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  • Andrew Scott

Transactional Analysis

Transactional Analysis is a large and complex set of related ideas, developed initially by Eric Berne. One of the key ideas in Transactional Analysis is the notion of life scripts. These are lessons we learn early in life about how things ‘should be’ and have a profound effect on both our understanding and our behaviour, according to Berne and his followers.

In Berne’s model, the life script is established early in life, and distorts the natural child into one of the three typical roles people fulfil in TA’s famous ‘games people play.’ Those roles are persecutor, victim, and rescuer, and Berne sees people as unconsciously ordering their life in fulfilment of the demands of these life scripts.

A lot of Berne’s work is therefore focussed on helping people to attain autonomy by becoming ‘script free.’ The resonances of this with a ManyStory Approach are many; though I believe that there are also significant differences. I am not sure that we can ever be 'story-free'; but perhaps by script free, Berne means free of unhelpful scripts; and that living out of stories that we have chosen for ourselves as more helpful would qualify.

As ever, I am keen to learn from others - I am no expert on Transactional Analysis, so realise that my understanding may be both limited and superficial.

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