TA is a humanistic philosophy. This means we focus on each individual's potential and stress the importance of growth and personal development. We fundamentally believe that people are innately good and that mental and social problems result from deviations from this natural tendency.
The fundamental beliefs of TA are:
People are OK. This means: you and I both have worth, value and dignity as people. I accept myself as me and I accept you as you. This is a statement of essence rather than behaviour.
At times, I may not like nor accept what you do. But always, I accept what you are. Your essence as a human being is OK with me, even though your behaviour may not be.
Everyone has the capacity to think. Therefore, it is the responsibility of each of us to decide what he or she wants from life. Each individual will ultimately live with the consequences of what he or she decides.
People decide their own destiny, and these decisions can be changed.
From these assumptions there follow two basic principles of TA practice:
TA is contractual If you are a TA practitioner and I am your client, then we take joint responsibility for achieving whatever change(s) I want to make. This follows from the assumption that you and I relate on equal terms. It is not up to you to do things to me. Nor do I come to you expecting you will do everything for me.
Since we both take part in the process of change, it is important that we both know clearly how the task will be shared. Therefore we enter into a contract.
TA involves open communication. When Eric Berne developed TA he insisted that the client, should have full information about what is going on in their work together. This follows from the basic assumptions that people are OK and that everyone can think. This was a radical move for psychotherapy in the 1960’s and remains a cornerstone of TA practice in all 4 fields today. The practitioner will often encourage the client to learn the ideas of TA. Thus the client can take an equal role in the process of change.
To help in communication, the ideas of TA are expressed in simple language. Instead of the long Latin- or Greek-derived words customary in some other branches of psychology, TA speaks in familiar words: Parent, Adult, Child, game, script, stroke etc.