Transactional Analysis is based on the belief that we have three states of communication – Parent, Adult, and Child. It is believed that we use one of these three states when we communicate with others, and when we communicate with ourselves as well, from a mental perspective.
This theory was actually developed by Eric Berne in the 1950’s, and is often referred to in psychological circles as TA. While our communication comes from one of these states – according to the theory – it is actually our psyche that is exists or operates from these states. TA has been used in the past, in therapy and in various psychological settings, but it is being utilized more often today.
When we communicate or even think from the parent state, the speech and thought is authoritative. We generally are not asking, we are instructing or ordering when the parent state is in operation. Additionally, there are two types of the parent state – the critical parent state and the nurturing parent state.
The adult state of TA is actually the state that we want to use most often. It operates based on logic and reasoning, and is neither authoritative or judgmental, or childish in nature. In short, the adult state is the happy medium that we all need to strive for in communication with ourselves and with others.
As you can imagine, the child state leads us to say and think things that a child might say and think. We become very immature in various situations, and logic and reasoning have no role in the child state.
TA is used when we have problems effectively communicating with others or ourselves because during the communication transaction – the exchange of words or thoughts – we are operating on different states. For example, during a conversation with your boss, he is operating from the parent state, and you are operating from the child state. This often causes feelings that we don’t want, and through TA, you can learn to always operate from the adult state, and learn how to deal with the situation when someone else is operating with the parent or child state.