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Southern Alps New Zealand

Transactional Analysis in Practice


Transactional analysts work in four fields: counselling, education, organisations, and psychotherapy. Currently in Aotearoa New Zealand, almost all TA practitioners are training or certified in the field of psychotherapy, though there are a small number of organisational TA practitioners in this country. 

Following further training, some TA practitioners go on to become trainers and/or supervisors, i.e., a Provisional Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst, and then a (full) Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst (or a Teaching Transactional Analyst, or a Supervising Transactional Analyst).

Smiling Teacher in adult education class
Stand-up Meeting of 3 men and a woman


TA provides a systematic approach to understanding the links between human needs and behaviours, and the ways in which organisations are effective or ineffective in solving their problems and serving their customers.

Organisational transactional analysts specialise in understanding group dynamics and leadership styles and employ a number of concepts from TA theory which relate specifically to organisational life, such as the analysis of transactions in organisations; time structuring and time management management; cycles of development for handling change; and the analysis of organisational scripts, all of which can help clarify and  give direction to organisational development.

Transactional analysis working in and with organisations emphasise facilitating effective communication, avoiding non-productive competition and conflict, and developing more effective problem-solving strategies. 


According to the Certifications and Examinations Handbook (ITAA IBoC, 2022) 'The psychotherapeutic process enables the client to recognize and change archaic, self-limiting patterns' (Section 5, page 2); as Berne (1966) himself put it: 'to fight the past in the present in order to assure the future.’ (p. 250)

TA psychotherapy is conducted in groups as well in with individuals, is offered usually on a weekly basis, and may be long-term or short-term.

Psychotherapy trainees and certified transactional analysts (Psychotherapy) observe clear ethical principles which guide their conduct and professional practice, which are published in the Certification and Examinations.

Certified transactional analysts who are psychotherapists in this country will be registered with the Psychotherapists Board of Aotearoa New Zealand [insert link] and, thereby, will observe its Standards of Ethical Conduct [insert link]. They may also be members of the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists (NZAP) and, thereby, observe its Code of Ethics.

Middle-aged man in a Psychotherapy session
Young teenage male in a counselling session


TA counselling is a professional activity within a contractual relationship. The counselling process enables clients and client systems to develop awareness, options and skills for problem management and personal development in daily life, through the enhancement of the individual's strengths and resources. The aim is to increase the client's autonomy in relation to the social, professional and cultural environment.

Clients may seek counselling about a particular issue that they are dealing with or for personal development. Crucial to counselling is the establishment of an empathic, trusting relationship between client and counsellor. It is through this relationship that clients can explore issues of concern and arrive at their own solutions. It is also through this process that they will increase their personal awareness.

Counselling may happen in many different settings, for example, schools, colleges, private practice and NGO’s and can be for individuals, couples or families.


TA education is for people who work in any area of education. This could be working with children and adolescents, with teachers, with school counsellors, with school/university administrators, with teams or whole schools.

In its educational application, TA offers a model for understanding personality, human development, communication and personal life patterns in an educational context. The aim is to further personal and professional growth.

Three philosophical concepts underpin TA in education:

  1. Respect for the dignity of all human beings and empathic acceptance of them is central to successful relationships between teachers and learners. Transactional analysis describes this concept as the 'I'm OK - You're OK' position.

  2. People at all ages and stages of development are capable of learning to take responsibility for their decisions and actions.

  3. Educational difficulties can be addressed effectively with co-operative goodwill and a coherent theoretical framework which clarifies the human dynamics involved.

Modern Education Center with 2 young people learning

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