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Transactional Analysis

Finding out about the different styles of psychotherapy used to treat addiction is an important step in choosing the correct alcohol rehab program for yourself or your loved one. Every alcohol rehab centre employs different therapeutic methods and approaches when tackling addiction, and not all of these are suited to everyone. Transactional analysis is one method of understanding and treating alcohol addiction, and it expands on Freud’s concept of the ego in order to explain mental issues and problems in “transactions” with others.

Freud split the mind into three distinct areas, the id, ego and superego. The id is thought to be responsible for a person’s raw desires, the superego for morals and the ego for mediating between the two and coming to a realistic conclusion. In transactional analysis, the ego is split into three different areas, the Adult, Child and Parent. Understanding these areas and how they function in different “transactions” (meaning conversations or meetings) enables you to understand the causes of various issues.

In transactional analysis, the Child is the ego state associated with the internal feelings and events which occur in response to stimuli in the external world. This section of the ego records information from birth to around five years of age, and also focuses on creation, recreation, intimacy and spontaneity. The Child itself can be split into the natural, adaptive and “little professor.” The natural child likes to play, isn’t self-aware and makes non-speech sounds such as “wheeee” or “wooo.” The adaptive child responds to the world around it by changing or rebelling against it, and the little professor likes to experiment with new things.

The Parent is a counterpart to the Child in transactional analysis, and it focuses on the external events which occur in the first five years of life. Unlike the Child, the emotions or internal events do not come into play, only the actions of external agents, who will mainly be the person’s parents. The Parent is split into the controlling and the nurturing Parent. The nurturing Parent is often thought of as a mother figure, which focuses on soothing the Child and protecting it. The controlling Parent is the authoritarian side, which attempts to control the Child’s behaviour and help it function in society.

The final ego state identified by transactional analysis is the Adult. This is the rational portion of the brain, and the one which is nurtured and encouraged in therapy using the system. It is unaffected by emotions, instead being intent on evaluating the data from the Child and Parent and determining which statements are accurate in relation to reality. For example, if the Parent says “don’t take alcohols” and the child wants to see what they’re like, the Adult will learn about how alcohols can destroy your life and conclude that the Parent is right.

Applying transactional analysis to alcohol rehab programs is relatively straightforward. When people have personal issues, it is likely to be related to an underdeveloped Adult, and therefore the increased influence of the less rational Child and Parent. If there is a problem between two people, it is usually related to “crossed wires,” meaning that one person is addressing the others’ Adult and receiving a response from the Child, or example.

The first thing the therapist does is to establish an agreement with the patient (that they are going to tackle their alcohol addiction) to ensure that the two communicate as Adults during the sessions. The therapist then strengthens the person’s Adult and observes the transactions the person has with others. This can be used to determine how their personal issues might be causing their addiction.

Transactional analysis helps during alcohol rehab by allowing the person to make rational decisions rather than relying on the irrational elements of their ego. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, please get in touch with us for free advice on the different alcohol rehab centres and treatment options available. We have a detailed knowledge of the different facilities available and their suitability for different individuals. You shouldn’t struggle with addiction alone; pick up the phone and get in touch!


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