Schools of Transactional Analysis

by Tony White

The first chart indicates some of the main schools of Transactional analysis and the ego states or part of the personality where they focus. Of course, this is my view and others will agree and disagree to varying degrees.

Chart 1:

The second chart comes from G. Barnes (1977). Transactional Analysis After Eric Berne. Harper College Press. Page 14.

Chart 2:

The Radical Psychiatry are an interesting group. This is best seen in the book, Readings in Radical Psychiatry, Steiner et al.  1975. As you can see from Chart 1 they focus on the P1 ego state which they called the ‘Pig Parent’ ego state. This indicates interesting ideas about the whole basis of Transactional analysis theory of ego states.

As we are aware, Transactional Analysis originated in California in the 1960s and 70s. So, of course it will carry some of the cultural ‘flavour’ of that place and that time. Eric Berne and others were obviously influenced by their culture when developing the theory of Transactional Analysis.

That time (and place) was a time of great rebellion and anti-authoritarian sentiment and this can be seen in some of Transactional Analysis theory especially with the ‘Pig Parent’.

From the book, Radical Psychiatry:

‘The Nurturing Parent, Adult, Professor, and Natural Child are oppressed from outside as well as within the person. The Pig Parent is the enforcer of internal oppression’. (p.92)

Pig Parent comes from the word ‘Pig’ that was used to insult police and thus authority in general. At that time there was a large divide and collision between authority (Parent) and the freedom wanted by people (Child).

As you can see, the theory of personality created by Eric Berne carries a good deal of that situation. In his theory it is very easy for the P2 and C2 to collide and the P1 and C1 to collide and disagree.

So, the P2 and P1 have always carried a tone of ‘badness’ with them. They are the oppressors or enforcers or the ones that turn princesses and princes into frogs. If Eric Berne was developing his theory nowadays it might have much less of a tone of conflict between Parent and Child ego states. He might present a more conciliatory theory of personality.

Chart 3 looks at the schools from a historical perspective and we can begin to see a generational development of the schools. A first generation and second generation have developed.

Chart 3:


Finally, in Chart 4 a more detailed analysis is done of some of the schools.

Chart 4:

Tony White