Transactional Analysis

Another therapeutic tool we use at Lanna is Transactional Analysis, which helps us examine, with our clients, their relationships with others and how they interconnect and interact. Simple put, a “transaction” is any instance where you interact with another human being or, in other words, a fundamental unit of social intercourse. Transactional Analysis was inspired by, and to a degree built upon, Freud’s theory of personality and belief that the human psyche is multifaceted with different components that interact to produce a variety of emotions and complex behavior.

In Transactional analysis each person possesses three ego states – The Parent, The Child and The Adult. An individual will assume one of these roles in any “transaction” with another person or even within the context of an internal conversation. A “transactional stimulus” is any speech, gesture or nonverbal cue that acknowledges the presence off another person. In the simplest terms possible, when a “transaction” occurs it may be a matched transaction of ego states or it may be crossed. A crossed transaction occurs when the wrong ego state receives and responds to the transactional stimulus. For example, an individual in an Adult ego state may ask, “Have you seen my keys?” But, someone in a Child ego state may send a transactional response that is mismatched, such as, “I didn’t take them, why are you blaming me?”

With Transactional Analysis as one of the therapeutic tools we use in treatment, we can help our client to strengthen the Adult ego or state which allows him or her greater autonomy. Through strengthening the Adult ego the client takes more responsibility for events taking place in his life, as well as during treatment, and can more readily identify and examine thoughts, emotions and behaviors that may complicate communications internally and with others and hinder personal development and the ability to thrive in a therapeutic setting and in life. When a positive relationship can be created between the therapist and client in treatment it provides a model that carries over to everyday life. Studies have shown that Transactional analysis is an effective tool in treating emotional and relationship problems, especially in terms of a chronic health challenge such as an addiction, which in itself can challenge every relationship in the addict’s life. This is a critical tool not only in helping our client understand his own internal dialogue but understanding his relationships and how he responds and interacts with others in order to make necessary improvements and take more responsibility.

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