TA {Transactional Analysis} Explained

A transaction is defined as a communication between
two or more people.

When a transaction goes wrong, conflict arises.

TA analyses the thinking, feeling and behaviour behind the failed communication to remove conflict.

TA helps us understand why we react the way we do

When conflict occurs we experience internal trauma or frustration that effects our communication. This inhibits real connection with others and conflict escalates.

Example: Mary’s boss Bob, takes her brilliant report and puts his name to it taking the credit for her work.  Mary is resentful but won’t confront him.   Despite her colleagues’ encouragement to deal with the problem, she resigns. Her belief is, “Why bother, nothing will change.  Men are all the same.” 

Mary is discounting her ability to change the situation or that she is worthy of being recognized for her skill and ability.  In her family of origin women’s contribution was not valued highly – “I’m not as important as men.”  She is playing out: others are more important than me – I’m not OK, they are OK.  Her mother’s motto of: “Don’t rock the boat,” “Don’t expect anything and you won’t be disappointed.” – The Parent figure in her head is crushing her potential and ability to be appropriately angry for her boss’s behaviour.

TA reveals the links between feelings, thoughts and behaviours

Internal ‘recordings’ of significant people and our
‘stored experiences’ when a child, can distort our ability to make appropriate decisions in the here and now.

Mary consults a coach about the difficulties with her boss. She realises she is repeating her mother’s pattern of dealing with conflict. Her mother’s words “I’m only a woman, my needs are not important”, she would then sigh heavily, walk away in a huff, feeling defeated.

Mary remembers a childhood experience: she had scrubbed the dog kennel but her older brother took the credit. Despite trying to stand up for herself he made fun calling her ‘miss goody too shoes’. She remembers thinking “why bother, he’s mummy’s boy, I don’t really count. So she slinks off to her bedroom feeling resentful, and cries.

Negative cycles are broken using TA

Awareness, accepting our vulnerabilities and living spontaneously connects with others authentically. Valuing ourselves and others assists us to resolve conflict in a healthy and respectful manner.

Mary’s coach invites her to find alternative positive experiences.  She recollects teachers who encouraged her thinking and writing skills.  She remembers feeling valued when they critiqued her work.  They praised her for working through disappointments.  Now she can respond from this positive view, feel heard and valued.  

Mary updated her ‘Parent’ figures and her previous ‘Child’ experiences. Her new view the world from this authentic ‘here and now, Adult’ perspective, is enabling her to be courageous, accept her feelings of vulnerability and believe in her skills and abilities so she interacts in a way that honors herself and those around her.

TA training provides a framework to allow you to work in a positive space

TA is a positive psychology.  It helps understand the past, change our way of thinking, feeling and behaving so we communicate effectively in the future.


Mark, head of HR, is concerned by Mary’s letter of resignation.  He was aware of the difficulties between Mary, Bob her colleagues and knows there have been similar situations in the past with others.  He calls Chris, a TA consultant and trainer to work with the team.

The team agree to meet Chris individually to talk through the issues.  He listens as they identify what an “I’m Ok, You’re Ok” work environment would be like to work in, what agreements they want to sustain it and what communication skills they need to resolve conflict in the future.

TA is effective in group dynamics

Personal, interpersonal and inter-group upsets, poor communication habits, blaming and gossiping, are platforms for disasters. TA’s framework gives understanding, builds bridges and restores trustworthy, high performing teams.

During the facilitated workshop with Chris, Bob’s team learned how to confront in an OK way, respect differences and communicate clearly.  They made agreements (contracts) for having these difficult conversations.  They learnt about each other (Frame of Reference) how to value strengths and work through opportunities for development.  They identified when ‘games’ were likely to evolve and how to turn them around before they became entrenched. They identified how to ask for support from each other and how to acknowledge ‘give strokes’ for achievements.

They had a vision of working together, they had a purpose and felt hopeful. 

TA clarifies motive and eliminates cross comunications

Understanding why communication fails and identifying how to change the interactions puts everyone back in charge of potential great outcomes. Being straight builds respect and honest relationships. 

Following Mary & Bob’s individual coaching sessions they met with Mark to discuss the original situation and agree on future appropriate communication.  Mary tells Bob how his behaviour impacted her. He responds with a genuine apology and explains that management now know the report was hers. They negotiate how they will communicate going forward and agree to meet fortnightly to build trust.  Mary experiences relief at being straight with Bob and believes he has heard and accepted her experience.

Mark records the agreements they have made and gives them both a copy.  He agrees to meet with them monthly to assess progress.

Mark is meeting with Bob to manage the Bob's inappropriate behaviour.


With TA you can take control and reduce the risk of conflict

TA gives us a common language; an understanding of ourselves and the ‘other’. It provides a contractual method of working together.  It gives everyone control.


now values herself and enjoys being valued.  She has found her voice and interacts constructively with her boss and team members.

Team members

are relieved they don’t have to ‘protect’ or ‘bat for her.


has learnt to enjoy the success of his team members without feeling inadequate. He continues with his counselling sessions.


has valuable skills he can implement with other teams so they can work effectively, avoiding the destructive results of unresolved conflict.

These new-found skills can also be used in their personal interactions at home and their social environments. Everyone wins.