Transactional Analysis : 100 Key Points and Techniques book cover
1st Edition

Transactional Analysis
100 Key Points and Techniques

ISBN 9780415473873
Published October 15, 2009 by Routledge
392 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Transactional Analysis (TA) is a versatile and comprehensive system of psychotherapy. Transactional Analysis: 100 Key Points and Techniques synthesises developments in the field, making complex material accessible and offering practical guidance on how to apply the theory and refine TA psychotherapy skills in practice.

Divided into seven manageable sections, the 100 key points cover:

  • the philosophy, theory, methods and critique of the main approaches to TA
  • TA perspectives on the therapeutic relationship
  • diagnosis, contracting and treatment planning using TA
  • a trouble shooting guide to avoiding common pitfalls
  • refining therapeutic skills

As such this book is essential reading for trainee TA therapists, those preparing for examinations as well as experienced practitioners who will find much practical guidance on the skilful and mindful application of this cohesive system of psychotherapy.

Table of Contents

Introduction. Part I: Approaches in TA Practice. Three Modes of Therapeutic Action. The Classical School: Foundations. The Classical School: Methods. The Redecision School: Foundations. The Redecision School: Methods. The Cathexis School: Foundations. The Cathexis School: Methods. Radical Psychiatry: Foundations. Radical Psychiatry: Methods. Integrative TA: Foundations. Integrative TA: Methods. Cognitive-Behavioural TA: Foundations. Cognitive- Behavioural TA: Methods. Psychodynamic TA: Foundations. Psychodynamic TA: Methods. Relational TA: Foundations. Relational TA: Methods. Part II: The Therapeutic Relationship. The Initial Sessions. Therapeutic Inquiry. The Centrality of Empathy. Accounting for the Impact of Diversity in the Therapeutic Relationship. Conceptualizing the Therapeutic Relationship. Strengthening the Working Alliance by Attention to Tasks, Goals and Bonds. Considering Adapted Child Responses as Indicators of Alliance Rupture. The Therapeutic Alliance- Rupture and Repair. Important TA Concepts Related to Transference and Countertransference. The Drama Triangle as Tool to Explore Countertransference. Transference and Countertransference: An Aide Memoir of TA Models. Ending TA Therapy. Part III: Diagnosis. The Importance of Observation. Intake Assessment and Case Formulation. Assessing Suitability for TA Therapy. Using Berne’s Four Methods of Diagnosis. Applying of the Four Methods of Diagnosis. Developing Conversational Interviewing Technique for Script Analysis. Being Thorough in Structural Analysis. Adding in Ego State Dialogue to Develop Dynamic Structural Analysis. Accounting for Cultural and Religious Parent. Accounting for Oppression. Levels of Script- Protocol and Script Proper. Identifying Structural Level. Building-up the Script System. Exploring Counterscript. Analyzing Games. Escape Hatches as a Framework for Understanding Client Safety. Suicidal Ideation - A Brief Introduction. Diagnosis Check List. Part IV: Contracting. Contracting for the Tasks and Goals of Therapy. Contracting- Develop ‘Lightness of Touch’. Using a Standard Written Business Contract. Contracting with the Unsure Client. Behavioural Contracts. Dealing with Resistance or Non-compliance with Behavioural Contracts. The ‘Good Enough’ Contract. Contracting: Preparing for Conflict and Negative Transference. Part V: Treatment Planning. Comparative Treatment Sequences. Formulating Individualized Treatment Plans. Monitoring and Revising Treatment Planning. Psychotherapy as a Grieving Process. Treatment Sequence- A Relational View. Awareness, Spontaneity, Intimacy and Autonomy. Part VI: Avoiding Common Pitfalls. Being Realistic About Treatment Length. Avoiding Premature Contracting. Avoiding the Pitfall of ‘Certainty.’ Reducing the Risk of Iatrogenic Shaming. Avoiding Racket ‘OK-ness.’ Avoiding Marshmallowing. Teaching TA Concepts Sparingly. Part VII: Refining Therapeutic Skills. Balancing Challenge and Support. Optimizing Therapy by Assessment of Where the Client is Open and Where They Are Defended. Deepening Affect. Promoting Healthy Expression of Emotions. Promoting Emotional Literacy with ‘Homework’ Assignments. Encouraging Journaling to Promote Self-reflection. Differences between Decontamination and Deconfusion. How Clients Confirm Script Beliefs in Therapy. Using Alliance Rupture and Repair for Deconfusion. Use Metacommunicative Transactions. Therapy of Games. Therapy of Injunctions. Interventions and Approaches to Therapy of Injunctions. Escape Hatch Closure Revisited. Client Protection. Potency and Permission. Impasse Theory Revisited. Two-chair Parent Ego State Work- Some Guidelines. Two-chair Parent Ego State Work- Contraindications. Confrontation. Enhancing Effectiveness with Audio Recordings. Evaluating Interventions and Enhancing Skills. Record Keeping in TA Therapy. Promoting Mentalization. Cultivating Mindfulness. Script Development- An Ongoing Process. Helping Clients Identify and Build on their Strengths. Exploring Therapist’s Motivations. Self-Reflection and Appropriate Self-Disclosure. The Adult Ego State Revisited. TA as an Existential Psychotherapy. Analyzing Transactions.

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Mark Widdowson is a Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst and a UKCP Registered Psychotherapist. He is Director of Training at CPTI Edinburgh, Associate Director at The Berne Institute, Kegworth and Senior Lecturer at The Athens Synthesis Centre, Greece. He lives in Glasgow where he has a private practice, offering supervision and psychotherapy for individuals and couples.


"Consistently stimulating and informative, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in learning about current developments in Transactional Analysis theory and practice. The structure of the book makes it easy to identify ways in which TA addresses fundamental practice issues, and is highly accessible both to TA specialists and those trained in other orientations who are seeking to integrate TA perspectives into their work with clients." - John McLeod, Professor of Counselling, University of Abertay, Dundee, Scotland

"Mark Widdowson provides us with a wise and engaging presentation of contemporary Transactional Analysis in theory and practice.  Throughout this text are the constant reminders of the importance, clinically and ethically, of the therapist's necessity to engage in self-examination.  While written in the voice of a psychotherapist, this book has much to offer fellow professionals engaged in other aspects of human relations work." - William F. Cornell, Independent Private Practice, Pittsburgh, USA

"In this book Widdowson combines the old and the new: an accurate account of traditional concepts of transactional analysis in the form of 100 key points, together with a refreshing analysis of TA itself. In doing so, Widdowson not only has produced a book which is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary TA, but also offers a critical reading of TA in the context of the wider and changing fields of psychotherapy and psychology." - Keith Tudor, Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst; Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychotherapy, Auckland University of Technology, Aotearoa, New Zealand

"Widdowson has provided the serious student of TA with a thorough overview of contemporary TA which charts its place in the broader landscape of psychotherapy today, while amply elucidating its distinguishing features. It is informative and stimulating in equal measure and is certain to support trainees on the journey to qualification and to refresh the thinking of all those engaged in developing their TA knowledge and skills." - Robert Jenkins, Institute of Transactional Analysis, ITA News, July 2010