Redecision Therapy
Transactional Analysis Principles Combined with Gestalt
Liz Gregory
What is Redecision Therapy?
An interactional and contractual approach to assist members with
gaining freedom from their restrictive life scripts
 Developed in the early 1960’s by Robert Goulding M.D.
and Mary Goulding M.S. W.
 Combined their interest in Transactional Analysis (TA)
principles developed by Eric Berne along with Gestalt
techniques designed by Fritz Perls.
Historical Background of TA
 It is a theory of personality
and an extension of
psychoanalysis designed for
group treatment.
 To bring to light our
cognitive decisions that
govern our behavior.
 Berne concluded our early
childhood experiences
influence our present day
 Rationale for Group
1. Awareness
2. Yield information about
personal plan for life
3. Bring past issues into
present with members
representing family
Key Concepts
Bernes Model of Transactional Analysis
It is our “ego states” that write our life scripts. P-A-C
P= PARENT EGO: These are the values, morals, beliefs and rules you learn for living
life~ “shoulds” and “oughts.”
 Nurturing P= Affirm others but could be a “marshmellow”
 Controlling P= Structured to create success but could be critical
A= ADULT EGO: This is the non-emotional, objective, data processor of personality.
C=CHILD EGO: This is the original and most natural of who we are; feelings,
impulses. Used to form long lasting relationships.
 Natural C= Endearing, loving
 Adapted C= Respond appropriately in social situations
Key Concepts Continued
Strokes: Any act of recognition or source of stimulation
 Verbal, nonverbal, unconditional (being), conditional (doing), positive or negative.
Injunctions & Counterinjunctions: Parents issue these messages in a
nonverbal format
These internalized “do’s and don’ts, should’s and shouldn’ts” one has accepted as a
Each of us decides how we will accept them.
Decisions and Redecisions: Address decisions made in response to
injunctions and counterinjunctions. People can change by “redeciding in
the moment.”
Reexperience~ “As you speak, how old are you? What are you feeling?”
Relive in here and now
Change outcome and practice
Games People Play
 Games: An ongoing series of transactions that ends with a
negative payoff called for by the script that concludes the game
and advances some way of feeling badly.
 3 Elements
1. Complementary transactions that on surface seem plausible.
2. Ulterior transaction that is the hidden agenda.
3. A negative payoff that concludes game and is real purpose of
 3 Positions
1. Persecutor
2. Rescuer
3. Victim
Life Positions and Life Scripts
 4 Basic Life Positions
1. I’m OK- You’re OK.~ game free
2. I’m OK- You’re not OK. ~ blaming game
3. I’m not OK- You’re OK. ~ depressive, powerless game
4. I’m not OK- You’re not OK. ~ futility and despair game
 Life Script
1. No Love
2. No Mind
3. No Joy
 Script Analysis~ explore how we acquired a particular script and
discuss alternative life choices.
 Life Script Questionnaire
Script Questionnaire Example
SCRIPT QUESTIONNAIRE: These questions are designed to gain information
from the client which enables the therapist to construct a picture of both the
messages which were passed onto the child and the decisions which the child
1. Imagine your mother sitting front of you and saying: “I am happy with you
when you .....”
2. Do the same for your father.
3. When you were little, what was it about you that most upset or scared your
4. When your mother lets you know that she does not like you being like this,
what do you feel?
5. What do you do when you feel like this?
6. What was it about you that most upset or scared your father?
7. How do you feel when he lets you know this?
8. What do you do when you feel like this?
9. What phrase or sentence describes your mother and her life best?
10. What phrase or sentence describes your dad and his life best?
Group Leader’s Roles
 Teacher/ Observer~ Explain structural analysis, script
analysis and game analysis.
 Consultant~ Mutual allies in the therapeutic process;
assist with creating contractual agreements.
 Facilitator~ Motivate and encourage members to fulfill
contracts; assist with acquiring the necessary tools for
 Challenger~ To challenge members to experiment with
more effective ways of being.
Stages of a Transactional Analysis
Initial Stage~
Quality of the relationship.
Get to the heart of the matter.
“What are you going to change about yourself today?”
 Treatment Contract~ State intentions and set personal goals; how and when
these goals are to be met. Developed in steps and should be open to revision.
 Key Question~ “How will you and I know when you get what you are
coming to the group for?”
Working Stage~
Explore life scripts and analyze games.
Recall and re-experience in Child ego state.
 Role reversal, future projection…
Challenged to claim responsibility and power.
Final Stage~
Tell new story.
Verbal and non-verbal stroking; support in and outside of group; explore
Application of TA in Schools
 Structured approach is easily understood by children of
all ages.
 Allows children and adolescents to see connections between
what they learned in their family and how they currently
treat others.
 Understand concept of strokes- “warm fuzzy” or “cold
 Goal is to facilitate insight so able to assume increased
control of their thoughts.
Multicultural Populations
 Contract safeguards against therapist’s imposing their
cultural values.
 Appealing because of it’s direct and educational
approach to personal development.
 Egalitarian and empowering approach is positive factor
for women.
 Assists in exploring the influence gender socialization
has had on a person’s life script.
Contributions and Strengths of
Transactional Analysis and
Redecision Therapy
Conceptual framework for understanding reason behind early decisions
and how they relate to present self-defeating life scripts.
 Members are invested both cognitively and emotionally.
Contracts equalize the power base between leader and members.
Brief, focused, structured psycho-educational approach.
Uses a variety of techniques that appeal to a number of populations.
 Business
 Prison Inmate
 Drug Rehab
 Lack of empirical validation.
 Could lean primarily on cognitive awareness.
 Using labels (ego states) and contracts may take away
from genuine contact.
Corey, G. (2008). Theory and Practice of Group Counseling. Belmont,
CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.
Elliott, K. & M. (2011, May 27th). Re: Transactional Analysis: Bernes’ TA’s
Study Notes. Retrieved from
For further information on Transactional Analysis:
 Goulding, R. (1997). Changing Lives Through Redecision Therapy.
 Berne, Eric. (1996). Games People Play: The Basic Handbook on Transactional
 Steiner, C. (1974). Scripts People Live: Transactional Analysis of Life Scripts