One important aspect of TA theory is that of the decisional nature of the model.
For example, one belief of TA is that every one of us decides our own behaviour, thoughts, and feelings, and that we all ultimately define our own life course. Therefore, while we are free to make our own decisions in life (and from this flows the important concept of equality), we are also equal, free, and at the same time responsible for our own actions.
A client’s experiences are different to those of the therapist and as a part of open communication, it is important to acknowledge those differences.
Here is an example:
Kieran came to therapy about a drinking problem. He was very keen to know if his therapist (a male) also consumed alcohol because it was important for him to know whether they had a common experience. The therapist told him that he did. Kieran then divulged that as a teenager he had been sexually assaulted by a female relative. The therapist told him that this was not something he had previously experienced. That was the difference between them.
The therapist was then able to talk about the experience with Kieran and empathise with his guilt and confusion. It was only then that Kieran visibly relaxed. His shoulders became less hunched, his facial expression looked less tense, and the acknowledged difference of experience allowed effective work to begin.
Richard Mottram BSc (Arch), AADip, Dip (Couns), MBACP (Accred)