How does Transactional Analysis Therapy Work?

Transactional analysis is a therapy or therapeutic approach which for most laypeople is an enjoyable read as it sets out to explain the workings of the mind and our behaviour.

Transactional analysis or TA as its better-known is a basic theoretical model outlined below.

Within you as a person there is the child, adult and parent. These are the three modes of conversation or transaction.

The parent part of you repeats the past parental influences or internal conversations and these are stored as programs or memories in your unconscious.

The adult part of you is the levelled and balanced person analysing, evaluating and rationalising things.

The child part of you is the mode that grew out of your childhood view of the world and your surroundings when you were a child.

Within the theoretical model of transactional analysis it is said that all human beings flick forwards and backwards through these three modes throughout every day or interact within each mode.

Switching between modes is mainly between your interactions with other human beings on a day-to-day basis where you will interact with them as you do but unbeknown to you they are also doing exactly the same thing as you, switching and flicking between these three modes as they interact with you back.

This interaction or exchange between others is called transactions, creating transactions and exchanging transactions.

Within each of us one of the modes is possibly the dominant one which has more problems than the other two which can be beneficial or problematic depending on your life situation or experience within any given scenario of interaction you make with others.

Within each mode you are running a script, a personal script which actually feeds internal self talk also known as internal chatter.

If there were any problems or fixations in early life especially in the child stage then the scripts that were born of those modes will be running in the background of your mind which can lead to problems especially when interacting with others socially and so on.

Once a program or a script is running, especially if it is profoundly established, it is very difficult for that person to disconnect from it.

These scripts are repetitive and will run for the rest of one’s life assisting or hindering a person.

It is the actual adult mode or adult state where people can correct or release themselves from these scripts with the help of a TA therapist.

And this is where a transactional therapist comes into use as this cannot be done with oneself alone.

Transactional analysis on the surface is very simple but can become very complex the deeper you go which further demonstrates the complexity of the human brain and the mind especially with all its problems and needs interlinked in one great big mess.

Transactional analysis helps to explain to us the reasons why we feel the way we do, think the way we do and behave the way we do.

The purpose of transactional analysis as a therapy is to assist the client in better understanding their problems especially what lies beneath these problems to eventually lead to life changes.

A problem as you see it contains positives and negatives which usually operate beneath or outside of your awareness or have different meanings and because we are so close to the problem we can’t actually see it in all its fullness because it is too much in our face.

A transactional analyst or therapist will unravel this for you.

Most people are aware of their identity and their self as they know it and if they can’t see anything else then there is nothing else – but there is. There is so much more to you than you know and for many, this does not sit well because we all like to think we have a full clear understanding of our self and our life.

There are many other parts that work within us which could be called mental scaffolding and this supports our views ideas thoughts and feelings, so if our thoughts and views or ideas and feelings on certain matters are causing us pain or suffering then the mental scaffolding that supports this needs to be worked with to bring change.

There is a huge part of us that is working automatically and independently from our conscious awareness and it is this part of us or the unconscious which holds all this information.

When we behave a certain way, do a certain thing or say a certain thing and question that later as to why we done that then it was because of another part of us that was at work. There are other parts of us often operating at the same time on different levels but we don’t know they’re running in the background.

A simple example of depression.

People might find it hard to believe that a part of us wants or needs to be depressed which is the result of stored information and when the unconscious mind says we must have a behaviour or a symptom or feel a certain way and think a certain way then we will shall have that and if we try to fight it on our own then that’s all we will be doing, which is fighting it and we will never win the unconscious on our own.

Beneath the surface of our awareness we interact with different Ego States all revolving around these three parts – parent, adult and child states when communicating and interacting with others.

For example when we access and use our parent ego state we may be making internal critical judgements about other people and their behaviour. When in this state we are influenced by what they should and should not be doing which has a critical, superior and dominant hint to it.

Another example is when we use the adult state we may need to be rational and make decisions based on known facts.

A further example would be when you are stubborn or childish and maybe even rebellious which we often do as adults. Just take a look at the behaviour and the decisions that adults make and you will see the child within that adult behaviour and this is when we have accessed the child state.

By understanding how we switch and flip backwards and forwards into different states we learn why we are doing this which in turn helps us to change the way we think, feel and behave to find new ways of being in our everyday life.

The ultimate aim of transactional analysis therapy is to become more balanced in our everyday life, thinking feeling and behaviour to reduce stress and anxiety including our destructive habits.

A good TA analyst can help you to reorganise your internal scripts to tear apart old faulty ideas perceptions and hang ups.

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