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Anxiety and Transactional Analysis

Updated: Jan 30


It's taken me around 5 months to finally publish this blog. Something was getting in my way. Perhaps a need for it to be perfect. I'll talk more about that later.

In this blog I am going to explain how Transactional Analysis (TA) can be helpful when thinking about and working with anxiety.

In TA there is the concept of ego states.

There are 3 ego states in Transactional Analysis (TA) these are Parent, Adult and Child. When we refer to someone in their Child ego state we don’t mean that they are lying on the floor in a Supermarket somewhere having a tantrum because they can’t have sweets… we mean that they are reacting as if they are responding from a child place. For example “You’re useless” and the other person responds “I know. I’m sorry” is a parent to Child transaction. Messages from our Parent ego state might sound like ‘You must’ ‘You should’

Parent - replaying a recording of somebody else. Important figures in life. EG: Don’t walk on the carpet in your shoes. Don’t make a mess. What are you wearing? Put your coat on before you go outside. Make sure you eat all your Dinner or you won’t get a pudding etc

Adult - When we are in our ‘adult’ we are in the present

Child - When in this ego state we are replaying thoughts, feelings and behaviours from childhood.

So what do these ego states mean in terms of anxiety? When we are anxious, we tend to be in our Child or Parent ego states. Our Adult ego state is less available to us. One of the goals of therapy, then, is to make the Adult ego state more available. This is done by strengthening the Adult and decontaminating both the Parent and Child Ego states.

Try noticing what ego state you are in as you go about your day.


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