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Transactional Analysis

Transactional Analysis (TA) is an integrative approach, drawing on a variety of psychological theories and is grounded in the therapeutic relationship.  Its strength is its versatility which fits largely in our service in regards to never knowing what a client may present with in the therapy room. At the core of transactional analysis is the overarching principal of everyone is OK – that people are capable of thinking for themselves, and that people have the capacity to change (Stewart & Joines, 1987). 

Transactional analysis is an approach to psychotherapy, which can offer a coherent model of intrapsychic and interpersonal dynamics and a corresponding methodology. It provides a philosophy, a theory of personality, a theory of child development and a theory of psychopathology (Berne, 1961; 1968; 1972). Relational and co-creative transactional analysis (Erskine, 1998; Fowlie, & Sills, 2011; Hargaden & Sills, 2002; Tudor & Summers, 2014) and working in the here and now is a focus of the work.  Of great importance is the safety of the therapeutic relationship. Therapeutic involvement with the client is a co-constructed, dyadic relationship with emphasis on acknowledgment and validation, effectively allowing previously disavowed feelings and denied experiences to come to full awareness. 

Education of transactional analysis concepts, the structure and visual depiction during therapy time will offer some ‘scaffolding’ on which the work is carefully held, such as the Ego State model.  I am creative, intuitive and integrating in my approach to working with clients. Having a developmental approach to treatment planning is part of my make-up coming from the majority of my working career as an Occupational Therapist which blends well with treatment planning in transactional analysis.

Sexual Violence Trauma

Anyone — men, women, and children — can be sexually assaulted. Sexual assault is usually defined as sexual activity between two or more people in which one of the people is coerced or threatened with harm. The sexual activity may include fondling, sexual intercourse, oral sex, and/or anal sex. The sexual aggressor can be a family member, like a husband or father, or a friend, date, acquaintance, or stranger.  It can involve the one incident or it can span years of repeated incidents of sexual abuse.

What Is Sexual Assault Trauma?

Sexual assault is a serious criminal offence. Sexual assault can be an extremely stressful, terrifying event and can severely disrupt one’s wellbeing. lifestyle and coping patterns. During a sexual assault, the individual has to deal with feelings of powerlessness and uncertainty about whether he or she will survive. Studies show that the impact of sexual assault varies from person to person. Individual’s may no longer feel safe, may lose self-esteem, feel powerless, and lose the ability to trust others or develop intimacy. Having experienced other traumas can also contribute to greater problems for the individual.

What Are the Problems?

There can often be a range of responses dependent on the individual.  There are some patterns that can often be seen among victims of sexual assault, such as intrusive thoughts and memories of the assault/abuse, flashbacks, or a feeling like they are reliving the sexual assault; nightmares; and difficulty sleeping.  In addition, individuals report feelings of “being on edge” or “high alert”, problems with concentration, irritability and being easily startled. They may also notice that they are avoiding certain places associated with the assault/abuse, feel less interested and less joy from things they used to do and feel emotional numb, disconnected or distant.  Individuals may also withdraw from social interactions, social settings, their job and/or within relationships. Should problems like these persist and disrupt daily function for an individual’s, it may be necessary to see you G.P or mental health professional for possible posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis.

Accessing Therapy

Treatment for sexual assault/abuse often entails dealing with PTSD and its symptoms, as well as the self-doubt and self-incriminating thoughts.  Therapy for these individuals is often long-term intervention and it is important that you feel safe in the space with the therapist you choose.

Having ACC Accreditation means that clients who have experienced sexual abuse or sexual violence, are able to access psychotherapy sessions free of charge.  Should you find that you are not well suited to the therapy being offered, you are entitled to access a different therapist and still remain under ACC entitlements to intervention.  Your ACC claim will simply transfer over to your new therapist.  

What does Psychotherapy involve?

The therapeutic working alliance is the crucial and time is taken to build a therapeutic relationship.  Moursund & Erksine (2004, pp.162-163) offer that the “relationship gives an intervention its impact, makes it believable, encourages the client to use it as a way of experimenting with new ways of thinking and feeling about himself and his world”.   

Psychotherapy frequently works with a client’s unconscious processes and the possibility that the client may have unconscious and/or unexpressed developmental experiences that are preverbal, never verbalised or unacknowledged – which can be the basis for fixated relational patterns or ways of behaving that seem to repeat over and over despite not necessarily liking how the behaviours or relationships maintained.  

The role of the therapist in treatment is effectively assisting clients to make conscious what is ‘unconscious’. Such unconscious memory can be potentially “felt” as physiological tensions, undifferentiated affect, longings, or repulsions and manifested as pre-reflective relational and self-regulating patterns (Erskine, 2008:136).  Relational TA psychotherapists consider “the deeper processes of change occur when the therapist and client pay attention to the emergence of these unconscious processes on a moment to moment basis in the dynamics between therapist and client” (Widdowson, 2009:57-58).  

The therapist may enquiry into some of the client’s earliest memories and ask of them attachment-based questions (George, Kaplan & Main, 1985), early trauma’s or illnesses, that derives from a developmental framework in order to learn more of how the client relates to others in their world.  

Psychotherapy is suited to most individuals who feel a need to talk.  Individuals can come with an array of personal challenges or aspects in their lives that they find challenging.  They may also attend therapy due to anger, loss, a traumatic event, stress or childhood events and experiences that seem to be occupying their minds and thoughts.