Transactional analysis (TA), also known as Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis of human behaviour is a theory of personality developed by psychiatrist Eric Berne in the 1950s. It classifies human behaviour into three ego states: the Parent, Adult and Child. A person’s actions are determined by which of these ego states they are in at any given time. Each state has its own characteristics and rules, which are explained below
Each state has its own characteristics and rules, which are explained below.
The Parent State
In this state, you are most likely to be judgmental and critical. You may also give advice, asking questions like “Why don’t you do it this way?” or “What will happen if you don’t?” Your goal is to help others improve their lives by pointing out their faults and offering solutions for improvement.
The Adult State
When you’re in this state, fairness is important to you: every person should have equal opportunity; everyone deserves respect regardless of background or status; everyone should be treated equally under the law. In addition to fairness, people in the adult state tend toward openness–they’re willing to change their minds about things if presented with new evidence that would support doing so (or even just reconsidering old evidence). Optimism also characterizes those who spend time in this state–they believe things will work out well despite past experiences suggesting otherwise!
The Parent ego state is characterized by judgment, criticism and advice-giving.
The Parent ego state is accessed when we feel that someone else has failed to meet our expectations of them. The parent may be a parent figure from your childhood or even your own parents, but it can also be an authority figure such as a teacher or boss. In addition to feeling disappointed in someone else’s actions, the parent often feels like they know what other people should do better than they do themselves–and so they tell them how it should be done!
It’s accessed when we feel that someone else has failed to meet our expectations of them.
This can be helpful if it’s used appropriately–for example it might help you see where your partner needs some guidance or support. But if you use the parent ego state too much in your relationship with your partner, then this can cause problems because it will lead to feelings of resentment and anger towards them (because they aren’t meeting your expectations).
The Adult ego state is characterized by fairness, openness to change and optimism.
It’s accessed when we feel that we’re dealing with someone who has taken responsibility for their actions and behaves responsibly.
When you are in the Adult ego state you will feel:
- Fairness – You believe that everyone should be treated equally and fairly. You want to be sure that everyone gets what they deserve or deserves what they get (even if it’s not always fair). If someone is being treated unfairly then this can cause anger or frustration depending on how severe the situation is perceived to be by yourself, or others involved in it. For example, if someone cuts in front of a line of people waiting at a supermarket checkout then this would likely result in some level of annoyance from those behind them because they have been inconvenienced by having extra wait time added onto their experience simply due to poor queue etiquette displayed by another shopper!
The Child ego state is characterized by spontaneity and playfulness.
The Child ego state is accessed when we feel that someone else has taken responsibility for their actions and behaves responsibly. This can be a teacher or boss, but it also happens when you’re dealing with friends and family. The child ego state is characterized by spontaneity and playfulness; the person in this state will be willing to try new things, take risks, and make mistakes without worrying too much about the consequences.
The Child ego state is accessed when we feel that someone else has failed to meet our expectations of them (or at least not met them as often as we’d like). If a friend cancels plans on short notice or your spouse forgets your anniversary, these are good examples of times when accessing your Child might help you deal with disappointment more effectively than accessing other parts of yourself would do.
Understanding other people’s behaviour can help you get along with them better.
TA can be a useful tool for understanding yourself and others. It can also be used to improve relationships, even if your goal isn’t necessarily to change how you or someone else acts or feels in a specific situation, but rather just to make sense of it all.
For example, say there’s someone at work who tends to make snide comments about your ideas behind your back (or right in front of everyone). You might start thinking: “Why does this person think they’re so much better than me?” Or maybe even: “Is there something wrong with me?” These questions lead down an unhelpful path that only makes things worse because they put us on the defensive while also giving us no control over the situations, we do however have control over our own thoughts.
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If you want to understand why someone is behaving in a certain way, it’s important to remember that they aren’t necessarily doing it on purpose. It could be that they’re in one of the three ego states and don’t even know it. By keeping these three personalities in mind when dealing with others, you can help them feel more comfortable around you.
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