
communications and therefore create, develop and maintain
better relationships.
transactional analysis
• modern transactional analysis theory
• Transactional Analysis is a theory which operates as each of the
following:
• a theory of personality
• a model of communication
• a study of repetitive patterns of behaviour
• Transactional Analysis has developed significantly beyond
Berne's early theories, by Berne himself, until his death in 1970,
and since then by his followers and many current writers and
experts. Transactional Analysis has been explored and
enhanced in many different ways.
transactional analysis
• modern transactional analysis theory
• Significantly, the original three Parent Adult Child components
were sub-divided to form a new seven element model,
principally during the 1980's by Wagner, Joines and Mountain.
This established Controlling and Nurturing aspects of the Parent
mode, each with positive and negative aspects, and the
Adapted and Free aspects of the Child mode, again each with
positive an negative aspects, which essentially gives us the
model to which most TA practitioners refer today:
transactional analysis
• modern transactional analysis theory
• Parent
• Parent is now commonly represented as a circle with four
quadrants:
• Nurturing - Nurturing (positive) and Spoiling (negative).
• Controlling - Structuring (positive) and Critical (negative).
transactional analysis
• modern transactional analysis theory
• Adult
• Adult remains as a single entity, representing an 'accounting'
function or mode, which can draw on the resources of both
Parent and Child.
• Child
• Child is now commonly represented as circle with four
quadrants:
• Adapted - Co-operative (positive) and Compliant/Resistant
(negative).
• Free - Spontaneous (positive) and Immature (negative).
transactional analysis
• modern transactional analysis theory
• Where previously Transactional Analysis suggested that
effective communications were complementary (response
echoing the path of the stimulus), and better still
complementary adult to adult, the modern interpretation
suggests that effective communications and relationships are
based on complementary transactions to and from positive
quadrants, and also, still, adult to adult. Stimulii and responses
can come from any (or some) of these seven ego states, to any
or some of the respondent's seven ego states.
transactional analysis
• modern transactional
analysis theory
• This model shows how we
function or behave with others.
The model used here is divided
up into nine quadrants of
effective and ineffective modes.
transactional analysis
• modern transactional analysis theory
• ineffective modes
• Negative Controlling Parent - communicates a "You're not OK" message,
and is punitive.
• Negative Nurturing Parent - communicates a "You're not OK" message.
When in this mode the person will often do things for others which they are
capable of doing for themselves. When in this mode the person is engulfing
and overprotective.
• Negative Adapted Child - expresses an "I'm not OK" message. When in
this mode the person over-adapts to others and tends to experience such
emotions as depression, unrealistic fear and anxiety.
• Negative Free Child - in this mode the person runs wild with no
restrictions or boundaries. In this mode they express a "You're not OK"
message.
transactional analysis
• modern transactional analysis theory
• effective modes
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Positive Nurturing Parent - communicates the message "You're OK". When in this mode the
person is caring and affirming.
Positive Controlling Parent - communicates the message "You're OK". This is the boundary
setting mode, offering constructive criticism, whilst being caring but firm.
Positive Adapted Child - communicates an "I'm OK" message. From this mode we learn the
rules to help us live with others.
Positive Free Child - communicates an "I'm OK" message. This is the creative, fun loving,
curious and energetic mode.
Accounting mode - communicates "We're OK" messages. The Adult is able to assess reality in
the here and now. When the Accounting mode is in the executive position it is possible to
choose which of the other effective modes to go into, dependent on the situation. This is then
called Accounting Mode. When using the descriptive behavioural model the term Accounting
Mode helps to differentiate it from the structural model where it is referred to as Adult. When
stable in this Accounting Mode we are taking account of the present context and situation and
deciding the most appropriate mode to come from. We are then able to respond appropriately
rather than flipping into archaic or historic ways of being, thinking and behaving which are likely
to be inappropriate and unhelpful.
transactional analysis
• modern transactional analysis
theory - life positions & the ‘okay
corral’
• life positions are perceptions of the
world. They are basic beliefs about
self and others, which are used to
justify decisions and behaviour. 'Okay
Corral' can be linked to blame
• I'm to blame (You are okay and I'm
not okay - 'helpless')
• You are to blame (I'm okay and you
are not okay - 'angry')
• We are both to blame (I'm not okay
and you are not okay - 'hopeless')
transactional analysis
useful books about transactional analysis
TA today - ian stewart & vann joines
The best introduction and modern guide to Eric Berne's Transactional
Analysis theories. Absolutely fascinating, brilliantly written and explained.
Games people play - eric berne
By the founder of Transactional Analysis, a simple and illuminating book
about people's behaviour. We all play these games...
what do you say after you say hello - eric berne
Another enlightening and significant book by the founder of Transactional
Analysis, Eric Berne.
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