Transactional Analysisby Len Horridge
There are many questions asked about such psychological concepts as TA and there are not always answers to these. However, here are the most common questions that people ask about TA.
- Is it guaranteed to work?
- Can I change others?
- Isn’t it complex?
- How do I change others from their ego state?
- How do I change myself?
- Which is the best state?
- Can I use this all the time?
- Can I use it for every transaction?
1. Is it guaranteed to work?
The simple answer is ‘no’, as nothing which involves human beings can be guaranteed. However, we can guarantee that if you don’t try it, it won’t work. We can tell you that it gives a fascinating insight into some human behaviour patterns and especially your own, but it only gives one perspective. This is, however, powerful and enlightening.
2. Can I change others?
Nelson Mandela said that if you want to change others you first have to change yourself. TA gives you a chance to see what you need to change about yourself first, before you can have a new impact on others. After all, one definition of insanity is to do things the same and expect different results. So, yes, you can change others, but it will take you to change first.
3. Isn’t it complex?
Like all similar theories, it can be complex. But it need not be. The basic principles (which we examine here) are exactly what they say – in other words, basic – and once you have grasped these you can use them every day. Once you find you are using the basic principles effectively, you may want to get into the potentially more complex areas. However, the basics will stand you in very good stead, without the need for going as deep as a practising psychologist might.
4. How do I change others from their ego state?
Eric Berne suggests that people respond to the way they are treated mostly with a ‘complementary’ response, for example, if you are treated like a child, you will respond like a child. So, if the response you want isn’t right, try altering your own ego state (perhaps move from parent to adult) and see if you get a different response.
5. How do I change myself?
Well, using TA, change still starts with a first step and that first step is normally awareness and acceptance. So, if you are somewhat child-like at times, examine what you are doing and change a little. This can be your body language, which has such a large impact on how we behave and are seen to behave, or your individual words. Check out the words and body language that apply to the different states, see if you recognise yourself and then substitute the words for the state you’d prefer to be in.
6. Which is the best state?
Normally, most people in a business environment would suggest that the Adult state is best but think about this... it can be seen to be cold and aloof, lacking in real emotion. While it is normally best to be objective, sometimes you need to be emotional (for recognition or enjoyment) like a child and sometimes critical (if someone does need to be disciplined) like an adult. Berne suggests that you need a balance between the three and, in the Adult state, you also have a chance to choose which state is best.
7. Can I use this all the time?
Yes. This is all about transactions of any type and this can be used in ‘real life’ as well as business. In fact, most people find it as useful in everyday life than business life, which can have more formal transactions.
8. Can I use it for every transaction?
No, as some people do not respond to the changes that others make, though you can use it to analyse each transaction with others. Like all theories, it has limitations but, in this case, only in how you choose to apply it.