Transactional Analysis (TA) was an empirical approach to transactions in a conversational exchange, with the aim of equipping participants with the means to identify and avoid conversations that defeated the aims of one or both participants, which Berne called “games”. It was based on a Human view of the self and a behaviorist view of conditioning.
In the 1950’s Eric Berne began to develop his theories of Transactional Analysis. He said that verbal communication, particularly face to face, is at the centre of human social relationships and psychoanalysis.
His starting-point was that when two people encounter each other, one of them will speak to the other. This he called the Transaction Stimulus. The reaction from the other person he called the Transaction Response.
The person sending the Stimulus is called the Agent. The person who responds is called the Respondent.
Transactional Analysis became the method of examining the transaction wherein: ‘I do something to you, and you do something back’.
Berne also said that each person is made up of three alter ego states:
These terms have different definitions than in normal language.
This is our ingrained voice of authority, absorbed conditioning, learning and attitudes from when we were young. We were conditioned by our real parents, teachers, older people, next door neighbours, aunts and uncles, Father Christmas and Jack Frost. Our Parent is made up of a huge number of hidden and overt recorded playbacks. Typically embodied by phrases and attitudes starting with ‘how to’, ‘under no circumstances’, ‘always’ and ‘never forget’, ‘don’t lie, cheat, steal’, etc, etc. Our parent is formed by external events and influences upon us as we grow through early childhood. We can change it, but this is easier said than done.
Our internal reaction and feelings to external events form the ‘Child’. This is the seeing, hearing, feeling, and emotional body of data within each of us. When anger or despair dominates reason, the Child is in control. Like our Parent we can change it, but it is no easier.
Our ‘Adult’ is our ability to think and determine action for ourselves, based on received data. The adult in us begins to form at around ten months old, and is the means by which we keep our Parent and Child under control. If we are to change our Parent or Child we must do so through our adult.
In other words:
- Parent is our ‘Taught’ concept of life
- Adult is our ‘Thought’ concept of life
- Child is our ‘Felt’ concept of life
A commentary by ‘Osho’ on a part of Buddha’s teachings using PAC transactional analysis as a means of explaining the ordinary human condition.
‘The Buddha Said…’ By Osho, Pg. 42.