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Is Transactional Analysis a viable business tool? Psychology for business –

Transactional Analysis

Transactional Analysis or TA as it is commonly known as, is a tool used in many areas of business and education, and it’s a concept that once explained, makes complete sense and you’ll wonder why you haven’t used it before!

There have been many books and articles written on Transactional Analysis such as ‘Games People Play‘ and I’m OK – You’re OK .  Their premise is to  help us become more effective in the way we respond to and communicate with others. Read on, and in laymen’s terms I’ll explain the terminology and how to begin to understand why we communicate in certain ways, both in the work place and in our personal relationships. However, there are complexities to this concept, and so this series of articles will only look at transactional analysis on the simplest level.  However, you can contact us if you want to explore various concepts further.

Transactional Analysis – What is a transaction?

Dr Eric Berne was a psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, whose work on human behaviour was influenced by Dr Sigmund Freud and neurosurgeon Dr Wilder Penfield.  At it’s simplest level:

 “Transactional Analysis is the method for studying interactions between individuals”  

This includes any form of verbal or non-verbal communication between two people. This communication is the ‘transaction‘, whilst the ‘analysis‘ is what you understand or take from the message you are receiving.  Someone smiling at me is a ‘transaction’ and my ‘analysis’ is that the person is happy to see me.  Berne’s work asks us to reflect on these interactions and try to understand our own behaviour as well, i.e. why am I smiling back and crossing the road to meet them, if I really want to avoid them?

Transactional Analysis – What are ego states?

To help us understand the nature of our transactions with each other, Eric grouped our ways of thinking and behaving into three areas, that he called ego states:

Parent -when we are thinking or behaving from this ego state, we are drawing on our experience of the parental Is Transactional Analysis a viable business tool?figures in our lives which have been absorbed into our way of relating to others.  These parental figures could be warm, loving, indulgent, distant, controlling, or ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ types. These characteristics could be attributed to our real parents, or people who we saw as parental figures in our lives.   In a recent situation, someone hit my car from behind whilst I was stopped at a red light.  The woman driving was so apologetic and shaken up by it, I forgot she had hit me and gave her a hug and told her it would be OK.  It was my natural response to nurture her, once I realised everyone was OK.

Adult – when  we are involved in transactions from this ego state, we are rational and able to think and make choices.  In this state, we are able to recognise our potential child and parental responses but keep them in check and maintain control and deal with the facts of the situation.  Again, in the car situation above, my initial response on getting out of the car was to ask what had happened, was anyone hurt, then later on to check my car and hers over and then take her details for insurance purposes.

In between these clearly adult ego state behaviours, I was shocked and shaking, but comforted her when I realised that she was worse than me emotionally.

Child – from this ego state, we are remembering how we used to respond to events outside of ourselves when we were small.  We may use extremes of behaviour and language and have strong feelings about a situation or statement, and exaggerate our responses, i.e. in the car shunt situation mentioned above, I could have slammed the car door and screamed at the woman “You stupid idiot, are you blind?” and then burst into tears.  This name calling and crying is a way of showing that a situation has overwhelmed us and so we can revert back to name calling and extreme displays of emotion, if this is how we remember dealing with situations when we were small.

We can move between the ego states depending on the situation, the people involved and the communication itself.  As you can see in the above example, my thoughts were in the adult ego state and ruled my emotions initially, as I was very rational and dealt with the damaged car, before moving into my parental ego state.  Not everyone is able to do this, and certainly not all of the time.  We tend to have an ego state we naturally adopt when under stress and times of pressure.

Question: Do you know what your natural ego state is?  

Do you handle situations from different ego states depending if it’s home or personally related, as opposed to a work problem?  Most of us do, because we’ve learnt the types of behaviours expected of us at work and conform to them. However, at home and with our partners we can let rip and behave in an emotional way (child or parent), which would be unacceptable in another situation or in front of a different audience.

What type of language do you use? 

Parent – “never”, “should”, “always”, “do this”, “don’t do that”

Child – “I feel”, “I hate”, “Always”, “I don’t want to”, “I like”

Adult – “probably”, “I think”, “I realise”, “perhaps”, “I believe”

In the next blog, I’m going to explore complimentary and crossed transactions, as well as ‘game playing’ examples, and begin to look at how you can change the course of a conversation or interaction that is going wrong.

In the meantime, please tweet me @therealme_PDP and give me examples of how you know when you are in a particular ego state.

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#Safeguarding children – Your responsibility

#Safeguarding children - Your responsibility

#Safeguarding children – Your responsibility.

  • Q1. Should you have any? Well morally you should……
  • Q2.Do you have any? We don’t all share that moral imperative so some people turn a blind eye….
  • Q3.Does your place of work mean that responsibility is also a legal one? Many people that fit into Q2 also work in, or contract with, organisations that have a duty to #safeguard children. By working within that business you  have a legal duty to do the same.


#Safeguarding children – some facts…


Why is it so important that we #safeguard and promote the welfare of children? Have a look at this link, which isn’t graphic, but is informative.  (OFSTED VIDEO)

Where issues are seen to be real, are talked about, are factored into organisational behaviour we get better results.

Did you know that “20% of child deaths reviewed in England between 2010 and 2011 were from preventable causes including accidents, suicide, abuse, and neglect.” (Click to the Lancet research). #

According to the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children)

“in in the 17-month period to the end of August 2008 local authorities in England notified Ofsted of 424 serious incidents involving the deaths of 282 children. This equates to 199 annually, or almost four children each week. Since publication of this report, Ofsted has clarified that 210 of these deaths, i.e. three each week, were actually attributable to abuse or neglect (Gilbert,2008).”

This was also within the time frame of Peter Connoly’s Death (Baby P).

Does that shock you? Revolt you? It is something that needs to change and is within all of our wit to change.


#Safeguarding Children – What can I do?safeguarding

Do you ever hear voices? I do, I have been checked out and I am OK! These voices say things to me like “what is happening there?”, “did she really say that?”, “What does that mean”, “OMG …!.”

We all have these voices and should try to turn up that volume when encountering children through our work (legal responsibility) but actually we ought to be doing this outside of work too… (moral responsibility?)

So what types of things might we encounter that would set these voices off, that might ring Alarm bells?


#Safeguarding – the 5 broad categories of abuse

In England and Wales there are 5 broad categories of abuse, which help us to focus on things that might be happening.

The numbers quoted here are attributed to the NSPCC (LINK)


Physical Abuse

  • hurting a child.
  • causing deliberate injuries.
  • 1 in14 children have been physically abused, 20% of the NSPCC helpline calls were about this last year.


Sexual Abuse

  • when a child is forced or coerced to take part in sexual activity, whether the abuse is physical or not. This includes grooming and online abuse.
  • 1 in three children that are sexually abused stay silent.
  • 1 in 20 children in the Uk have suffered sexual abuse.



  • when a child is deliberately ignored, humiliated, isolated or scared.
  • 1 in 14 Uk children have suffered this from a parent or guardian.



  • failing to meet a child’s basic needs through things like poor diet, emotional welfare, clothing, warmth and love.
  • 1 in 10 children have experienced neglect.


Domestic Violence

  • where children are present, when adults abuse each other, intimidate, bully or undertake acts of physical violence.
  • being present doesn’t need to mean in the room! Ever had your in-laws staying?
  • 1 in 5 children have been exposed to domestic violence.
  • 60% of serious case reviews quote domestic abuse as being a significant factor.

 The dangers of categorising abuse

WAbusee need to be able to describe what we have encountered in a logical clear way. This adds clarity to our referrals, but to attribute only one of these categories to a child is too simplistic. How can someone that is being beaten (physically abused) not also be a victim of Neglect and Emotional abuse. The categories can help us, but professionals always look at the broader picture.

I hope you found this interesting, in subsequent blogs we will look at what you can really see, hear and feel that would require you to take some action.

At PDP we consult, design and deliver programmes around safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children that are stimulating, engaging and developmental.  We recognise your business has its own specific needs and bespoke programmes accordingly.

Here is an example of direct feedback from the a customer last week


“I think this course was useful to everyone not just operational

staff, his personal knowledge on the subject was outstanding and his personal

experience helped to overview real scenarios as opposed to

made up scenario’s following a powerpoint.”

Let us help you and your business make a difference.

 Like us on Facebook Professional Development People and  Twitter @richardjonesPDP  or @therealme_PDP

or Email


Useful other resources @nspcc @paladinservice @ceopuk


15 ways to improve your Emotional Intelligence

emotional intelligence


Increasingly, in the businesses we partner, the concept of having a high IQ is no longer enough to be successful. To paraphrase a good friend, Mike, ” Why do people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time?”  A delegate yesterday said to me, that it is because those people with enormous IQs don’t have any “common sense!”  There could be something in that….. BUT emotional intelligence isn’t just about common sense. According to Reuven Bar-On the 15 ways to improve your emotional intelligence are found within 5 key areas or Realms.

The 5 Realms of Emotional Intelligence

  1. Stress Managementei3
  2. People skills
  3. Self Perception
  4. Decision Making
  5. Self Expression

15 Ways to improve your Emotional Intelligence

We can further break these areas down into 15 competencies that we can all improve upon

1 Stress management

The aspects of Stress Management that are within our sphere of influence arestress management

  • Tolerance – to be able to manage stressful situations confidently. To use your skills to influence in a positive manner. (click here to link to a previous Blog on influencing)
  • Optimism – to keep up a positive attitude, to understand that others will look at your outputs, body language, tone etc and make judgements. To keep that facade even when we are being knocked back.
  • Flexibility – to adjust your feelings and emotions appropriately, relative to the circumstances.


2 People  Skills

  • Networks – NOT a dirty word. Rather the ability to build rapport and relationships, how we get on with others.
  • Empathy – to be conscious that we need to walk in other peoples shoes. This isn’t about feeling sorry for someone (sympathy) but much more about seeing their world, through their eyes.
  • Being Social responsible – this isn’t about going on marches! However the highly emotionally intelligent have a consciousness that feels for and interacts positively with the community.


3 Self Perception

  • Self regard – to understand ones self, recognise the good, the bad and the ugly.  Knowing strengths and weakness’  “Practise things you’re good at, keep on top of things you’re not so good at, but be world-class at your best. Never think, I’m very good at this and that, I can leave those for a bit.” Brian O’Driscoll (click for the full interview)
  • Self awareness – Understand what makes you tick, recognise the causes of personal emotions and the impact they have on your immediate circle of influence.
  • Drive to improve – to fight to get to your potential. Frank Spencer’s motto (from Some Mothers’ Do ‘Ave Em) ” Every day in every way I will get better and better” . The ability to be resolute and persistent.


4 Decision Making

  • Self Control – to keep a grip on your impulsive behaviour, to reign in the free child. Understanding that it is always necessary to know the truth, not always to say it.
  • Looking in the mirror – to match your feelings with real things, to be objective, to understand when objectivity is vanishing..
  • Problem Solving – to understand the influence that emotions have on our ability to make rational, reasoned decisions.


5 Self expression


  • Express your emotions – being open about how you feel, being congruent between what you say and your non verbal communications.
  • Self Motivating – to be self reliant, not emotionally dependent upon the conduct or thinking of others.
  • Assertiveness – to truly understand that you have rights and responsibilities, to stand up for them without violating the rights of those around you. (click here for our Blog on this)




Now that you recognise these 15 competencies of emotional intelligence, would you like to improve them?

Give Paula or Richard a call 08712349873 we would LOVE to help you, your team or your organisation. TWITTER @richardjonesPDP


Just a mum?

I was reading an article yesterday in the YOU magazine by Julia Restoin Rotfield, where she gives advice “to women who don’t want to suddenly become “just mums”, and I was wondering what happened to the women who do want to only be parents and whether they saw the “just” as a negative?

just a mumFrom chatting to my friends and from my own experience I felt under pressure to stay in the work            loop and fit my child     into my hectic schedule and as I was a self-employed professional              development coach and trainer, was anxious that I could be out of the game for too long. However, I didn’t really know how long was too long!

I envied my friends who had become “just mums”, through what seemed like long periods of maternity leave or those who seemed able to afford to give up work and also those who were completely fulfilled from simply having this tiny baby in their lives. I felt anxious and confused about how to split my roles of mother, wife and self employed business consultant, whilst begrudging not having ‘me’ time as well. As an older mother, I also felt that I had to prove it all could be done, with both panache and style and with as little dribble as possible. Looking back it was a hell of a first year.     just a mum

Friends who were full time mothers described it as a lifetime choice or career change, and I loved these exprssions. There is no “just” about being a parent, it is THE full time job, with unsocial hours, conflicts and unexpected events happening, as well as all the joy of seeing each new stage of development, without having one eye on emails. Sometimes I wish I had made that choice and dammed the consequences!