Transactional Analysis

Transactional Analysis was developed by Eric Berne, a psychoanalyst trying to explain human behaviour. The original versions did focus on behaviour and neglected emotions and thoughts.


Two modes descibre our inner child behaviour.

The adapted child – I am observant of others (especially parents or superiors) rules and expectations. Though the opposite, rebelling against rules is also considered part of the adapted child, since the rules still guide my behaviour, only I try to do the opposite.

The free child – I behave free from expectancy and follow my emotions. I can be playful, or sad, or angry but easily lost in those emotions as well. In this state, I simply do what I want without regard for rules or consequences.

Both child modes can be positive or negative depending on the situation. If these modes are not adaptive to situations, the consequences tend to become problematic.

If as a child I had learned that being sad meant other people would take care of me and help me, I might get stuck in that mode instead of finding solutions myself. In this case, the adapted child would have too much of an influence on my behaviour later in life and limit myself as well as others.

Also the free child of course, if dominant regardless of situation, could become problem creating. If I were to just be playful even in serious environments, I might run into conflicts with others – or more serious sides of myself as well.


The adult mode focuses on possible actions in the present being aware of all the options, connected to their own emotions but not governed by them.



For the parent ego state, again two modes are described:

Controlling Parent –


Nurturing Parent


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