My original training in psychology allows me to see what an all encompassing tool Transactional Analysis is. By using its toolbox I can incorporate the philosophies of the major schools of psychology such as psychodynamic and cognitive behaviourism into my practice. My theology background enriches my approach to my transpersonal work.
Almost all psychotherapy models are in some way connected to psychoanalysis, if only in opposition to its principles; TA being particularly flexible in its dynamic approach to issues relating to early socialisation and ongoing communication. I love to use it as a deconstruction tool, to find out if what comes out of our mouths is what lands in the other person’s ears.
TA also allows me to work cognitively with a person’s understanding of the world and behaviourally with what they physically do. My shorthand for this is
ABC:- Affect or feeling, Behaviour or doing, Cognition or thinking.
TA is more than this though, it is a model in a social context. I can use the same tools to look at cultural and social experience to explore experiences of class, gender, sexuality, religion and so on. I do a lot of work with women who have experienced difficult relationships, helping them see the patterns and what can prevent repeating them. I also work with couples who are looking at ways to communicate more effectively and find different ways to be together.
And for me all comes together in the narrative – what is TA but the original narrative therapy? Narrative psychology, according to social constructionism, is about each of us negotiating a life story that is to some extent constrained by the life stories of others. The more I learn and explore, the closer I come to this view, that the Self – that thing we name as ‘who we are’ – is not a fixed thing that may be damaged and broken, with the role of psychotherapy to glue it back together. Instead, I support the idea of personal agency; this is your story and you can rewrite the script. You can challenge and redecide and make a better sense of where you are and where you are going.