For my part, I have dared to offer some major modifications of Berne’s concepts, particularly regarding what he called “games” and “scripts”, as well as developing a new view of what he referred to as “rackets” and racketeering. I discuss these later in this article, but before I do, I want to summarize the concepts and techniques that I consider indispensable to working as a therapist using transactional analysis. I will do so as simply as I can, so some of the theoretical material I will present here may suffer from some oversimplification and even some distortions, although I stand behind it.
Since Berne called himself a “better Freudian than the psychoanalysts” (E. Berne, personal communication, August l965), I will begin by mentioning some general psychological assumptions based on Freud’s discoveries They were revolutionary in their time, more than l00 years ago, but are now so much a part of common discourse that they may seem obvious. However I will list them hereunder because they underlie all “talk therapy”. However you may want to skip to the next section for tenets of TA.
UNDERLYING TENETS FROM FREUD
1. However rational, conscious, and capable of exerting will power human beings may be, they are nevertheless highly influenced, (often even governed) by instincts and/or drives that “energize” their thoughts and feelings and often determine their behavior.
2. These instincts and/or drives usually affect us outside of conscious awareness. They operate in the unconscious, which, as the name implies, differs from consciousness of self, or the “ego” (I, me,) that represents our identity.
3. To the conscious ego, Freud added the “super-ego”, which corresponds to conscience, and the “Id”, a cauldron of diverse untamed instincts and drives operating unconsciously. These keep affecting the individual, even as the ego seeks to control them, or to “sublimate” (transform) their manifestations into more socially acceptable channels. (e.g. the wish to murder and “cut up” people may be sublimated by becoming a surgeon who saves lives by “cutting up” patients.)