Transactional Analysis Nature, Objectives, Benefits and Limitations

Table of Content:-

  1. Meaning of Transactional Analysis
  2. Definition of Transactional Analysis
  3. Nature of Transactional Analysis
  4. Objectives of Transactional Analysis
  5. Benefits of Transactional Analysis
  6. Limitations of Transactional Analysis

Meaning of Transactional Analysis

In 1950, Eric Berne developed a socio-psychological concept termed transactional analysis. Since then, the theory of Erie Berne has been applied in the fields of psychotherapy, counselling, education, and organisational development. The major objective of transactional analysis is to help people understand how to communicate with others so that their relationships with others can be improved.

Transactional analysis plays an important role in analysing and understanding one’s behaviour as well as the behaviour of others. It guides people on how to develop themselves and interact with others. It also provides various ideas that help an individual to change his behaviour which ultimately results in the growth of an individual.

Definition of Transactional Analysis

According to Eric Berne, “Transactional analysis is a theory of personality and social action and a clinical method of psychotherapy, based on the analysis of all possible transactions between two or more people, based on specifically defined ego states into a finite number of established types”.

Nature of Transactional Analysis

The nature of transactional analysis can be described as follows:

1) TA is an integrated concept because it blends the theory of development and practice of socio-psychology. This theory encloses fundamental concepts associated with Freudianism and brain research. TA explains relationships within the mind and between individuals

2) TA is problem-focused as well as goal-focused. The objectives of change under TA are independence (freedom from childhood script), impulsiveness, closeness and problem-solving

3) TA is an extremely important and interesting technique that helps individuals understand self as well as others’ behaviour. It assists people in determining the influence of behavioural styles on interpersonal relationships. Transactional analysis is a behavioural approach which helps in improving communication among people. During training and development, TA can be used to determine the skills of people.

Objectives of Transactional Analysis

Objectives of TA are as follows:

1) To help people understand how to effectively communicate with each other so that their communication skills can be improved.

2) To identify various transactional stages that people engage in during communication.

3) To determine the ego states to which people belong.

Benefits of Transactional Analysis

The benefits of transactional analysis can be summarised as follows:

1) Executive Development

It helps in enhancing the skills of managers so that they can tackle the problems faced by employees more efficiently. However, TA cannot provide solutions for all human-related issues faced by the organisations.

2) Counselling

Transactional analysis is used by counsellors to resolve problems. Counselling emphasises developing productive solutions to problems. Transactional analysis helps counsellors in developing safe and harmonious relationships with their clients. This relationship helps clients to enhance their quality of work life.

3) Organisation Development

Transactional analysis assists in the organisational development process. Organisational development specialists utilise TA concepts for developing policies to fulfil specific organisational needs and developing practical relations with others. It also helps in removing defective behaviours and evaluating the entire organisation.

Jongeward has defined the functions of TA in the following areas of organisational development:

  1. To retain adult-adult transactions,
  2. To provide an OK response to the natural child,
  3. To speedily recognise the crossed transactions,
  4. To decrease negative game-playing,
  5. To make the best use of familiarity, and
  6. To build up encouraging systems, strategies, and working environment.

4) Conflict Resolution

TA and conflict resolution techniques are naturally related to each other. For example, a parent’s ego state focuses on utilising a forcing strategy, whereas a child’s ego state focuses on avoiding strategy. People belonging to the “I am O.K., you are O.K.” life position generally prefer those strategies in which both parties are happy with the solution, and they adopt the adult ego state. The relation among various sets of behavioural facts and activities is distinct.

Other possible relations are shown in the table given below:

Table: Possible links of life positions with conflict resolution techniques and behaviour

Life PositionConflict Resolution TechniquesPossible Behaviour
I am not OK – you are not OKAvoidanceNon-assertiveness
I am not OK – you are OKSmoothingNon-assertiveness
I am OK – you are not OKForcingAggressiveness
I am OK – you are OKConfrontingAssertiveness

5) Interpersonal Effectiveness

TA helps people to understand various ego states which ultimately enhance their relationships. Using TA, managers can easily identify the ego states of people who are involved in a particular communication. When a person can understand himself as well as others, he becomes more efficient, self-assured and self-confident. Hence, the organisation becomes more effective with better interpersonal relationships and understanding.

6) Diagnosis and Treatment of Psychological Disorders

Various kinds of psychological disorders can be analysed and cured with the help of TA. It offers healing methods for everyone, in individuals, groups, families, and couples. TA explains the psychological structure of people. For this purpose, it uses one of the best-known models, i.e., the ego-state (Parent-Adult-Child) model. This model assists in realising how people perform their functions and convey their behaviours to others. It also brings forward the concept of “Life Script”, i.e., a story that an individual forms about his life to find out the answers to questions like “How do I move forward in life?” and “What type of person am I”. So, TA provides a theory of psychopathology.

7) Education

Educators utilise basic concepts of transactional analysis to help their students understand their behaviour as well as the behaviour of others. Both undergraduates and postgraduates can learn more effective methods of communication and mutual attention through TA. Fundamental concepts of transactional analysis are used by educators to create a universal understanding of personality. Working of TA is applicable in different areas of learning and brings together various learning practices

8) Leadership

Managers generally restrict their choice of leadership style when they interact through a single ego state. For example, a person having a dominant parent ego will adopt an autocratic style. Free-rein style can be applied if the child state is leading. But, when there is a supervisor who feels “I am OK-You are OK” and has attained a fully grown adult state, he will first gather information before choosing a leadership style. The style being selected by the adult state will give flexibility to employees to take part in decision making activities.

Limitations of Transactional Analysis

Limitations of transactional analysis are as follows:

1) Promotes Amateur Psychologising

TA promotes “amateur psychologising” when used with insufficient training. Jargons associated with TA may provide less information to handle human beings.

2) Complex to Understand

Practically, it is not easy for less educated people to understand the concept of ego states and transactions.

3) Method of Manipulation

TA is a critical statement in interpersonal relations. Certain persons could use this method to influence the behaviour of others as in the case of hidden transactions.

4) Not Supported by Scientific Findings

The efficiency of transactional analysis is not much supported and accepted by scientific studies.

Therefore, the TA should be used carefully. Executives should first gain knowledge about this method and then should be practised to handle workers efficiently.

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