Our Practitioners - Professional Fields

Eric Berne’s theory has evolved since the 1960s to be applied in the fields of Psychotherapy, Counselling, Education, and Organisation. Transactional Analysts work as psychotherapists, counsellors, organisational development consultants, facilitators, tutors, educators, nurses, social workers, teachers, mental health and addiction workers, management consultants, managers and leaders, learning and development managers, and trainers.

You will find Transactional Analysis professionals working in mental health and addictions sector, private practice, social and community services, community development, non-government organisations (NGOs), business sector, voluntary organisations.

Psychotherapy

The underlying philosophy of Transactional Analysis is respect for the intrinsic worth and dignity of humans and their capacity to change.

These beliefs are fundamental to the quality and maintenance of the psychotherapeutic relationship. Equality is affirmed in the making of a therapy contract, in which the therapist and client can gain insight into conscious and unconscious forms of communication. This process enables the transactional analyst to work with the issues of transference and countertransference that become evident particularly through the analysis of ulterior and crossed transactions.

Transactions form part of the games people play. These psychological games and their outcomes in turn are often acts or scenes in a person's life script. Decisions about self, others and the world are made in childhood and have a significant influence on how we live our lives in the present. By analysing the transactions, games and unique life scripts, both therapist and client gain a picture of the client's unconscious life plan which, once in awareness, can be changed and resolved.

Transactional Analysis therapy is usually offered weekly in frequency and is practised in groups and individually. Psychotherapy Trainees (as Student Members) and qualified Transactional Analysts (Psychotherapy) are bound by explicit codes of ethical behaviour and professional practice, through such organisations as New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists (NZAP).

Counselling

Transactional analysis counselling is a professional activity within a clearly defined contractual relationship.

The process enables clients to develop awareness, options and skills in daily life, through the enhancement of the individual's strengths and resources. The aim is to increase the client's autonomy in relation to the social and cultural environment. The fundamental link between Eric Berne and Carl Rogers the founder of Person Centred Counselling, is the belief that individuals can regain access to their true selves through the provision of a respectful and facilitating counselling relationship.

The field of counselling is often chosen by professionals working in the social/psychological and cultural areas of practice, as in social welfare, pastoral work, health care etc. Although it overlaps with the field of psychotherapy, Transactional analysis counselling is an equally specialised activity, with a distinct focus of skills, knowledge and experience. Counselling Trainees and qualified Transactional Analysts (Counselling) are bound by explicit codes of ethical behaviour and professional practice, through such organisations as New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC).

Organisational Transactional Analysis

Transactional Analysis provides a systematic approach to understanding the links between human needs and behaviours, and the ways that organisations are effective or ineffective in solving their problems and serving their customers.

Organisational consulting based on Transactional Analysis uses a contractual approach. Consultants maintain its theoretical accessibility, so that its concepts and ideas are readily understood and can be applied by people at all levels of an organisation.

Transactional Analysis consultants are trained to have insight into group dynamics and leadership styles and in many concepts which relate specifically to organisational life. Time management, cycles of development for handling change, and analysis of organisational 'scripts' can add clarity and direction to organisational development. By observing ingrained behaviour patterns and exposing the accompanying limiting beliefs, the consultant can offer guidance to executives and help create healthy organisational cultures, in which individuals can function effectively and enthusiastically. Emphasis is placed on avoiding non-productive competition and conflict, and developing more effective problem solving strategies. In settings diverse as airlines, manufacturing, government agencies, family businesses and banks, Transactional Analysis has shown its value as a solidly grounded approach to interpersonal skills.

Transactional Analysis in Education

In its educational application, transactional analysis offers a model for understanding personality, human development, communication and personal life patterns.

It provides ways to describe and explain both internal and interpersonal behaviour, in an innovative and accessible manner. Because of its emphasis on the interactional aspects of communication, it is invaluable in all branches of education.

Three philosophical concepts underpin Transactional analysis in education:

  1. Respect for the dignity of all human beings and empathic acceptance of them is central to successful relationships between teachers and learners. Transactional analysis describes this concept as the 'I'm OK - You're OK' position.
  2. People at all ages and stages of development are capable of learning to take responsibility for their decisions and actions.
  3. Educational difficulties can be addressed effectively with co-operative goodwill and a coherent theoretical framework which clarifies the human dynamics involved.