A summary of TA concepts

Substitute feelings and attitudes It is also during the 2 – 6 year age period that children learn words that correspond to their emotions, so they can correctly name and identify a feeling or an attitude (e/g. “I’m scared”, or….happy, angry, jealous, sad, etc. Unfortunately in many families certain emotions are mislabeled or discounted; children from such families may grow up either without the ability to recognize some of their own feelings or emotional reactions, or believing that certain feelings are monstrous, while the manifestation of other feelings or attitudes will gain them approval. For instance, a child may told when his dog dies: “at the death of his little dog: “Aren’t you lucky! Be happy you’re getting a bigger dog!” without any recognition that he/she may feel sad and need to grieve. Having been stroked if he seems glad and discounted if he seems sad, the idea that he might be sad at times just does not exist in his consciousness. He may grow up showing cheerful happiness or a “stiff upper lip”, whenever grief tries to surface, even at times of severe loss. This is how some people learn to substitute anger for sadness, or sadness for anger or fear, or generosity for greed or envy, and so on. Once such individuals are grown, people around them often sense that there is something phony when they exhibit such substitute feelings. Berne called such feelings “rackets”, because he thought that people who manifested what were obviously phony feelings or attitudes were extorting strokes the way gangster racketeers extort “contributions” to false charities. In my opinion, he did not sufficiently allow for the fact that the substitution process develops at such an early age that it is unconscious and not deliberately exploitative. Unfortunately, using the term “rackets” to refer to substitute feelings or attitudes is sill part of transactional analysis vocabulary.

Posted in Frontpage Article, TA Articles.


  1. This is the first time that I heard about this South Asian TA Association.

    Presently I am a member of ITAA. I am here residing in the Philippines.

    How can I be member of SAATA?

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