Ta and Gestalt

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In this essay I will give an explanation of my understanding of Transactional Analysis, more commonly known as ‘TA’, and the Gestalt theory to counselling, as discussed in module one, year three of the Chrysalis Counselling course. I will then apply these approaches, and demonstrate the methodology to a previous client case study, discussing what I could have achieved. I will offer a brief outline of the case in question to allow for clear understanding of the presenting issue, and the possible outcomes that could be approached with counselling. I will consider what I have learnt from this research, and what I could take into my future work. I will conclude with a brief summary. Firstly, I will begin by explaining the meaning of Transactional Analysis (TA), and the dynamics behind this. Eric Berne was the founder of ‘TA’ in the 1950’s. ‘TA’ is a theory of personality and social psychology within the humanistic tradition.’ (www.functionalfluency.com/what is transactional analysis?) Berne developed the theory and practice of ‘TA’ as a method of psychotherapy. ‘Transactional analysis (TA) means the exploration of all the component parts of psycho/social exchanges between people - in other words, finding out how people tick and what is going on between them.’ (www.functionalfluency.com/TA’s name). The approach is integrative, and combines various aspects of counselling approaches, psychodynamic, humanistic and behaviourist. It looks at the cognitive effect of human experience. It offers a framework for understanding different personalities. It provides an understanding of how people react, and inter-react, with each other, and how our minds work. TA is based on the notion that we have three parts, or ego-states, to our personality, and that these converse with one another in 'transactions'. When two people communicate, each exchange is a ‘transaction’. Many of our problems come from transactions which are unsuccessful, and this can be due largely to the attitudes that are adopted at that time. There are four theoretical foundations. There is the ego-state, scripts, transactions and games. We are compelled to play multiple parts every day depending on the situation we find ourselves in. Our attitudes vary more of less consciously, depending on the situation, and the people we encounter. This is the way we express our personality. We each have three ego-states – Adult, Parent and Child, and we use these in varying forms throughout our normal daily lives, even within ourselves internally. Within each ego we also have ‘sub-sections’. If we present in the ‘adult ego’, we are being rational, reasonable and assertive, without trying to control, or react aggressively, much like the ‘ideal self’ would be. Whereas, if we are presenting a ‘parent ego’ we could either be nurturing, caring or concerned, or alternatively controlling, and maybe transferring beliefs, or values, with a degree of ‘force’. If we present a ‘childlike ego’ we could be showing a ‘natural’, ‘little professor’ or ‘adaptive child’ approach. ‘All three aspects of the personality have a high survival and living value, and it is only when one or the other of them disturbs the healthy balance that analysis and reorganisation are indicated. Otherwise each of them, Parent, Adult or Child is entitled to equal respect and has its legitimate place in a full and productive life’. (Berne E (2010): Games People Play page 27) Our transactions are how we relate and interact with each other. Understanding these "transactions" and deciphering them, analysing our behaviour, our words, and our feelings, can enable us to avoid becoming entrapped in a particular type of reaction, and constantly replaying the same scene. Knowing ourselves better, and how others feel about us, can prevent us from falling into traps, and from frequently reproducing the same errors, and reliving the same situations in our relationships with others. The script is the predetermined way that we behave. We...
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