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Transactional Analysis

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 877
  • Category: Behavior

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Transactional Analysis is a theory to understand human behavior through concepts which have been taken from psychology and psychotherapy. This method helps in understanding and to some extent – predicting how people behave in different situations. Transaction analysis was developed by Eric Berne during 1950’s and was made famous by his book – “Games People Play”. This theory was further developed by Dr. Thomas Harris in his book – “I am OK, You’re Ok” in late 1960’s.

What is Transaction Analysis?
Transactional Analysis explains that people live in three ego-states – 1. Parent – In this state – the person is behaving in response to their understanding and memories of their parents and how they acted. Thus – the person is either nurturing or critical and in both the cases – the person believes and behaves as someone who is controlling or trying to control the other person. 2. Child – In this state – the person behaves and thinks similarly to what he/she did in childhood. Thus – the person reacts emotionally to situations and tries to find comfort in a parent. 3. Adult – this is a emotion-less state – where the person is objectively looking at the situation and reacts to it based on reality and maturity. These ego-states are not the representative of the age, position or relationship of any person. In fact – the same person – in different situations and with different people – may get into different ego-states. E.g. a person – who behaves as a parent in home to his child, may behave as a adult at a workplace or a child in front of his superiors. Similarly – a small child may behave in the parent ego-state in front of other children.It is important to diagnose the ego-state of a person at any given time.

Analysis of ego-state and Transactions –
TA theory uses the understanding of these ego-states to analyze how a person may behave in specific transactions. There are 4 types of analysis that are performed – 1. Structural Analysis
2. Transactional Analysis
3. Game analysis
4. Script Analysis
Transactions are psychological flow of communication between 2 or more people. Transactions between 2 or more people can take following types – 1. Complementary – when a person in one state transacts with a person in complementing state (e.g. 2-way communication between Parent – to – Child, Adult – to – Adult etc) – the responses of such transaction are as expected and communication continues 2. Crossed – when a person in one state transacts with another in conflicting state (e.g. one way communication between parent – to –child) – response to such transactions results in conflicts and communication breakdown Transactions are also loaded with ulterior motives which are expressed through non-verbal mediums (e.g. facial expressions, body language). This is disguised communication and can often involve different ego-states exhibited by the same person. It is important to understand these motives and how people respond to them, in order to do complete analysis of transactions. Life Positions and Strokes –

As a result of the ego-states, people live in different life positions – 1. I’m Not OK – You’re Ok
2. I’m OK – You’re Not Ok
3. I’m Not OK – You’re Not Ok
4. I’m OK – You’re Ok
These positions are developed in early childhood and are shaped by the experiences of the person as he/she grows. The 4th position is ideal and is the goal of TA Strokes are recognition, attention or response that one person gives to another. Depending on the ego-state and life position of the person, the person may need and seek different strokes from other people. The strokes are of 3 types – 1. Positive Strokes – e.g. praise, complement, affection 2. Negative Strokes – criticism, degradation, ridiculing 3. Conditional Strokes – with ulterior motives and depending on condition

Application of Transaction Analysis –
Transactional analysis plays crucial roles in various fields which require understanding and analysis of human behavior. Key such fields are – Psychotherapy, counseling, Educational and organizations. TA is a powerful tool for providing counseling and healing in the field of psychiatry. TA is also equally powerful tool in education for applying principles of psychology into everyday practice. However, for the purpose of this essay – we will look at the role that TA plays in understanding human behavior and people interactions at work place. For being effective communicator and leader – it’s important to understand the ego-state of the other people and provide the right strokes depending on the same. The key is to keep most of the transactions at Adult to Adult level, thereby avoiding getting emotions into the interactions. TA works as a tool for Managers/employees to increase the motivation of themselves/their teams , to stop passing the buck and incorporate corporate values in their lives. This is possible if they are in the Adult ego-state in most the transactions at the work place. The goal for TA will be

Fourth Para – Explanation of positions – I am OK – You are OK – 8-10 lines

Fifth Para – Explanation of Transactions – strokes – 4-5 lines

Sixth Para – Utility of TA in HR – 10-12 lines

Conclusion and Summary – 4-5 lines

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