Transactional Analysis Counselling

Transactional Analysis is form of psychotherapy and a theory of personality and communication that was formulated by Eric Berne. Its strength lies in its observable states of mind and explanation of how individuals relate to self and others. By paying attention to our own thoughts, behaviours and feelings we can bring about lasting and positive change.


States of Mind

Berne proposed we have three distinct states of mind that are constantly changing in response to the environment and stimulus. What is so influential about this model is its natural simplicity so that these may be observed and experienced by ourselves as tangible and identifiable elements of our personality.

This is so important as our awareness of self leads to better understanding of our own nature. This generates options and in turn choices which we can take as conscious decisions which are empowering and leads to change that can be life affirming.

Transactional Analysis Parent Adult Child states of mind

The first mind state is the Parent that contains those, thoughts, feelings and behaviours learnt and experienced in the past as a child from carers and authority figures. The second state is the Adult operating in the here and now experiencing reality and utilising our reason, skills and abilities in an authentic manner. The third state is the Child our interpretations, experiences of the world including, thoughts, feelings and behaviours again from the past.

The Parent and Child are further sub-divided. The Controlling Parent seeks to maintain rules, values and boundaries. There are both negative and positive elements of this state of being. The negative aspects being criticism, limiting and constraining thoughts, feelings and behaviours. The positive aspect include maintaining beneficial limits, order and safe boundaries

Positive aspects of the Nurturing Parent is supportive, protective and empowering, the negative aspects are over protection, rescuing and disempowering


Transactional Analysis Internal states of mind and how they function


The Child is subdivided into the Adaptive Child and the Free Child. The positive aspect of the Adaptive Child is working and cooperating with others to achieve good outcomes. In contrast the negative element is doing what we are told or think is required of others to please them so they will continue to accept us at the expense of our needs.

The Free Child has the positive aspect of fun, spontaneity and curiosity. The negative element of the Free Child is rebellious, reckless and destructive behaviours.

The Adult state of mind is not subdivided as it is us in the here and now operating in the world whilst recognising and accepting what occurs. Here we are responsible for self, maintaining positive regards, aware and accepting of our abilities and vulnerabilities.

We move between these states of mind very quickly. Recognising which state we are in at any one time provides awareness that is the spring board for learning about the part we pay in our own experiences of relationship issues with self and others, anxiety, stress and depression.


Integrated Adult

The integrated Adult also manifests the positive and affirming elements of the Parent and Child mind state appropriately in the moment. In this position we can be aware, close to others and spontaneous leading to being our authentic self.

We accept our vulnerabilities, positively value and support ourselves whilst being assertive in a way they does not seek to diminish others

Understanding ourselves better helps promote better ways of living and being in relationships.

I use this philosophy and approach as the foundation of my work with Individual and Couples Counselling.