“The eternal problem of the human being is how to structure his waking hours.” Eric Berne
Transactional Analysis (TA) is a collection of concepts. Each hold value individually, and together paint a philosophical and practical way to understand what is happening between people, and within people. It is a comprehensive, scientific, and effective way to communicate with influence, resolve conflict, and problem solve at your highest level.
The three assumptions of TA:
- Everyone is OK – has inherent value, worth and dignity
- Everyone has the capacity to think and solve problems
- Physis – growth and development is our natural state
Everyone is OK
The concept of OKness is one of the most enduring and powerful ideas in Transactional Analysis. Being ‘OK’ has a deep and profound meaning attached to it. It means that everyone has value, worth, and dignity as a human being.
Being OK does not depend on conditions being met or behaviour. It is your birthright and the truth of who you are. The idea that ‘Everyone is OK’ is a profound philosophical stance that people have inherent worth and dignity, without needing to earn it, prove it or improve upon it. This means people are worthy of being treated with mutual value and respect. Okness is mutual – I’m OK and so are you.
Sometimes we shift into feeling ‘Not OK’ – either about ourselves or about others or both. This happens all the time, in the moment to moment interactions between people – at work, and in life. Transactional Analysis describes several concepts to support the shift back to OKness.
The idea of OKness sounds simple and straightforward, but when lived and understood has a powerful impact. OKness within an organizational setting means that mistakes are tolerated, success celebrated and supportive structure provided.
Everyone has the capacity to think
Everyone has the ability and capacity to think for themselves. They can solve their own problems, know their own truth, and take action. This means it is not necessary to ‘do the thinking’ for others or attempt to solve their problems. Several concepts within Transactional Analysis describes what happens when this simple idea is not upheld, and how to change.
As coaches, trainers, and facilitators at The Change Institute, this means we do not come into a role to ‘save the day’, or rescue the client with our expertise. Rather, we teach clients concepts they can implement to achieve their desired outcomes. This is true in our training programs, as well as our consulting and facilitating work. The power is in the client.
‘Physis’ – We tend towards development
‘Physis’ is a Greek word referring to the tendency towards growth and change in nature. People’s and organizations’ natural state is to grow and develop and achieve success. Even the most significant of problems and challenges have options. We all hold deeply embedded cultural beliefs from our family of origin about what is acceptable behaviour, whether to trust or not, and how much honesty and openness are acceptable. Likewise, organizations hold collective beliefs and values embedded in the company’s culture. These beliefs affect every interaction.
Transactional Analysis philosophical stance is that regardless of the semantics – our natural state as humans, and thus also organizations, is to develop and grow towards autonomy.