Transactional Analysis

Therapeutic Communication

Five Rivers Child Care has always embraced the application of Transactional Analysis across the organisation, our Head of Practice provides a clinical oversight for this therapeutic model to be applied within a psychoanalytical framework. Practitioners at Five Rivers are empowered to apply therapeutic communication at all levels of the organisation and throughout the practice environment.

The concepts of ego states within Transactional Analysis were originally created by Eric Berne (Berne 1970) ego states within their most simplistic form can be defined as Parent, Adult and Child.

Our practitioners are trained to recognise that these states have several sub systems and have different internalising, scripting and transference models that can be applied i.e. ways to act, think and feel dependent on behaviours that are being presented by the child or themselves.

Although the limitations of this form of psychoanalysis is that it does not necessarily focus on the unconscious state it is predominately focused in the ‘here and now’ as a form of Psychotherapy. The routes can be found originally in Freuds drive theory. (1905,1915) which considered the nature of basic psychological fundamental needs of humans.

With this in mind ego states are formed. (Klein 1998). Bowlby also supported and enhanced these views in the development of attachment theory (Bowlby. J, 1998) In summary Schegel (1998) describes this methodology as a combination of cognitive, behavioural and psychodynamic therapy.

Transactional Analysis within its simplistic form it is a accessible tool for practitioners regardless of educational or life experiences. When psychoanalytical thinking can be applied by the practitioner to Berne’s three ego states the practitioner is able to frame and observe behaviours and modify their behaviour accordingly to alter the clients state where appropriate.

Transactional Analysis Application

It also enables and empowers children by them understanding themselves better, giving them a way of understanding relationships and the communications that can cause breakdown in relationship, it is a vehicle for teaching emotional literacy and provides a common bond of understanding between adults as staff, children and young people and the educationalists and foster carers by them attending training and learning how to create a positive therapeutic environment.

This approach has proven to be particularly useful when working with children who display abuse reactive and challenging behaviours in residential, educational and clinical environments and even at an organisational level.

Bowlby proposed that the quality if childhood relationships with the caregivers results in the internal representations or working models of the self and other that provide prototypes for later social relations.

The expectations are themselves abstractions based on repeated interactions of specific types with that individual. (Bowlby) At this point Five Rivers Child Care is able to provide a psychological based clinical intervention via our research partners

At Five Rivers Child Care we believe that if children are to be given back their childhood within our use of an authoritative parenting style (Baumrind,D. 1967) then the skilled application of Transactional Analysis can be applied by the carer, residential practitioners to work on the their own states, child’s, emotional intelligence and sub ego states where required.


Berne E (1971) Human Loving New York: Simon and Schuster Bowlby J (1988) A Secure Base: Clinical Applications of Attachment Theory. Routledge. London. Bowlby J (1973) Attachment and Loss Vol2. Separation Anxiety and Anger London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis. Bowlby J (1980) Attachment and Loss Vol3. Sadness and Depression. London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis. Baumrind, D. (1967). Child care practices anteceding three patterns of preschool behaviour. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 75(1), 43-88 . Klein M (1998)Envy and Gratitude and Other Works 1946-1963 London: Virago Books Freud, S. (1905)Three essays on the theory of sexuality. The Complete Psychological Works: Standard Edition 7:135-243 New York: Norton Schegel, L. (1998) What is Transactional Analysis? Transactional Analysis Journal 28(4)269-287 Sills C. (2003) Key Concepts Transactional Analysis Contemporary Views London: Worth Publishing 5-7