transactional analysis


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transactional analysis

 
a theory of personality structure and a psychotherapeutic method originated by Dr. Eric Berne. According to this theory the human personality is viewed as consisting of three ego states: the Parent, the Adult, and the Child. These ego states are described by Dr. Berne as being “coherent systems of thought and feeling manifested by corresponding patterns of behavior.”

The word transaction in this term is in reference to the communication that takes place between two people. Or, more precisely, it refers to what occurs when a stimulus from the ego state of one person elicits a response from the ego state of another individual. Analysis refers to an investigation into the feelings and behavior patterns that are demonstrated during the transaction. In a successful or complementary transaction, the stimulus and response are between the same ego states; for example, Parent-Parent and Adult-Adult. In unsuccessful transactions one individual is speaking from one ego state, but gets a response from a different ego state. The interaction between the two is then either terminated or switched to another focus.

The therapeutic effect of transactional analysis is believed to be derived from an understanding of the origin of each of the three ego states, recognition of their influence on behavior, and an awareness of the options one has for dealing with reality in an effective and satisfying manner so that one can take care of one's own needs and feel good about oneself and other people.

trans·ac·tion·al a·nal·y·sis

a psychotherapy system, used in both individual and group treatment, involving a systematic understanding of the qualities of interpersonal interactions in the treatment sessions; includes four components: 1) structural analysis of intrapsychic phenomena; 2) transactional analysis proper, determination of the currently dominant ego state (parent, child, or adult) of each participant; 3) game analysis, identification of the games played in the patients' interactions and of the gratifications provided; and 4) script analysis, uncovering of the causes of the patient's emotional problems.

transactional analysis

n.
A system of psychotherapy that analyzes personal relationships and interactions in terms of conflicting or complementary ego states that correspond to the roles of parent, child, and adult.

transactional analysis

A therapeutic modality developed in the 1950s by an American psychiatrist, E Berne, who had trained as a Freudian psychoanalyst. In contrast to the abstract construct of classical psychoanalysis, transactional analysis evaluates the communication that people have with each other—i.e., their daily transactions. The ultimate goal of transactional analysis is to achieve what Berne terms “social control”, so that situations are addressed as an adult.

The transactional analysis method is similar to Gestalt therapy, as the intent is to unmask a person’s thoughts and emotions, but differs therefrom in that it is more structured and focuses on the vehicles people use to avoid coming to terms with unpleasant realities. According to Berne’s theory, people have three different ego states:
• Child ego state—Occurs in times of stress; behaviour and reactions to life situations are immature and inappropriate;
• Adult ego state—Stress is addressed in a mature fashion, with understanding and use of problem-solving skills;
• Parent ego state—Situations are dealt with in a quasi-autocratic manner learned from parent figures.

transactional analysis

Psychiatry A psychodynamic psychotherapy based on role theory that attempts to understand the interplay between therapist and Pt and ultimately between Pt and external reality. See Humanistic psychology, Psychoanalysis, Psycho-therapy. Cf Gestalt therapy.

trans·ac·tion·al a·nal·y·sis

(tranz-ak'shŭn-ăl ă-nal'i-sis)
A psychotherapy system, used in both individual and group treatment, involving a systematic understanding of the qualities of interpersonal interactions in the treatment sessions; includes four components: 1) structural analysis of intrapsychic phenomena; 2) transactional analysis proper, determination of the currently dominant ego state (parent, child, or adult) of each participant; 3) game analysis, identification of the games played in interactions and of the gratifications provided; 4) script analysis, uncovering of the causes of the patient's emotional problems.

transactional analysis

A psychological interpretation of behaviour based on a study of social interactions in which the individual is perceived as adopting one of three roles-‘adult’, ‘parent’ or ‘child’. Relationships are said to be satisfactory if the choice of role is appropriate and complementary, but are disruptive if the people concerned refuse to play the game. Transactional analysis explores the way people play these life games and identifies bad play which may damage the quality of life.
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