South Asian Association of Transactional Analysts – SAATA – is the culmination of a movement in the history of transactional analysis training in India.
Fr. George Kandathil returned to India in the late 1960’s as the first Teaching Member of transactional analysis certified by the ITAA. His encounter with transactional analysis was not planned; it was God sent, I must say. The other Teaching Members certified after Fr. George were Carlos Welch and Saroj Welch, Pearl Drego and Oswald Summerton. These five were the only transactional analysts in India for a long period of time, for over two decades, to be precise. Pearl and Os were active in the North of India while Fr. George, Carlos and Saroj were based in the South. Fr. George established ICTA (Institute for Counselling and Transactional Analysis) in 1973 and actively trained in transactional analysis in all sectors – corporate, NGO’s, educational institutions, and missionaries. There were in depth training programmes conducted in ICTA regularly. But professional certification training was the brain wave of Unnikammu Moideenkutty, who was introduced to transactional analysis through the flagship programme of ICTA known as ‘Peace Programme’. Unnikammu realized the need to build up a second generation professionals in transactional analysis using Fr. George’s expertise and knowledge. His thinking was, if we do not pick on Fr. George’s brain right away, we will lose a great legacy. He motivated Fr. George to revise his networking with the international transactional analysis community and also was instrumental in starting the affiliation process with the ITAA. He structured the first training programme in 1989 leading to CTA, the first level certification of the ITAA. This first transactional analysis training group (TATG) met in Cochin with nine participants, every month for two days.
In 1992 Sr. Annie Maria who already was training with Fr. George for the last many years took her CTA exam in the USA. That was a milestone in India’s history of transactional analysis training and certification.
ICTA was affiliated to the ITAA in 1992 and the first international conference was conducted in Cochin in 1993, where the pioneer group of advanced trainees of ICTA, under the supervision of Fr. George took their CTA oral exam. It was a proud moment for Fr. George and in the annals of the history of transactional analysis in India. All the nine candidates who presented themselves for the exam passed extremely well. It was the first oral exam that the ITAA conducted in the subcontinent and the first exposure of the international transactional analysts to the depth and standards of the Indian transactional analysts.
Thereafter it was one big momentum. Fr. George and Sr. Annie (who by now became a PTSTA) started many more training groups. Unnikammu who by then was doing his Masters in Organisational Behaviour in Ohio University also took his CTA in Minneapolis and I took my TEW there. The next year three more Indian CTA’s took their TEW in Chennai and they all signed their TSTA contracts. New training groups were started in Coimbatore, Chennai and Bangalore. More than one training group was functioning in ICTA. Transactional analysis training was spreading rapidly. CTA oral exams were conducted in India almost every year. The year 1997 saw another international transactional analysis conference in India, in the city of Coimbatore. Many international stalwarts of transactional analysis like Fanita English, Carlo Moiso, and John Dusay participated in the conference. For the first time, TSTA exams were also conducted in India at this venue. As the number of professional increased, the level of transactional analysis training also went up. Networking with the international community became stronger, far and wide. Many international trainers like Julie Hay, Marijke Wusten, Charlotte Daellenbach and Elana Leigh traveled to India almost every year to share their expertise in training, run therapy marathons and to conduct exams.
In 2004, India again played host for another international conference in Bangalore by which time the Indian transactional analysis professionals had considerably increased. India had a transactional analysis community to reckon with. Robin Moslem who was the President of the ITAA in 1993 had already envisaged then and put it across to us in his farsightedness that the future for India would be to build strong regional base and work towards having enough professionals to be able to establish our own training standards like the EATA and reach a level of professional expertise that we will be able to have our own exam process which will be mutually recognised by other international transactional analysis bodies. The seed of SAATA was sown as early as that. It took us almost 13 years for that seed to germinate and for the first shoots to come out.
As the community was growing there was a need for the trainers to come together, network and deal with their own processes. Thus, in 2001 the first Trainers Process Meet (TPM) was organized. Charlotte Daellenbach, New Zealand and Elana Leigh, Australia were the process facilitators. The TPM preceded the Multi Level Training introduced by Charlotte and Elana and became an annual event. Over the next few years, the trainer’s group matured and started meeting on its own.
Now that we have enough professionals and trainees, Suriyaprakash C felt the need for regional consolidation and mooted the idea of a regional body of transactional analysis professionals. The trainers group met, discussed and ironed out our thoughts, fears and apprehensions and came to the conclusion it is time for us to form this regional body representing South Asia. It was only natural that the TPM evolved into an association. The association’s vision is to be the nodal body of South Asia for networking and developing professional competencies in transactional analysis. Thus it was conceived as a professional association of ‘Transactional Analysts’ and not a popular association of transactional analysis. The result was, nine PTSTA’s and two TSTA’s got together and formed this new body of transactional analysis professionals called the South Asian Association of Transactional Analysts (SAATA).
It is really a milestone in the dissemination and development of transactional analysis in the India subcontinent and our dream and goal is to bring in the entire South Asian region, including the Middle East, within its fold to build a strong base for this region to represent in the global transactional analysis community.
~By P. K. Saru, TSTA (P) Founder President of SAATA.