These pages are intended to offer basic introductory information about a few, but not all, of the concepts developed within Transactional Analysis. They do not form a substitute for undertaking TA training in one of the four fields of TA: organisational, psychotherapy, educational, and counselling. To become Certified as a Transactional Analyst in one of the fields, takes around five years and to become Teaching & Supervising Transactional Analyst takes an average of a further five years. However, TA concepts are used on an everyday basis for personal and professional development.

Transactional Analysis was developed by Dr. Eric Berne in the 1950's. Originally trained in psychoanalysis, Berne wanted a theory which could be understood and available to everyone. He developed a model that is a social psychology and a theory of personality. It outlines how we have developed into who we are, how we relate and communicate with others and offers suggestions and interventions which will enable us to change and grow. The underlying philosophy of TA is one of self-respect, mutual respect and caring and which is underpinned by the belief that: 

  • people can change 
  • we all have a right to be in the world and be accepted 

Once slighted as a simplistic model, TA is now gathering worldwide attention. It originally suffered much from the popularised writings in the 1960’s. Also, summarised explanations, such as this, which can necessarily only touch briefly on some of the concepts in TA, led some readers to believe that there was very little to the theory. Many did not realise how long and complex TA training is. However, more and more people are taking the 4 / 5 year part-time training courses to qualify and, increasingly, universities are accrediting these courses for masters degrees. Today there is greater understanding of TA and it is a truly international theory relating to a diverse range of cultures. Theoretical concepts within the TA world are constantly being challenged and developed making it a rich dynamic process. Therefore TA continues to develop and change, paralleling the processes we encourage in ourselves and others.

This brief introduction to some of the concepts of Transactional Analysis ("TA") will hopefully help the complete newcomer to the approach to gain a broad idea of its main concepts. Organisational consulting based on TA is a contractual approach. Consultants teach understanding and skills in communication and problem solving in organisational life. TA consultants are trained to have insight into group dynamics - how groups work.