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Transactional analysis – whose controlling your ego?

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Transactional analysis – whose controlling your ego?

Transactional Analysis & the glory of the Ego States

Part 1 – an explanation

Transactional Analysis (TA) is a form of structural psychology developed by Eric Berne. It offers a method to analyse all human interaction through a simple model.

This allows you to relate to others in any given situation in a manner that will enhance the relationship.

Without understanding the concept of Transactional Analysis the relationships, you enter, both Business and Personal will never be as good as they could be! Effective Communications are key to success.

Julie Hogbin

“The unit of social intercourse is called a transaction. If two or more people encounter each other… sooner or later one of them will speak, or give some other indication of acknowledging the presence of the others. This is called transactional stimulus. Another person will then say or do something which is in some way related to the stimulus, and that is called the transactional response.

At its simplest level, Transactional Analysis is the method for studying interactions between individuals. Transactional Analysis allows you to analyse the Transactional Stimulus and the Transactional Response. Transactional Analysis is a theory which operates as each of the following:

  1. a theory of personality
  2. a model of communication
  3. a study of repetitive patterns of behaviour

To Transactional Analysts the personality of a person is a collection of behavioural patterns developed over time, which other people begin to recognise as that person.

These behaviour patterns are drawn from three sources, ego states, and can be thought of as three different audios with sub sections. The audios are all accessible at the same time, it is your choice which one you listen to and operate from at any given time.

These audios are called: Parent, Adult and Child

  • The Parent is everything we have been taught
  • The Adult is what we have worked out for ourselves
  • The Child is everything we have ever felt

It is very important to remember this is not a personality branding theory. We all have access to all the states and divisions of the states at all times. What we develop is a preference on how to behave and how to react to the stimuli of the situations around us.

With knowledge and personal development, everybody can choose the appropriate state with the appropriate response at the appropriate time.

There is no right or wrong, it is up to you what works and gets great results and what doesn’t work so well!

The Parent represents, records and replays the conditioning people received from parents, teachers and other authority figures in the formative years of life. Ideas of right and wrong, good and evil, prejudices, morals and opinions are remembered and replayed throughout life.

The Adult represents behaviour that is logical, reasonable, rational and unemotional. It is our ‘on-board computer’, using, interpreting and analysing data to guide our interactions.

Keys to the kingdom

The Child represents, records and allows the replaying of behaviours that appear when we respond to our emotions. This is the impulsive side of human behaviour and reflects some of the attitudes learned from our childhood experiences. The child audio records examples of joy, pain, laughter, jealousy, inquisitiveness and many other child-like emotions.

Transactional Analysis Ego States

The Parent ego state divides into 2 audio subsections on which we record, and then replay, different types of ‘parent’ behaviour.

They are:

1. The Nurturing Parent

The part of a parent that is caring and understanding about other people. The nurturing parent does not put people down deliberately, it makes them feel OK and safe. Nurtures, loves, helps, smothers, keeps you a child. The Nurturing parent has a loving intent which is not always seen to be helpful by others.

2. The Critical Parent

The part of the parent that is judgemental and often responds by telling people what they “should” or “ought” to be doing. This is the part of us that can make people feel that they, and their behaviour, are “not okay”. The critical parent attacks people’s personalities as well as their behaviour. People with a strong critical parent are often as hard on themselves as they are on other people. The controlling parent will tell you what to do, be in command and in control and will restrict freedom.

The Parent Ego state can be sub divided further into positive and negative aspects of both states.

In certain circumstances the behaviours, commands and way of being of the Controlling Parent state is what is required.​

Transactional Analysis Parent Sub Divided

You do not want others questioning you when it is a matter of life or death – they need to do what you say.

NB: Transactional Analysis developed significantly beyond Berne’s early theory in the 50’s. by Berne himself until his death in 1970, and since then by his followers.

During the 1980’s the model developed further by Wagner, Joines and Mountain.

The enhanced model established Controlling and Nurturing aspects of the Parent mode, each with positive and negative aspects creating a 7 element model.

The Adapted and Free aspects of the Child mode, again each with positive and negative aspects, which gives us the model to which most TA practitioners refer today.​

Transactional Analysis child sub divided

This particular author: JulieHogbin prefers to think of the Child ego states in their original format Free Adapted & Rebellious.

To conclude

Each of the EGO State Audios that we access will affect how we behave, how we respond and how successful we are in our interactions with others.

It is our choice on how we communicate with ourselves and with others. The words and tone we use will affect how not only others respond to us but also the messages we embed in ourselves!

Watch out for the article on TA & Communication

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