I love helping people with their relationships and communication skills. For the past 7 years I have been studying and working with a model of social psychology known as Transactional Analsysis. I also have an extensive background studying the subconscious mind, linguistics and ‘parts’ work via hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming and modalities such as Voice Dialogue and Focusing. I find Transactional Analysis to be a very comprehensive model of working with people both intra-psychically (what’s going on within us) and inter-personally (how we are in our relationships). These tools can be used for all kinds of relationships including love, work, friends, family and home.

Transactional Analysis is a sophisticated theory of personality, communication and behavior used for personal growth and personal change. Founded by Canadian psychiatrist Eric Berne in the 1950’s, T.A. is a social psychology that it is humanistic and existential by nature. There is a primary emphasis on human freedom and autonomy, providing a framework for observing what goes on between people as we interact with each other, as well as how we interact within ourselves. Understanding these dynamics allows us to improve our relationships with others as well as with our selves.

TA concepts are often shared with clients, facilitating an equal partnership in the work. The client is in a proactive and powerful role of deciding how they want to feel, think, act and believe. Transactional Analysis has many facets, including:

  • Life Scripts: looking at the stories we are unconsciously living, and how we can re-write them to serve us better
  • Games: the ‘games’ people play to reinforce old, familiar, yet unproductive feelings; how to disengage from games and communicate authentically
  • Strokes: how we go about obtaining our needs for recognition
  • Time Structuring: how we structure our time, and it’s congruence with how we want to live
  • Ego States: which ‘part’ of ourselves are we communicating from, and which ‘part’ is the other person responding from.
  • Transactions: Conscious and subconscious layers of communication are examined: the surface/social level (verbal), and the hidden/psychological level (non-verbal) that runs parallel. This helps us get at the real meaning of the communication.

By working with these various facets we are able to facilitate profound personal transformation, gain clarity with decision making, and improve relationships. Applications for Transactional Analysis include counseling, coaching, therapy, education, organizational and business consulting.

To book a private consultation with Mimi please call 206-328-6464 or email mimi@thedreamdetective.com



T.A. Today – Vann Joines and Ian Stewart

What Do You Say After You Say Hello – Eric Berne

Games People Play – Eric Berne

Changing Lives Through Redecision Therapy – Mary Goulding

Scripts People Live – Claude Steiner

Working It Out At Work – Julie Hay

Raising Kids OK – Dorothy Ellen Babcock

The Original Warm Fuzzy Tale – Claude Steiner

The Cycle of Life – Pam Levin

Games Alcoholics Play – Claude Steiner

Personality Adaptations – Vann Joines and Ian Stewart

The Process Therapy Model: The Six Personality Types with Adaptations – Taibi Kahler Ph.D.

To read about T.A. research: International Journal of Transactional Analysis Research: http://www.ijtar.org/

  Core Concepts of Transactional Analysis:

1.    We adopt a fundamental belief that people are ‘OK’, and that the practitioner and client are working as equal partners in their relationships

2.    We all need recognition from other people, whether verbal or non verbal, in order to survive and develop. When positive recognition is not available, we will accept negative ‘strokes’ instead, as they are still a form of recognition. The goal of TA is to create a life with more positive strokes of recognition exchanged with others and within the self.

3.    We all have different ‘parts’ of ourselves (i.e. “part of me wants to eat cake, part of me wants to lose weight”); these parts are known in psychology as Ego States. An ego state is a complete system of thoughts, feelings, attitudes and behaviors from which we act and exchange with others. The ego states ‘Parent’, ‘Adult’ and ‘Child’ and the interactions between these are the foundation of the theory of Transactional Analysis. These concepts are used in therapy, counseling, communication, training, coaching and consulting.

4.    A Transaction is a basic communication exchange between people, a stimulus and a response. In analyzing a transaction, we look at which ego state people are communicating from and responding to during a transaction. This allows us to understand and improve communication dynamics.

5.    Games are recurring transactions aimed at obtaining positive recognition from others, but ending up in negative recognition and a reinforcement of negative life position and life script. Games are the antithesis of direct and authentic communication, which are the goals of T.A. Eric Berne influenced pop culture by naming common games such as ‘Yes, But…’, ‘I’m Only Trying To Help You’, ‘If It Weren’t For You’, ‘Why Does This Always Happen To Me’, ‘See What You Made Me Do’, ‘You Got Me In To This’ and ‘Look How Hard I’ve Tried’.

6.    We all have a need for Time Structure; how we structure our time is motivated by our need for strokes as well as our desire for structure. There are six main identified ways that people structure their time:
a)    Withdrawal – entering into a private world where only internal fantasy strokes exist
b)    Rituals – ‘Hi’, ‘How are you’, ‘I’m fine’. Surface level conversation.
c)    Pastimes – ‘Did you hear about the ball game?’ Again, surface level
d)    Activities – Playing sports, participating in a group or activity of some sort. Strokes are often given according to performance.
e)    Games and Racketeering – Transactions with ulterior (hidden) messages and a negative payoff.
f)    Intimacy – Strokes are freely and spontaneously given and received from all ego states. There are no hidden meanings in the communication; it is direct, spontaneous and authentic. One of the goals of TA is to increase intimacy.

7.    Our Life Script, or the stories we live by, are the result of childhood decisions made on the basis of assuring our survival. We are all unconsciously living by a story, or script, that we determined by the age of 7. Changing our Life Script to one that serves us better is a goal of Transactional Analysis.

8.    When a client works with a Transactional Analyst, a Contract is made between the two in agreement of what the goal of their work will be together. Transactional Analysis assumes that people are capable of deciding what their life should be, so the agreement between the client and the practitioner is made on a mutual basis.

Mimi Pettibone is a certified Transactional Analysis Practitioner via the United States of America Transactional Analysis Association. www.usataa.org