The approach I use in my work is called Transactional Analysis (TA), founded by the renowned psychiatrist, Eric Berne, whose assumptions were:

  • People are essentially born OK
  • Everyone has the capacity to think
  • People decide their own destiny and their decisions can be changed

TA offers a theory of the personality, an analysis of communication and a study of repetitive patterns based on Berne’s Parent, Adult and Child ego state model.

Parent

Represents feelings, thoughts and behaviours we have internalised from our parents or carers.

Adult

Represents feelings, thoughts and behaviours used to rationalise here and now reality based on information we are currently receiving.

Child

Represents archaic feelings, thoughts and behaviours stemming from our past experiences which return to us in the present, usually out of our awareness.

Script

Another element of TA theory is at an early age we decide upon an unconscious life plan called a script which is influenced by our upbringing. Sometimes our script can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle, like the repeating of destructive and self-limiting behaviour and ways of thinking. Therapy aims to help the person to leave their script through self-awareness to enable them to make healthier choices.

TA can help us to examine a person’s external world as well as their internal one by observing their social interactions. It is worth noting that many of the world’s large and successful businesses use TA in their staff development programmes.