TRANSACTIONAL ANALYSIS MODEL
Eric Berne, originally trained inpsychoanalysis, was a psychiatrist in California, who, in the 1950s, developed an approach to therapy called transactional analysis (T.A.). He envisioned T.A. as a rational approach to understanding behavior. It is framed within the believe that all individuals can learn to “trust themselves, think for themselves, and make their own decisions.”Operating from the basic premise that every person is born to be a winner, T.A. offers a positive way of looking at ourselves and others. Although a “loser” image may occasionally appear, the potential exists for people to exercise a great deal of control over their lives. According to this model, people have the ability to identify behaviors they want to change and the ability to implement the change.To change, people must identify their own ego-states. Berne hypothesized that these ego-states consist of permanently recorded scripts in the brain. When we communicate we are doing so from one of our own alter ego states:
In other words, all people have three ego states that form the basis of their behavior. Our feelings at the time determine which one we use, and at any time something can trigger a shift from one state to another. When we respond, we are also doing this from one of the three states, and it is in the analysis of these stimuli and responses that the essence of Transactional Analysis lies.An individual’s ego-states are developed from life experiences and retained both consciously and unconsciously in the brain. Many behaviors appear as if from nowhere, without any conscious thought. Displaying these behaviors is somewhat like automatically turning on a tape machine: Information recorded long ago is simply played back.But words and feelings too are expressed as they were once learned, and they require little or no conscious effort to produce. Each one of the ego states is a system of communication with its own language and function;
the Parent's is a language of values ,
the Adult's is a language of logic and rationality and,
the Child's is a language of emotions.
Effective functioning in the world depends on the availability to of all three, intact ego states. People can behave from their Parent ego state, or from their Child ego state or from their Adult ego state. At any one time our actions come from one of these three ego states.
VOICES IN THE HEAD
As you will recall, the Parent ego state is like a tape recorder full of pre- judged, prejudiced, preprogrammed statements. These "taped" statements can get activated while we are in our Adult or Child and then we can actually hear them as "voices in our heads." The Parental tapes can feel good or bad depending on which Parent makes them. In other personality theories, the harmful Critical Parent voices are known as the harsh super-ego, negative self-talk, cognitive traps, low self-esteem, punitive protector or catastrophic expectations.
The Critical Parent can make put-down statements like: "You're bad, stupid, ugly, crazy and sick; in short you're doomed, not OK." The Nurturing Parent loves the Child unconditionally and says things like: "I love you," "You're a winner," "You're smart," "You're a princess" or "You're beautiful."The Critical Parent sometimes controls the Child by preventing it from feeling good about itself. If the Child wants to be loved the Critical Parent says, "You don't deserve it." If the Child wants to give love the Critical Parent may say, "It isn't wanted." If the Child is angry at an unrewarding job, the Critical Parent may say, "This is the best you can do because you are lazy."If the Child comes up with a new idea that goes against old points of view, the Critical Parent may respond: "You must be crazy to think like that." The Critical Parent can make people feel not OK and force them to do things they don't want to do. To counteract this kind of a Critical Parent people can learn to develop their Nurturing Parent, Adult or Natural Child.
WHAT ARE TRANSACTIONS?
Transactions refer to the communication exchanges between people. Transactions occur when any person relates to any other person. Each transaction is made up a stimulus and a response and transactions can proceed from the Parent, Adult or Child of one person to the Parent, Adult or Child of another person.Transactional analysts are trained to recognize which ego states people are transacting from and to follow the transactional sequences so they can intervene and improve the quality and effectiveness of communication.
"I'm OK - You're OK" is probably the bestknown expression of the purpose of transactional analysis: to establish and reinforce the position that recognizes the value and worth of every person. Transactional analysts regard people as basically "OK" and thus capable of change, growth, and healthy interactions.
Complimentary and Crossed Transactions: At the core of Berne’s theory is the rule that effective transactions (i.e. successful communications) must be complementary. They must go back from the receiving ego state to the sending ego state. For example, if the stimulus is Parent to Child, the response must be Child to Parent.If a crossed transaction occurs, there is an ineffective communication. Either or both parties will be upset. In a crossed transaction the transactional response is addressed to an ego state different from the one which started the stimulus.Communication can continue between two people as long as transactions are complimentary: Crossed transactions are important because they disrupt communication. This is useful to know because it helps transactional analysts understand how and why communication is disrupted. The rule is: "whenever a disruption of communication occurs, a crossed transaction caused it."
Covert Transactions: Covert transactions occur when people say one thing and mean another. Covert transactions are the basis of games and are especially interesting because they are deceptive. They have a social (overt) and a psychological (covert) level. It is important to know the difference between the social and covert levels because in order to understand and predict what people are going to do, the covert level will give provide more information than the overt level.One important reason we say one thing and mean another is that we are generally ashamed of our Child's or Parent's desires and feelings. Nevertheless, we act on these desires and express those feelings while we pretend to be doing otherwise. For instance, we may use smiling sarcasm instead of a direct expression of our anger, or when scared we may counter-attack instead of admitting our fears.When we want attention or love we often assume indifference, and we have trouble giving or accepting them. In fact, because our lives are so immersed in half-truth and deception it can happen that we no longer know what it is our Child really wants. We also don't expect people to be completely honest so that we never really know whether we can trust what they say. Transactional analysts encourage people to be honest with one another, and with themselves, about their wants and feelings, rather than "crooked" and covert. In this manner people can find out what they want, how to ask for it and, if possible, how to get it.
Strokes: Stroking is the recognition that one person gives to another. Strokes are essential to a person's life. It has been shown that a very young child needs actual physical strokes in order to remain alive. Adults can get by on fewer physical strokes as they learn to exchange verbal strokes; positive strokes like praise or expressions of appreciation, or negative strokes like negative judgements or put downs.
THE FOUR LIFE POSITIONS
In the process of developing an identity, people define for themselves, early
in life, what the meaning of their life or existence is. Some people decide they
are OK and are going to have a good life; but many others decide they are not OK
and will fail in some way. That expectation based on a decision of how life will
be is their existential position.People can feel OK or not OK about themselves
and others so that there are four main life positions:
“I'm OK, you're OK,”
“I'm OK, you're not OK,”
“I'm not OK, you're OK”
“I'm not OK, you're not OK.”
All individuals need to feel adequate. Both the acceptable and unacceptable behaviors of children are designed to check how others feel about them. From the reactions to their behavior, they decide how to think about themselves. Teachers, therefore, need to have an affirming attitude even toward students who display excessive misbehavior. They should apply stroking techniques. They must give attention and affection.Using transactional analysis effectively in the classroom to eliminate learning disruptions depends on how well teachers understand the principles of TA as well as how perceptive they are in determining their own internal state. It also depends on how skilled they are in discovering the internal states of their students and how they interact with them.
How can you tell which internal state a student is operating from? Part of the answer is revealed in the verbal information: that is what the student says. The rest comes from nonverbal cues. Nonverbal cues include facial expressions, gestures and voice inflections.
Parent----hands on hips, pointing the index finger, arms folded across
the chest, head wagging, tongue clicking, et
Child----- tears, temper tantrums, shrugging shoulders, complaining, downcast eyes.
Adult-----smiles of approval, and looks that ask for more information
The verbal expressions of the parent usually demand, command, and reprimand (criticism). They are designed to control and direct. They also contain criticisms and labels. Ex; ”You are just being ridiculous.” “You should be ashamed of yourself.” “Pick up those books now.”
The verbal clues expressed by the child usually take the form of uncontrolled emotion. “Why can’t I go to lunch. Everyone is.” “I want the biggest one.” “My dad can whip your dad.” “I want my ice cream now.” “My bike is better than yours.” One can tell the adult is in control by listening for the following kinds of questions and statements. “I think I understand what you mean.” “How much time will it take you to finish the job?”
The role of the teacher is to stay in the adult ego-state and teach students to apply T.A. principles as they interact with each other. If teachers intend to use the principles of T.A., they must understand them and know how to apply them successfully in their own lives.In the classroom, teachers must not only use transactional analysis principles while interacting with students but also teach their students to use transactional analysis in regulating their verbal transactions with others. Children also need to understand T.A. and know how to apply it with their teachers as well as fellow students. Concepts that could be taught to students include
Three ego states
Four life positions
How to treat others so that they feel accepted and capable (stroking)
How to analyze transactions
How to increase the power of the Adult and regulate the influence of Parent and Child in transactions with others.
In personal transactions, students must learn to use the appropriate ego-state. To live more successfully within the classroom, they need to reduce the impact of their coercive Parent ego-state, free their Child for more open communication, and strengthen their Adult to improve the quality of interpersonal transactions.