Its origin to a psychologist Eric Berne. TA offers a behavioral model of personality, the dynamics of self and its relationship to others. TA focused on relationship & communication.

Some of the important concept in TA are:

  1. Ego states
  2. Types of transaction
  3. Strokes
  4. Life position

1. Ego states

The unit of analysis used in TA for understanding  human behavior is called ego state. According to Brene, each person has three basic ego states:

  1. Parent,
  2. Adult, and
  3. Child.

a. The Parent Ego State (P):

A person behaving as his parent did.

Parent Clues

Physical- Pursed lips, head-wagging, horrified look, tongue clicking, patting on the head.

Oral- Words such as “Always” (remember); “Never” do …. “If I were you,…”

b. The Adult Ego State (A):

A person dealing objectively with reality gathering facts, analyzing them and then deciding behavior pattern are:

Adult Clues

Physical- Attentive look. Not a blank look but one of continual movement showing interest.

Oral- Words such as “what”, “where”, “when”, “who”, “how”, “how much”.

c. The Child Ego State (C):

A person behaving as he did when he was a child.

Child Clues

Physical- Tears, quivering lips, whining voice, laughter, hand raising for permission to speak, giggling, nail biting.

Oral- Words such as- “I wish…,”  “I want…,” “I don’t care….,” “Gee.”

To sum up; each of these ego states has its uses, advantages and disadvantages. A widely-held belief in TA is that in any transactional situation, we should first put ‘the adult into the executive’.

2. Types of transaction

A transaction is a unit of social interaction between two persons. This interaction or exchange of words can be friendly, indifferent or hostile. Transactions are of two types: They are;

  1. Simple
  2. Complex (ulterior)

a. Simple transaction are of two types-

Complementary and Crossed

  • Complementary transaction:

When transactions are complementary, the communication can go on indefinitely because both the persons behave in the expected complementary fashion. This exchanges given below are examples of complementary transactions typified by parallel arrows;

  • Crossed transaction:

Simple transactions can get crossed if the response does not come from the addressed ego state, or if it is not addressed to the initiating ego state. Following are a few examples of crossed transaction;

Husband: Where is my wrist watch?

Wife: Can’t you look for it yourself?

b. Complex: 

A more complicated kind of transaction is called complex or ulterior transaction because of the duplicity of meaning in one or both the transactions.  

Here, a lot of psychological energy is spent in disguising the real message by the sender, and in decoding it by the receiver, thereby resulting in wastage, confusion, misunderstanding.

3. Strokes

A stroke in TA means a unit of social recognition. The recognition can be positive, for example, when we receive a pat on the back. Or it can be negative, for example, when somebody criticizes, rebukes, or punishes us.

Positive strokes make us feel okay; negative strokes tell us that we are not okay. We prefer to receive positive strokes.

4. Life Position (Psychological Position)

There are four basic psychological or life positions which are as follows;

  • I’m ok, you’re ok
  • I’m ok, you’re not ok
  • I’m not ok, you’re ok
  • I’m not ok, you’re not ok.

Benefits of TA

Organizations that have used TA report that it has been moderately successful. Training in TA can give employees fresh insights into their own personalities, and it also can help them understand why others sometimes respond as they do. A major benefit is improved interpersonal communication.

In short, the benefits of TA are;

  • It can help to improve the leadership style; bring effectiveness.
  • It can help to improve communication and resolve conflicts.
  • It helps employee to understand their personality and improve it.
  • Improvement in interpersonal transactions etc.