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Eric Berne


Eric Berne explains that the nature of conversations (transactions) is governed by the
‘nature’ or ‘voice’ each person is using at that time. Knowing the nature of
transactions enables them to better managed. Everyone can choose the nature
that they interact with, but it requires deliberate choice and is difficult.


Three Natures

The most basic form of Transactional Analysis explains that we each have three
natures (alter egos).

Parent – The Taught Voice
Child – The Felt Voice
Adult – The Thought Voice



Berne explains how these different voices interact together during transactions. Simply put:

I do something. You do something back.

Complimentary Transactions

This is effective communication. The messages between recipients travel along
the same path.

Example: Child nature speaks to a parent nature, the parent nature responds as
a parent voice to a child.


Crossed Transactions


Ineffective communication, marked by misconstrued jumbled messages.
The paths of communication have become crossed and needs to be changed.

Example: Child nature speaks to a parent nature, but the parent nature responds
as adult voice to child.



Further Resources

For more information about the Transactional Analysis approach, you can visit

Transactional Analysis

Connected themes

Connected theories


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