Transactional Analysis:

Transactional analysis is a social psychology developed by Eric Berne, MD (d.1970). Over the past four decades Eric Berne’s theory has evolved to include applications to psychotherapy, counseling, education, and organizational development.
Eric Berne, 1910 - 1970


Transactional analysis is a powerful tool to bring about human well being. In psychotherapy, transactional analysis utilizes a contract for specific changes desired by the client and involves the “Adult” in both the client and the clinician to sort out behaviors, emotions and thoughts that prevent the development of full human potential. Transactional analysts intervene as they work with clients in a safe, protective, mutually respectful-OK/OK— environment to eliminate dysfunctional behaviors and establish and reinforce positive relationship styles and healthy functioning. Transactional analysts are able to use the many tools of psychotherapy, ranging from psychodynamic to cognitive behavioral methods in effective and potent ways. Examples of transactional analysis psychotherapy can bee seen in our Master Therapists series, the Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson Couples Therapy Videotapes and the Carlo Moiso-Isabelle Crespelle DVD.


Counselors who utilize transactional analysis work contractually on solving “here and now” problems. Counseling work focuses on creating productive problem solving behaviors. Using transactional analysis, counselor’s establish an egalitarian, safe and mutually respectful working relationship with their clients. This working relationship provides tools clients can utilize in their day-to-day functions to improve the quality of their lives.


Transactional Analysis is a practical educational psychology that offers a way of transforming educational philosophy and principles into everyday practice. TA concepts provide a flexible and creative approach to understanding how people function and to the connections between human behaviour, learning and education. Teaching them to both teachers and students is a process of empowerment, enhancing effective methods of interaction and mutual recognition.

Educational TA is both preventive and restorative. TA concepts are developed and used with people of all ages and stages of development in their various social settings. The aim is to increase personal autonomy, to support people in developing their own personal and professional philosophies and to enable optimum psychological health and growth.

The key philosophical concepts that underpin Educational TA are:

  • Effective educators offer empathic acceptance of all human beings as people together with respect for their dignity. These qualities are at the heart of successful learning relationships.
  • People at any age and stage can learn to take responsibility for their own decisions and actions.
  • Educational difficulties can be addressed effectively with co-operative goodwill and a coherent theoretical framework that makes sense of the human dynamics involved.

The process of educational TA is contractual, so that all parties know where they stand, and what agreements have been made for what purposes. Throughout the process the ideas and methods of TA are used openly to promote informed co-operation and the sharing of power between all parties.

TA can be used to address important issues in:

  • initial and continuing teacher education
  • institutional climate and culture
  • developmental and educational needs
  • self esteem building
  • parent education
  • student motivation
  • staff morale and teacher well-being
  • blocks to learning and teaching
  • behaviour management

Above all educational TA is invaluable in helping people to thrive and in promoting healthy and effective learning in a wide variety of contexts.


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