You may have heard of such TA concepts as life-script, ego-states, game playing, discounting and transactions, to name a few. Sometimes these concepts and models can be discussed between client and therapist in the therapy session, if it is appropriate and if it illustrates your current circumstances or situations.
Used well, a TA model or concept can assist both client and therapist to understand unwanted behavioural patterns and interpersonal dynamics while using a shared ‘language’.
Transactional Analysts believe in using open communication. The therapist is seen, not as the ‘expert’ but as a person in an equal relationship where both parties have worth and are able to think for themselves (I’m OK, You’re OK).
The aim of TA therapy is to bring about autonomy. Autonomy, in this sense, is made up of the following three components
Awareness: Unwanted behaviours and responses are driven by material in our subconscious that is not available to us in our conscious mind. In TA we bring things into awareness. When we are aware there is much less of our processes that are out of our conscious awareness and so we can choose to behave and respond in the way that is best for us.
Spontaneity: The ability to be free of script-bound responses. When we operate out of our own life-script then we are rigid, predictable and often limited in range of experience. Having worked through our own script issues enables us to live in the moment and be truly free.
Intimacy: As you will learn during your TA therapy, there are many (unique to you) rules and norms about emotional, psychological and physical connection with others (and with yourself!) that you abide by, out of awareness. Assessing and modifying those rules allows you to live in a way that you choose, rather than what you have been unconsciously programmed to do. Relationships with yourself, and with others are better.
Although people are responsible for their own change, a TA therapist will work contractually with you. This doesn’t mean that a formal contract is drawn up, not at all. ‘working contractually’ in this sense, means that only issues that are mutually agreed are resolved. The therapist doesn’t decide what the client needs. The way that this is done by a skilled transactional analyst is that is conversationally and effortless.
There are quite a few schools of TA. The type of TA that I use in my therapeutic work with clients is based mainly on the following schools of TA:
- Classical TA
- Constructivist TA
- Relational TA
I hope that you are interested enough to decide to have a transactional analyst as your therapist.