Transactional analysis is a theory of personality designed for, and adapted to, the purpose of group psychotherapy, which is, as Eric Berne, its creator, puts it, “to cure patients.” Therefore, given that Berne believed that the patient has to participate fully in the curative process, the theory needed to be understandable and accessible as well as credible and verifiable.

As a theory of personality, transactional analysis holds that individuals relate to reality, and transact with one another, via three distinct, visible, easily identifiable manifestations of the ego, called ego states: (1) the Parent, (2) the Adult, and (3) the Child. In their interpersonal relationships, people engage in observable interactional patterns between ego states, some of which, called games, are repetitive, maladaptive transactional sequences that reaffirm a ...

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