About Transactional Analysis

What Is Transactional Analysis?

Transactional Analysis (TA) is a school of social psychology developed by Eric Berne in the 1950s. Transactional Analysis reveals how our personality is structured psychologically. It helps its practitioners to study transactional meaning interactional patterns to identify and correct unproductive relationships in many settings. These settings range from one's home, place of work, industry, in offices, organisations, banks and hospitals, in social groups, in sports teams and other areas of one's occupation.

It is also universally used in clinical settings by psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, hypno-therapists, counsellors, care givers, and social workers to treat patients suffering from mental, emotional, behavioural and adjustment problems. In short its scope of applications is almost unlimited.

Transactional Analysis was the numero uno choice of specialists to select astronauts to man space craft of NASA. Professionals qualify to be practitioners in one of four areas of specialisation - organisational, educational, psychotherapy and counselling. It is of almost immediate use to individuals, students, parents, couples, managers, business owners, stock traders, anyone involved in skilled and stressful work or activity, doctors, therapists, counsellors, social workers, care givers in the main.

Eric Berne (1910-1970) was a Canadian born American psychiatrist. He is the originator and founder of Transactional Analysis. It is a form of modern psychology that examines a person's relationships and interactions. Berne took inspiration from Sigmund Freud's theories of personality, combining them with his own observations of human interaction in order to develop transactional analysis. TA is an approach used for understanding personality and communication. It offers method to live life in new rewarding ways and helps persons to break free from their childhood mould. It helps to explain why we think, feel and behave in the way that we do. It is used in psychotherapy as a tool for personal growth and personal change. It centres on how we interact with others and the implications of our interactions.

Berne’s theory consists of certain key concepts that practitioners use to help clients, students, analyse systems and change patterns of interaction that interfere with achieving life aspirations. Today TA has evolved to include applications in counselling, education, organizational growth, and psychotherapy and in many other areas like social work, caring for the sick, rehabilitation, negotiation, conflict resolution and management, sports, team and group building, parenting, child upbringing, couple bonding, resolving strikes and peace efforts.

TA helps people to break free of their unproductive or hurting childhood moulds. It helps us to know why people think, feel and behave and have anger tantrums. It is a very valuable tool for personal growth and development and professional effectiveness.



You will find an answer if you have these questions:
Why do I frequently experience hurt, pain, unpleasantness, embarrassment resulting in my relationships?
Why do I face failure in life and losses in my business?
How may I be successful and achieve my life goals?
How do I ensure that my children shape up well and do well in studies?
How do I be efficient and effective in my professional practice and in work as well?



Transactional Analysis as a theory has incorporated contributions from many experts. The notable ones are Claude Steiner, Stephen Karpman, Fanita English, Robert and Mary Goulding. Berne and his colleagues formed the International transactional analysis association in 1964. Eric Berne was associated with the Indian Psychiatric society and he visited India in 1948 to attend one of its meetings.

About Eric Berne


Eric Berne was born Leonard Eric Bernstein on May 10, 1910, in Montreal, Canada. Berne studied medicine at McGill University, and received his degree in 1931. He entered a residency at Yale, where he studied psychiatry and psychoanalysis .Berne became an American citizen in 1939 and later changed his name from Bernstein to Berne. Berne briefly served in the US army during World War II, and upon release, he returned to his studies.
Eric Berne was analysand of Eric Erikson and Paul Federn. He trained with them in the practice of psychoanalysis. Berne worked at several hospitals throughout the San Francisco area and continued his study of psychoanalysis while practicing as a group therapist. Berne's method of practice of psychoanalysis was not strictly in keeping with the laid down norms. This seems to be the reason why his application for membership to the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Association was rejected. He went ahead and proceeded to establish Transactional Analysis.



Eric Berne was a pioneer of leading group therapy sessions. He observed that participants released observable signs of internal affect in response to interactions between others. Berne concluded that there must be some relationship between intrapsychic shifts and related shifts in observed behaviours. This constitutes an important feature on which TA as a theory is based. Eric Berne used to hold weekly Social Psychiatry Seminars in his home in San Francisco. The participants put Berne's ideas into practice. The development of TA ideas took place in these weekly seminars.


Eric Berne has authored six TA books in his life time the popular ones are Games People Play and What Do You Say After You Say Hello. He has also contributed several articles to Psychiatric and Psychotherapy journals. He left the world early in life at his age of 60. Had he lived longer the world community would have gained a lot from his contributions.


Transactional Analysis as a theory has incorporated contributions from many experts. The notable ones are Claude Steiner, Stephen Karpman, Fanita English, Robert and Mary Goulding.