Author : Fanita English , MSW, Teaching Member of the International Transactional Analysis Association, is an internationally known lecturer and workshop presenter. She went to an English school in Istanbul, Turkey, earned a Diploma in Psychology from the Sorbonne University, (Paris) and an MSW from Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania. She had psychoanalytic training at the Paris Psychoanalytic Institute and the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, Transactional Analysis with Eric Berne and Gestalt therapy training with Fritz Perls. From l953-56 she was the director of “Ridge Farm”, an institution for emotionally disturbed children outside Chicago. From l956-64 she was in private practice before becoming a Transactional Analyst in Chicago (where she also taught part-time at Chicago University.) In l970 she founded the “Eastern Institute for TA and Gestalt” in Philadelphia, where she practiced and taught untill l979. After l980 she worked exclusively in Europe, conducting workshops and offering lectures at a number of institutes, organizations and universities in Western Europe (Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland and Italy). She was a keynote speaker at the first two World Psychotherapy Congresses held in Austria. Fanita has written four books in German, two in French, one in Italian, and many articles and chapters of books in English. Her biography, entitled “Fanita English” was authored by Sigrid Roehl in German (Isko Press, Germany, 2004). Fanita lives in San Mateo, California.
“How did you become a transactional analyst?” I am often asked that question when I tell people what I do. I answer that originally my training as a therapist was in Freudian psychoanalysis and included eight years of personal psychoanalysis. I practiced as such for l4 years, treating both children and adults. Increasingly, the process seemed overly ponderous, time consuming and therefore not cost effective for patients, but I could find no better techniques.
Then, in l965, I read Dr. Eric Berne’s (l961) “Transactional Analysis in Psychotherapy” and soon after I took time off from my practice in Chicago to go to California to train with the late David Kupfer at the then recently founded Transactional Analysis Training Institute in Carmel. While there I also had many stimulating contacts with Berne and personally experienced what many, including myself, call the life-saving value of “TA”. On returning to Chicago I transformed my practice to Transactional Analysis, started doing workshops to teach this method, and have been a dedicated transactional analyst ever since, although nowadays, partially retired, I limit myself to conducting workshops in various countries.
Inevitably, after finding out how I became involved, there follows a question such as: “And just what is Transactional Analysis?” Sometimes the questioner is just curious; at other times he or she is considering making a referral or perhaps signing up for a workshop or joining a TA Association. To some, I give a long answer, covering a good deal of information, with others I summarize briefly.