“The eternal problem of the human being is how to structure his waking hours.”Eric Berne
Transactional Analysis (TA) is a cohesive collection of concepts, each describing human beings and our patterns of thinking, believing, feeling and behaving. Each of us has 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: we all have inherent value and are worthy of being treated with dignity and respect regardless of their behavior or life circumstances.
- Everyone has the capacity to think and decide for themselves and solve their own problems. Decisions can be changed.
- Physis – growth and development is our natural desire like a flower turning toward the sun.
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 believe ‘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 with strategies to support the shift back to OKness.
The idea of OKness sounds simple and straightforward. Living in okness is a life’s journey and when it becomes deeply integrated into our mindsets, has a powerful impact. OKness within an organizational setting means that mistakes are seen as opportunities to learn, 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 want development
‘Physis’ is a Greek word referring to growth and change in the natural and human world. 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 behavior, whether to trust or not, and how much honesty and openness feels safe. Likewise, organizations hold collective beliefs and values embedded in the company’s culture. These beliefs affect every interaction.
Transactional Analysis philosophical stance is that our normal natural state as humans, and thus also organizations, is to develop and grow towards autonomy. – in the words of Rudolph Steiner the goal is to be free (autonomous) taking full responsibility for our experiences and our lives and be full contributors to our organizations, our communities and our world.