Talk:Transactional analysis

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Basic Editing of the Article[edit]

It seems to me that right now the article reads like it was written by a disorganized committee. I am going to rearrange the sections; I believe that at a bare minimum, that this is what is called for.
--NBahn (talk) 23:07, 14 April 2009 (UTC)[reply]

It seems to me that the second "History" section needs some serious reworking.....
--NBahn (talk) 23:17, 14 April 2009 (UTC)[reply]


The animated image at the top says nothing by itself or together with the caption text. Can I suggest a proper caption that explains the animation or moving it down to a section of the article that does? --Apoc2400 (talk) 16:26, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Suggest away!
--NBahn (talk) 18:06, 20 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Ego states[edit]

I had a quick (VERY quick) glance on the section about ego states and I think some differentiation in functional model and structure model is directly needed. Understanding this difference is very important to understand the whole concept of ego states. Maybe I will take care about this issue soon, but I will be happy if someone else did it because I have to finish a thesis at the moment... - MAE —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:05, 10 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Where is the Criticism section?[edit]

On a superficial look through the article, I cannot see any empirical evidence for this construction actually corresponding to reality. Its not too difficult to invent schemas that seem appealling but which are not actually true. (talk) 13:15, 8 February 2010 (UTC)[reply]

My understanding is that the Wikipedia is not the place for opinion and/or debate and/or proof. What evidence do you have that everything in the Wikipedia is required to be real? Sam Tomato (talk) 01:07, 13 May 2017 (UTC)[reply]

I cannot see any empirical evidence for this construction actually corresponding to reality either. I will invent my own theory of drama rectangle and demand a wikipedia article about it. There will be victim, perpetrator, rescuer and bystander. (talk) 02:46, 18 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]

 That sounds a bit like Neuro Linguistic Programming which has an extensive criticism section. TA and NPL seem to resemble each other but there is no criticism section of TA. While I am a big fan of theories of plural intra psychic personae I think the article should include a criticism section, if only to let students realise that they are on somewhat shaky ground. How about, Fay Short, Phil Thomas "Textbook of Counselling and Psychotherapy Core Approaches and Therapies" as well as giving a thorough introduction to TA claim that TA is "often regarded as pseudoscience by its critics" (p 323 [1]). --Timtak (talk) 00:18, 13 October 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Every psycological branch is a pseudo science, so I would be careful to put this as a critic to TA. See Pseudoscience#Psychology Superseve69it (talk) 15:37, 24 June 2016 (UTC)[reply]

that link does not say anything about ψ being pseudoscience. instead it explains (or tries to) what psichological motives might make people belive in pseudoscientific ideas. (talk) 20:19, 19 August 2016 (UTC).[reply]

This has clearly not been resolved and whether the criticism is valid or not their is A LOT of it which deserves acknowledgement in this article. (talk) 15:51, 26 July 2018 (UTC)[reply]

TA is not only post-Freudian but, according to its founder's wishes, consciously extra-Freudian.[edit]

My complaint is about the confusion: post-Freudian and extra-Freudian are pointing to the same link: Freud. As I am researching psychology, I would rather expect them to point to respective (different) pages so I can find out about each of them; or to nothing at all. What's the reason to point to Freud each time, while the ideas are different by definition, and different from the original research? Zb00001 (talk) 04:17, 9 March 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Australian TA group[edit]

I'm not familiar with this topic so the article was my introduction to the material. It references an ego-state refutation by an "Australian TA group" and then later another TA criticism by an "Australian TA analyst". Both citations point to Tony White - his personal blog as well as a published article. As a newcomer, it looks very shady. I have no idea whether or not this analyst or this unnamed TA group is well-known or credible enough to merit their mention. In the history, someone originally noted this "Australian group" as "marginal" but it was scrubbed as being biased.

Can someone who is more knowledgeable about this subject either specifically attribute these criticisms to Tony White and mention he is well-known or credible (I do see he's written books, had awards, etc) if that's the case, or get rid of them? (talk) 23:24, 27 January 2011 (UTC) --anon[reply]


The animation next to the lede is confusing and explains nothing. A simple diagram would be much better here. Maybe the animation could be used later in the article, but I doubt it. -- (talk) 15:10, 30 October 2012 (UTC)[reply]

I agree with you. Lova Falk talk 17:50, 30 October 2012 (UTC)[reply]
I moved it lower in the article. Wiki-psyc (talk) 01:00, 16 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]
It's still highly annoying, and illustrates nothing. It's just an animated version of a book-jacket illustration, an unenlightening dancing hamsters gimmick sans music.
Weeb Dingle (talk) 15:55, 24 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Rewrote introduction[edit]

Transactional analysis (TA to its adherents), is a psychology idea that humans are social creatures and that a person is a multi-faceted being that changes when in contact with another person in their world. It integrates the theories of psychology and psychotherapy because it has elements of psychoanalytic, humanist and cognitive ideas. TA was first developed in the late 1950s by Canadian-born US psychiatrist Eric Berne.[1]

The previous version was more difficult for the average person to understand and did not give a clear definition of what TA is.

Thanks! Thewhitebox (talk) 15:58, 27 September 2014 (UTC)[reply]

I took another pass at it - building on your work.
Transactional analysis' is a psychoanalytic therapy wherein social transactions are analyzed to determine the ego state of the patient (whether parent-like, child-like, or adult-like) as a basis for understanding behavior.[1] In transactional analysis, the patient is taught to alter the ego state as a way to solve emotional problems. The method deviates from Freudian psychoanalysis which focuses on increasing awareness of the contents of unconsciously held ideas. Eric Berne developed the concept and paradigm of transactional analysis in the late 1950s.[2]
Wiki-psyc (talk) 00:42, 16 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Timothy Leary is not the founder of Transactional analysis[edit]

Timothy Leary is not the founder of Transactional analysis and version 678286435 is incorrect.
13:06, 28 August 2015‎ 678286435

These are the most reliable sources:

Wiki-psyc (talk) 00:40, 16 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

For the record, I think I might know from whence this canard arose. Leary once said he proposed a thesis (like ~1956) reviewing interpersonal psychology, and his advisor looked surprised and sneered that "the term is an oxymoron." (Even today, college classes occasionally teach that psychology is of the individual, sociology is of the group, and never the twain etc.) I've never taken it literally, but maybe others have.
Berne credited his Friday-night poker group as being a proving-ground for his developing theories.
Weeb Dingle (talk) 15:36, 24 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Poorly written /disorganized (deleted text copied here)[edit]

This article is really a labor to read.
I rewrote the introduction and history and moved a few things around, but it still needs a lot of work.
13:06, 28 August 2015‎ 678286435
Several mentions of a need for a controversy section should be heeded.
I'm hatting the The "Key Ideas" section here should anyone want to take it on and clean it up.
Wiki-psyc (talk) 01:00, 16 October 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Hatting disorganized, poorly written, poorly cited
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Key ideas[edit]

There is no "universal" ego state. For example, each Child ego state is unique to the childhood experiences, mentality, intellect, and family of each individual; it is not a generalized childlike state.

One ego state can become contaminated from another ego state. For example, when a person mistakes Parental rules and slogans for here-and-now Adult reality (the Adult ego state has become contaminated with the Parent), and when beliefs are taken as facts (the Adult ego state has become contaminated with the Child). Or when a person 'knows' that everyone is laughing at him because 'they always laughed'. This would be an example of a childhood contamination (a Child contamination of the Adult), as here-and-now reality is being overlaid with memories of historic incidents in childhood.

Ego-state symbiosis is also possible according to Berne.[2] In a symbiotic relationship, one participant borrows an ego state from the other participant and incorporates it into his or her personality. For instance, soldiers may absolve themselves of the question of the morality of their actions by deferring to their superiors. In this case, the soldier has incorporated the superior's Parent ego state into his own persona (e.g. Banality of evil).

Although TA theory claims that ego states do not correspond directly to thinking, feeling, and judging, as these processes are present in every ego state, this claim appears to be self-contradictory to the claim that the Adult is like a computer processing information, therefore not feeling unless it is contaminated by the Child. A deeper understanding of TA is necessary in order to resolve this paradox. For example, Berne discusses[3] how each ego state (Parent, Adult, and Child) can be perceived to be a further division of Parent-Adult-Child within the ego state itself.[3] 'Born to Win' discusses how one of the goals of TA is to achieve integration of the other ego states into the Adult (an integrated Adult ego state) so that the awareness of the entire persona is elevated to the level of the Adult's perception of reality.[4]

Berne suspected that Parent, Adult, and Child ego states might be tied to specific areas of the human brain; an idea that has not been proven.[5]

The three ego-state model has been questioned by a TA group in Australia, who have devised a two ego-state model as a means of solving perceived theoretical problems:

"The two ego-state model says that there is a Child ego state and a Parent ego state, placing the Adult ego state with the Parent ego state. [...] How we learn to speak, add up and learn how to think is all just copied from our teachers, just as our morals and values are copied from our parents. There is no absolute truth where facts exist outside a person's own belief system. Berne mistakenly concluded that there was and thus mistakenly put the Adult ego state as separate from the Parent ego state."[6][7] It is not clear, however, whether the concept of a learned perception of reality is counter-indicative to Berne's theory of identifiably separate modes of rational and moral thought.

Transactions and strokes

  • 'Transactions' are the flow of communication, and more specifically the unspoken psychological flow of communication that runs parallel to spoken communication. Transactions occur simultaneously at both explicit and psychological levels. An example would be a sentence spoken in a sweet caring voice but with sarcastic intent. To read the real communication requires both surface and non-verbal reading.
  • 'Strokes' are the recognition, attention or responsiveness that one person gives another. Strokes can be positive (nicknamed "warm fuzzies"[8]) or negative ("cold pricklies"). A key idea is that people hunger for recognition, and that lacking positive strokes, will seek whatever kind of recognition they can get, even if it is recognition of a negative kind. We test out as children what strategies and behaviours seem to get us strokes, of whatever kind we can get.

People often create pressure in (or experience pressure from) others to communicate in a way that matches their style, so that a boss who talks to his staff as a controlling parent will often engender self-abasement or other childlike responses. Those employees who resist may be removed or labelled as trouble-makers.

Transactions can be experienced as positive or negative, depending on the nature of the strokes within them. However, a negative transaction is often preferred to no transaction at all, because of a fundamental hunger for 'strokes'.

The nature of transactions is important to understanding communication.

Kinds of transactions There are basically three kinds of transactions:

  1. Reciprocal/Complementary (the simplest)
  2. Crossed
  3. Ulterior – Duplex/Angular (the most complex)

Reciprocal or complementary transactions A simple reciprocal transaction occurs when both partners are addressing the ego state the other is in. These are also called complementary transactions. Example 1:

A: 'Have you written the report?' (Adult to Adult)
B: 'Yes - I'm about to email it to you.' (Adult to Adult)

Example 2:

A: 'Would you like to skip this meeting and go watch a film with me instead?' (Child to Child)
B: 'I'd love to - I don't want to work any more. What should we go and see?' (Child to Child)

Example 3:

A: 'You should have your room tidy by now!' (Parent to Child)
B: 'Will you stop hassling me? I'll do it eventually!' (Child to Parent)

Communication like this can continue indefinitely. Clearly it will stop at some stage, but this psychologically balanced exchange of strokes can continue for some time.

Crossed transactions Communication failures are typically caused by a 'crossed transaction' where partners address ego states other than the one their partner is in. Consider these examples.

Example 1a:

A: 'Have you written that report?' (Adult to Adult)
B: 'Will you stop hassling me? I'll do it eventually!' (Child to Parent)

This is a crossed transaction likely to produce problems in the workplace. 'A' may respond with a Parent-to-Child transaction; for instance:

A: 'If you don't change your attitude, you'll get fired.'

Example 2a:

A: '"Is your room tidy yet?' (Parent to Child)
B: 'I'm just going to do it, actually.' (Adult to Adult)

This is a more positive crossed transaction. There is, however, the risk that 'A' will feel aggrieved that 'B' is acting responsibly and not playing their expected role, and the conversation will develop into:

A: 'I can never trust you to do things!' (Parent to Child)
B: 'Why don't you believe anything I say?' (Child to Parent)

This can also continue indefinitely.

Ulterior transactions Another class of transaction is the ulterior transaction, where the explicit social conversation occurs in parallel with an implicit psychological transaction; for instance:

A: 'I need you to stay late at the office with me.' (Adult words), body language indicates sexual intent (flirtatious Child)
B: 'Of course.' (Adult response to Adult statement), winking or grinning (Child accepts the hidden motive).

Phenomena behind the transactions

Life positions In TA theory, 'Life Position' refers to the general attitude about life (specifically the subconscious feeling as opposed to a conscious philosophical position) that colours every dyadic (i.e., person-to-person) transaction. Initially four such Life Positions were proposed:

  1. I'm not OK, You're OK (I-U+)
  2. I'm not OK, You're not OK (I-U-)
  3. I'm OK, You're not OK (I+U-)
  4. I'm OK, You're OK (I+U+)

Berne further developed life-position theory to include more complex three-cornered life positions such as:

  1. I'm OK, You're OK, They're not OK

In children, responses such as 'Let's go and play and then we'll deal with those not-OK people later' may be expected from this position, whereas in adults this position may lead to gang criminality.

Life (or childhood) script

  • Script is a life plan, directed to a reward.[9]
  • Script is decisional and responsive; i.e., decided upon in childhood in response to perceptions of the world and as a means of living with and making sense of the world. It is not just thrust upon a person by external forces.
  • Script is reinforced by parents (or other influential figures and experiences).
  • Script is for the most part outside awareness.
  • Script is how we navigate and what we look for, the rest of reality is redefined (distorted) to match our filters.

Each culture, country and people in the world has a Mythos, that is, a legend explaining its origins, core beliefs and purpose. According to TA, so do individual people. A person begins writing his/her own life story (script) at a young age, as he/she tries to make sense of the world and his place within it. Although it is revised throughout life, the core story is selected and decided upon typically by age 7. As adults it passes out of awareness. A life script might be "to be hurt many times, and suffer and make others feel bad when I die", and could result in a person indeed setting himself up for this, by adopting behaviours in childhood that produce exactly this effect. Though Berne identified several dozen common scripts, there are a practically infinite number of them. Scripts discussed in psychotherapy are mostly destructive as the patient's script is psychopathological, however scripts may just as easily be mostly positive or beneficial.[10]

Redefining and discounting

  • Redefining means the distortion of reality when we deliberately (but unconsciously) distort things to match our preferred way of seeing the world. Thus a person whose script involves "struggling alone against a cold hard world" may redefine others' kindness, concluding that others are trying to get something by manipulation.
  • Discounting means, to take something as, worth less than it is. Thus to give a substitute reaction which does not originate as a here-and-now Adult attempt to solve an actual problem, or to choose not to see evidence that would contradict one's script. Types of discount can also include: passivity (doing nothing), over-adaptation, agitation, incapacitation, anger and violence.

Injunctions and drivers TA identifies twelve key injunctions which people commonly build into their scripts. These are injunctions in the sense of being powerful "I can't/mustn't ..." messages that embed into a child's belief and life-script:

  • Don't be (will not exist)
  • Don't be who you are (Don't Be You)
  • Don't be a child
  • Don't grow up
  • Don't make it in your life (Don't Succeed)
  • Don't do anything!
  • Don't be important
  • Don't belong
  • Don't be close
  • Don't be well (don't be sane!)
  • Don't think
  • Don't feel.
In addition, there is the so-called episcript:
"You should (or deserve to) have this happen in your life, so it doesn't have to happen to me." (Magical thinking on the part of the parent(s).)

Against these, a child is often told other things he or she must do. There is debate as to whether there are five or six of these 'drivers':

  • Please me/others!
  • Be perfect!
  • Be Strong!
  • Try Hard!
  • Hurry Up!
  • Be Careful! (is in dispute)

Thus in creating his script, a child will often attempt to juggle these, example: "It's okay for me to go on living (ignore don't exist) so long as I try hard".

This explains why some change is inordinately difficult. To continue the above example: When a person stops trying hard and relaxes to be with his family, the injunction You don't have the right to exist which was being suppressed by their script now becomes exposed and a vivid threat. Such an individual may feel a massive psychological pressure which he himself doesn't understand, to return to trying hard, in order to feel safe and justified (in a childlike way) in existing.

Driver behaviour is also detectable at a very small scale, for instance in instinctive responses to certain situations where driver behaviour is played out over five to twenty seconds.

Broadly speaking, scripts can fall into Tragic, Heroic or Banal (or Non-Winner) varieties, depending on their rules.

Ways of time structuring There are six ways of structuring time by giving and receiving strokes:

  1. Withdrawal
  2. Ritual
  3. Pastimes
  4. Activity
  5. Games
  6. Intimacy

This is sorted in accordance with stroke strength; Intimacy and Games in general allow for the most intensive strokes. Berne actually ordered them: Withdrawal, Ritual, Activity, Pastimes, Games, Intimacy.

Withdrawal This means no strokes are being exchanged

Rituals A ritual is a series of transactions that are complementary (reciprocal), stereotyped and based on social programming. Rituals usually comprise a series of strokes exchanged between two parties.

For instance, two people may have a daily two stroke ritual, where, the first time they meet each day, each one greets the other with a "Hi". Others may have a four stroke ritual, such as:

A: Hi!

B: Hi! How are you?

A: Getting along. What about you?

B: Fine. See you around.

The next time they meet in the day, they may not exchange any strokes at all, or may just acknowledge each other's presence with a curt nod.

Some phenomena associated with daily rituals:

  • If a person exchanges fewer strokes than expected, the other person may feel that he is either preoccupied or acting high and mighty.
  • If a person exchanges more strokes than expected, the other person might wonder whether he is trying to butter him up or get on good terms for some vested interests.
  • If two people do not meet for a long time, a backlog of strokes gets built up, so that the next time they meet, they may exchange a large number of strokes to catch up.

Pastimes A pastime is a series of transactions that is complementary (reciprocal), semi-ritualistic, and is mainly intended as a time-structuring activity. Pastimes have no covert purpose and can usually be carried out only between people on the same wavelength. They are usually shallow and harmless. Pastimes are a type of smalltalk.

Individuals often partake in similar pastimes throughout their entire life, as pastimes are generally very much linked to one's life script and the games that one often plays. Some pastimes can even be understood as a reward for playing a certain game. For example, Eric Berne in Games People Play discusses how those who play the "Alcoholic" game (i.e., alcoholics, their Persecutors and their enablers) often enjoy the "Morning After" pastime in which participants share their most amusing or harrowing hangover stories.

Activities (work) Activities in this context mean the individuals work together for a common goal. This may be work, sports or something similar. In contrast to Pastimes, there is a meaningful purpose guiding the interactions, while Pastimes are just about exchanging strokes. Strokes can then be given in the context of the cooperation. Thus the strokes are generally not personal, but related to the activity.


Intimacy Intimacy as a way of structuring time allows one to exchange the strongest strokes without playing a Game. Intimacy differs from Games as there is no covert purpose, and differs from Activities as there is no other process going on which defines a context of cooperation. Strokes are personal, relating to the other person, and often unconditional.

Games and their analysis

Definition of game A game[11] is a series of transactions that is complementary (reciprocal), ulterior, and proceeds towards a predictable outcome. Games are always characterized by a switch in roles of players towards the end. Games are always played by Parent and Child ego states, and games can have any number of players; however, an individual's role can shift, and people within games can play multiple roles. If a person uses their Adult in a game then this would be a manoeuvre and not a game on the part of the person using their Adult ego state. Adult functioning is conscious. Game playing is out of awareness.

Berne identified dozens of games, noting that, regardless of when, where or by whom they were played, each game tended towards very similar structures in how many players or roles were involved, the rules of the game, and the game's goals.

Each game has a payoff for those playing it, such as the aim of earning sympathy, satisfaction, vindication, or some other emotion that usually reinforces the life script. The antithesis of a game, that is, the way to break it, lies in discovering how to deprive the actors of their payoff.

Students of transactional analysis have discovered that people who are accustomed to a game are willing to play it even as a different "actor" from what they originally were.

Analysis of a game One important aspect of a game is its number of players. Games may be two handed (that is, played by two players), three handed (that is, played by three players), or many handed. Three other quantitative variables are often useful to consider for games:

  • Flexibility: The ability of the players to change the currency of the game (that is, the tools they use to play it). In a flexible game, players may shift from words, to money, to parts of the body.
  • Tenacity: The persistence with which people play and stick to their games and their resistance to breaking it.
  • Intensity: Easy games are games played in a relaxed way. Hard games are games played in a tense and aggressive way.

Based on the degree of acceptability and potential harm, games are classified as:

  • First Degree Games are socially acceptable in the players' social circle.
  • Second Degree Games are games that the players would like to conceal, though they may not cause irreversible damage.
  • Third Degree Games are games that could lead to drastic harm to one or more of the parties concerned.

Games are also studied based on their:

  • Aim
  • Roles
  • Social and Psychological Paradigms
  • Dynamics
  • Advantages to players (Payoffs)

Contrast with rational (mathematical) games Transactional game analysis is fundamentally different from rational or mathematical game analysis in the following senses:

  • The players do not always behave rationally in transactional analysis, but behave more like real people.
  • Their motives are often ulterior.

Some commonly found games Here are some of the most commonly found themes of games described in Games People Play by Eric Berne:

  • YDYB: Why Don't You, Yes But. Historically, the first game discovered.
  • IFWY: If It Weren't For You
  • WAHM: Why does this Always Happen to Me? (setting up a self-fulfilling prophecy)
  • SWYMD: See What You Made Me Do
  • UGMIT: You Got Me Into This
  • LHIT: Look How Hard I've Tried
  • ITHY: I'm Only Trying to Help You (becoming a neglected martyr)
  • LYAHF: Let's You and Him Fight (staging a love triangle)
  • NIGYYSOB / NIGYSOB: Now I've Got You, You Son Of a Bitch (escalating minor disagreements or errors into major interpersonal conflicts)
  • RAPO: A woman falsely cries 'rape' or threatens to; related to Buzz Off Buster, a milder version in which a woman flirts with a man and then rejects his advances

Berne argued that the logic of games is wholly subjective; one person's Parent state might interact with another's Child, rather than as Adult to Adult.

Games can also be analysed according to the Karpman drama triangle, that is, by the roles of Persecutor, Victim and Rescuer. The 'switch' is then when one of these having allowed stable roles to become established, suddenly switches role. The Victim becomes a Persecutor, and throws the previous Persecutor into the Victim role, or the Rescuer suddenly switches to become a Persecutor ("You never appreciate me helping you!").

Why Don't You/Yes But The first such game theorized was Why don't you/Yes, but in which one player (White) would pose a problem as if seeking help, and the other player(s) (Black) would offer solutions (the "Why don't you?" suggestion). This game was noticed as many patients played it in therapy and psychiatry sessions, and inspired Berne to identify other interpersonal "games".

White would point out a flaw in every Black player's solution (the "Yes, but" response), until they all gave up in frustration. For example, if someone's life script was "to be hurt many times, and suffer and make others feel bad when I die" a game of "Why Don't You, Yes But" might proceed as follows:

White: I wish I could lose some weight.
Black: Why don't you join a gym?
White: Yes but, I can't afford the payments for a gym.
Black: Why don't you speed walk around your block after you get home from work?
White: Yes but, I don't dare walk alone in my neighborhood after dark.
Black: Why don't you take the stairs at work instead of the elevator?

"Why Don't You, Yes But" can proceed indefinitely, with any number of players in the Black role, until Black's imagination is exhausted, and she can think of no other solutions. At this point, White "wins" by having stumped Black. After a silent pause following Black's final suggestion, the game is often brought to a formal end by a third role, Green, who makes a comment such as, "It just goes to show how difficult it is to lose weight."

The secondary gain for White was that he could claim to have justified his problem as insoluble and thus avoid the hard work of internal change; and for Black, to either feel the frustrated martyr ("I was only trying to help") or a superior being, disrespected ("the patient was uncooperative").

Superficially, this game can resemble Adult to Adult interaction (people seeking information or advice), but more often, according to Berne, the game is played by White's helpless Child, and Black's lecturing Parent ego states.

' "Drunk" or "Alcoholic"'

Another example of Berne's approach was his identification of the game of "Drunk" or "Alcoholic." As he explained it, the transactional object of the drunk, aside from the personal pleasure obtained by drinking, could be seen as being to set up a situation where the Child can be severely scolded not only by the internal parent but by any parental figures in the immediate environment who are interested enough to oblige. The pattern is shown to be similar to that in the non-alcoholic game "Schlemiel," in which mess-making attracts attention and is a pleasure-giving way for White to lead up to the crux, which is obtaining forgiveness by Black.

There are a variety of organizations involved in playing 'Alcoholic’, some of them national or even international in scope, others local.[citation needed] Many of them publish rules for the game. Nearly all of them explain how to play the role of Alcoholic: take a drink before breakfast, spend money allotted for other purposes, etc. They also explain the function of the Rescuer role in the game. Alcoholics Anonymous, Berne said, continues playing the actual game but concentrates on inducing the Alcoholic to take the role of Rescuer. Former Alcoholics are preferred because they know how the game goes, and hence are better qualified to play the supporting role of Rescuer than people who have never played before.

According to this type of analysis, with the rise of rescue organizations that publicize alcoholism as a disease rather than a transactional game, alcoholics have been taught to play "Wooden Leg", a different game in which an organic ailment absolves White of blame.[12]

Rackets A racket is the dual strategy of getting "permitted feelings," while covering up feelings which we truly feel, but which we regard as being "not allowed". More technically, a racket feeling is "a familiar set of emotions, learned and enhanced during childhood, experienced in many different stress situations, and maladaptive as an adult means of problem solving".

A racket is then a set of behaviours which originate from the childhood script rather than in here-and-now full Adult thinking, which (1) are employed as a way to manipulate the environment to match the script rather than to actually solve the problem, and (2) whose covert goal is not so much to solve the problem, as to experience these racket feelings and feel internally justified in experiencing them.

Examples of racket and racket feelings: "Why do I meet good guys who turn out to be so hurtful", or "He always takes advantage of my goodwill". The racket is then a set of behaviours and chosen strategies learned and practised in childhood which in fact help to cause these feelings to be experienced. Typically this happens despite their own surface protestations and hurt feelings, out of awareness and in a way that is perceived as someone else's fault. One covert pay-off for this racket and its feelings, might be to gain in a guilt free way, continued evidence and reinforcement for a childhood script belief that "People will always let you down".


  1. ^ Transactional Analysis, Direct Counseling.
  2. ^ Games People Play, p. 134; Culture change, mental health and poverty, p. 115
  3. ^ a b Transactional Analysis in Psychotherapy, Chapter 17, Advanced Structural Analysis
  4. ^ Born to Win, p. 269
  5. ^ SkepticReport * The Etiology of a Social Epidemic
  6. ^ Tony White: Graffiti : Two ego state model
  7. ^ Tony White’s Weblog » Blog Archive » THE TWO EGO STATE MODEL
  8. ^ The terms "warm fuzzy" and "cold prickly" originate in A Warm Fuzzy Tale, by Claude Steiner.
  9. ^ Stewart & Joines, p.100
  10. ^ Games People Play, Chapter 12, Good Games
  11. ^ Stewart and Joines, pp. 241-2 et passim
  12. ^ Eric Berne, Games People Play, pp. 73-81.

Proposed merge with International Transactional Analysis Association[edit]

No significant content Rathfelder (talk) 11:37, 22 May 2016 (UTC)[reply]

well, it never occured me to search for "International Transactional Analysis Association" (i wasnt aware of its existence in the first place) while i wanted to find out more about transactional analysis as a ψ idea/model. so in case a merger would be decided, i suggest to have a redirect as well, so that a search for TA would still result in finding the same content, even if under a different title. (talk) 20:48, 17 August 2016 (UTC).[reply]
There's no article for it to merge with at all. It's a redlink and nothing more. Challenger l (talk) 22:26, 10 February 2017 (UTC)[reply]
I just created redirects to Transactional analysis from the following:
All are listed at (See Eric Berne).
None are reasonable targets for a merge, but some or all may become stand-alone articles at some point. --Guy Macon (talk) 16:37, 24 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]

overdue for editing[edit]

It's poorly organized, and prone to "ride off in all directions."

First to go will be the History ==> Fifty years later subsection, as (ironically perhaps) it has been waiting more than a decade for even one supporting ref to appear.

The section explaining PAC is a short course in TA, clear overkill for encyclopedic purposes, and calls out to only one supporting source — at that, little more than a glancing afterthought. I estimate half the section could be cut.
Weeb Dingle (talk) 16:52, 24 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]