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Transactional Analysis

Transactional Analysis (Learning theory)
by

Tom Barrett

on 25 July 2013

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Transcript of Transactional Analysis

Transactional Analysis What is it? Transactional analysis is a learning theory that looks at three major topics; "Transactions" (interactions) between people The "life positions" (psychological well-being) of people involved in the transaction The "states" (roles) of people involved in the transaction States This theory proposes that participants in a transaction take on one of three "states"; these states are 'roles' that participants utilise to communicate. These states are based on Sigmund Freud's concepts of Id, Ego, and Super-ego.

The transactional analysis states tend to be more beneficial in an educational context as they are more observable than Freud's states. The Three States Parent Adult Child This is a state where the behaviours or strategies a parent (or influential adult figure) exhibit are copied. This is a state that focuses on exhibiting behaviours utilised during childhood. This state is also strongly linked to emotional responses and 'base desires' This state is rooted in reality and supposedly outside of emotion. Potentially this state provides a higher capacity to work towards a particular goal. Transactional analysis often tends to focus on strengthening this state. Note: There also exists sub-divisions of each state e.g. parent can be split into "critical" and "nurturing" Transactions Transactions simply refer to communication exchanges (conversations) It is important to note that transactions can also include any body language or 'non-verbal' cues. For example, we might explain a concept again to a student and see this as being kind. However, if we sigh while doing so or use a sarcastic tone this changes the nature of the exchange. There are three major paradigms that transactions fall under. Reciprocal Crossed Ulterior States Reciprocal transactions are when transaction partners compliment each other's current state The states could be described as being 'matching' states Example 1 A: "Stop talking and do your work!" (Parent to Child) B: "I wasn't! Leave me alone!" (Child to Parent) 'A' takes on a Parent state and assigns 'B' a Child state. 'B' accepts this Child state and in return responds as though 'A' is in a Parent state. Example 2 A: "Could you finish your coursework by tomorrow?" (Adult to Adult) B: "Yes, I'll email it to you in the morning." (Adult to Adult) Both 'A' and 'B' take on an Adult state and address each other as being in this state. This is perhaps the most desirable transaction to us as teachers, as it leads to the most co-operation between teacher and learner or learners and other learners. This may be seen as an undesirable transaction due to the cyclic nature this kind of regular transaction can lead to; ultimately impeding progress.
However, sometimes this transaction may be needed for behavioural issues? This refers to transactions where someone is addressed outside of their current or expected state and typically this is where communication may break down or become difficult.

This transaction could also refer to a situation when someone behaves differently from the role/state they have been 'assigned' by the other person. Example 1 A: "Will you pass me the book?" (Adult to Adult) B: "I'm busy, leave me alone!" (Child to Parent) 'A' addresses 'B' as an Adult speaking to an Adult. However, 'B' contradicts this instead taking on a Child state and assigning 'A' a Parent state. Example 2 A: "Stop talking and do your work!" (Parent to Child) B: "I'm sorry, I was just discussing it with Claire." (Adult to Adult) 'B' does not take on the Child state assigned to them by 'A' and instead utilises an Adult to Adult mode of address. This could be seen as positive as 'B' has 'elevated' himself/herself out of the Child state.
However, speakers in a transaction can often become annoyed when their partner refuses to accept their assigned role. Ulterior transactions are when transactions are performed with a hidden 'sub-text' or hidden agenda. These transactions may often rely on 'non-verbal' or body language cues mentioned earlier. Example A: "We could do some work...in the pub"
(Adult to Adult, hidden Child) B: "Does the pub have computers?"
(Adult to Adult, hidden Parent) Both speakers utilise a reciprocal transaction on a surface level; both taking on an Adult state and assigning the other an Adult state. However, 'A' covertly suggests not doing any work (hidden Child) while 'B', to perhaps not insult 'A', doesn't directly take on a Parent state; instead they merely suggest they won't get any work done in the pub (hidden Parent). Strokes are the responses/attention that we get from transactions and can be categorised as positive and negative.









Positive Strokes are preferred but in absence of these, negative Strokes may be sought. This is due to the innate desire we have for Strokes as human beings. Strokes Life Positions These are the general attitudes about life a person may have and underpin the transactions that take place. Ultimately these life positions are a simple way to categorise how people feel about themselves and others. I'm OK, you're OK
I'm OK, you're not OK
I'm not OK, you're OK
I'm not OK, you're not OK There are 4 major life positions; Injunctions Injunctions are powerful personal beliefs that become engrained and can become barriers; Don't be (don't exist)
Don't be who you are (don't be you)
Don't be a child
Don't grow up
Don't succeed
Don't do anything
Don't be important
Don't belong
Don't be close
Don't be well
Don't think
Don't feel Drivers Drivers are 'musts' normally engrained during childhood Please me/others!
Be perfect!
Be strong!
Try hard!
Hurry up!
Be careful! Drivers will often be 'juggled' alongside Injunctions. For example; "I can be who I really am - if I'm perfect."
Others may simply conflict e.g. "Hurry up!" and "Don't grow up"
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