Vivek Mehrotra
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Transactional Analysis

In order to maintain fruitful relationships, Transactional Analysis (TA) is yet another important concept that you need to understand. Apart from helping you to improve your communication, TA will help you to understand as to how you treat yourself and how you relate and communicate with others. In addition, TA will help you to study the repetitive patterns of human behavior, personality and communication. This understanding will help you to manage and maintain your relationships with different people both in your personal and the professional life. This will also help you to change the way you communicate and behave with others, which will ultimately help you to grow in life.

The famous psychologist Sigmund Freud had established the fact that human psyche is multi-faceted. These different facets of an individual are submerged deep in his subconscious, which surface and affect individual's personality and behavior in different circumstances. TA was developed by Dr. Eric Berne. The basic premise of this concept is that every individual have multiple nature. Dr. Eric Berne had defined these different facets of human psyche as the 'ego states'. The whole concept of TA is based upon the fact that human beings have three different 'ego-states' to their 'personality. These three ego-states are known as, Parent, Adult and Child. These ego-states keep on transacting with one another. In other words each one of us has a Parent, an Adult and a Child with in us. While interacting with others we play all the three roles. Even while conversing with self i.e. during self talk we keep on playing these roles.

According to Dr. Eric Berne our verbal communication, predominantly face to face, is accountable for our social relationships. To a great extent our relationships with others depends upon the way we communicate. All the three ego states are exhibited through our communication. He referred to each of the exchange that take place while an individual communicates with others, as a Transaction. I am sure if you recall you will realize that one of the major reasons for any of your estranged relationship is due to ineffective transaction between both of you. Here it is essential to understand that it is not what you speak but how you speak get accounted for deciding the relationship between both of you. Let's understand each of this ego state in detail.


When someone speaks from Parent ego state, it is his deep-rooted voice of authority, learning and attitudes developed in his early childhood, which has conditioned his mind gets manifested. It's not the parent alone even teachers, other older members of family; the next door neighbors too are responsible for this conditioning. Their statements such as, "Better you must not" or "Always you must", "by any chance you shouldn't" gets embedded deeply and like a 're-mix' song gets mixed with the original message. However, just like a re-mix song it distorts the original message.


'Innocence' is the appropriate word that defines a child. Whatever a child sees, hears or feels express it without mixing any emotion. Therefore, whenever something doesn't happen the way he wanted makes him react. At that time it is very difficult for him to control his anger or despair. Like this when someone talks from a Child ego state communicates his true emotions that too naturally. Majority of the behavior patterns, thoughts and feelings of an individual who quite often operates from the Child ego state unconsciously replay his own childhood memories. For example, if as a child you were frightened to go to principal's room or get scary if you are called by the teacher to come in front and address the class, invariably you will have butter flies in your stomach on being called by your boss to his cabin.


Dr. Eric Berne has used the term adult to depict the persona of an individual who is grown up, is rational and the one who talks reasonably but assertively. He neither tries to control nor react, the one who is comfortable with self and is calm and composed in all situations. I would like to quote an anecdote from Bhagwat Gita, which exactly refers the persona of Lord Krishna as a true adult according to Dr. Eric Berne's definition of an adult.

Arjuna asks Krishna, "Keshav, I have never seen you either extremely happy or disturb in any situation." Lord Krishna answered, "Because I never react rather I always act. A reaction is always uncontrolled, which makes people either extremely happy or disturb depending upon the situation, whereas an act is always controlled and planned. Since, I know the outcome of my act in advance it doesn't surprise me hence, you will always found me calm and composed."


(Excerpts from the book, 'Why My Horse Doesn't Listen - Learn to communicate effectively)

Vivek Mehrotra

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