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Transactional Analysis, Essay Example

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Essay

Abstract

Eric Berne MD (d.1970) was responsible for developing Transactional Analysis which is a social psychology.  Essentially this is a psychotherapy tool that is used to bring about human well being. It involves the development of a “contract for specific changes”  (ITAA, 2009) utilizing the services of both the client and clinician  in order to examine emotional behaviour and thoughts for developing human potential.  The theory now has a world-wide movement with a following in excess of 10,000 people. Transactional Analysis essentially has five main clusters, as itemised below:

  1. The OK Cluster
  2. The Strokes Cluster
  3. The Script and Games Cluster
  4. The Ego States and Transactions Cluster
  5. The Transactional Theory of Change Cluster

” Berne based his theory on the hospitalism studies by Spitz (1945) and on Harlow’s “monkey studies” with wire and cloth mothers (1976)”  (TM, 1997)

Transactional Analysis – The Historical Content

It was some fifty years ago that Eric Berne invented the concept of Transactional Analysis. He argued that verbal and direct 1:1 communication is at the core of human relationships and psychoanalysis. It was in the early 20th Century that Sigmund Freud proposed ” the human psyche is multi-faceted, and that each of us has warring factions in our subconscious.” (Chapman, 1995).   Berne stated that each person is made up of three alter ego states: 1) Parent  2) Adult and 3) Child.  Dr Wilder Penfold (1951) Contributed to this theory by starting ” 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. The patients ‘replayed’ these events and their feelings despite not normally being able to recall them using their conventional memories.” (Chapman, 1995).

Core Concepts

Ego States and Transactions

The interactions of people are comprised of a series of transactions. These transactions have two main parts : The stimulus and the response.  In this interaction people enter one of three different types of “ego states”, 1) The Parent 2) The Adult or 3) The Child.  Each have different patterns of thinking originating from the brain.

Complimentary and Crossed Transactions

This involves an ego state in each person, the concept of crossed transaction is that the transactional response is addressed to an ego state that differs from that which originated the stimulus.

Covert Transactions

This is essentially when a person states one thing and means something completely different.  These are the basis of games and form the basis of deception.

Strokes

Strokes or stroking relates to the acknowledgement one person relates to another.  “Without them, Berne said the spinal cord will shrivel up” (Steiner, 2000). The importance of strokes relates to age. Children require more responses and strokes than Adults. With Children it is more tactile as they need the love and response from their parents. Alternatively, Adults gain recognition from other sources like praise, human expressions etc.
Games

The concept of games is that they are ” crooked or covert exchanges of strokes” (Steiner, 2000).  The game is a repetitive series of transactions which result in a payoff.  The latter being a covert advantage that encourages the players to participate.

The Religious perspective

In the context of Christianity Transactional Analysis and the underlying doctrines are important to the Christian understanding of Man.  In the OK concept the emphasis is on anthropology and the belief of personal acceptance. This contrasts to the Lutheran belief that “the demand to believe ourselves is pleasing to God and an absolute demand by God himself”  (Bertram, 1973)

In controversial terms Transactional Analysis renders Jesus Christ unnecessary.  Within TA Healing is viewed as “enlightenment” whereas “Jesus functions little more than a teacher of truth” (Bertram, 1973)ю

Works Cited

Bertram, R. W. (1973, April 24). Transactional Analysis. Retrieved October 10, 2009, from Transactional Analysis – Redeemable for Christian purpose?: http://www.crossings.org/archive/bob/transactionalAnalysis.pdf

Chapman, A. (1995). Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis – early TA history and theory. Retrieved October 10th, 2009, from Business Balls: http://www.businessballs.com/transact.htm

ITAA. (2009, January 1). History of Eric Berne, Founder of Transactional Analysis. Retrieved October 10, 2009, from International Transaction Analysis Association: http://www.itaa-net.org/ta/bernehist.htm

Steiner, C. (2000, August). A Compilation of Core Concepts. Retrieved October 10, 2009, from Compilation of Core Concepts: www.claudesteiner.com/core.htm

TM, C. S. (1997, December 14). Transactional Analysis; An elegant theory and practice. Retrieved October 10th, 2009, from Claude Steiner’s : http://www.claudesteiner.com/ta.htm

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