Structural Analysis, Game Analysis and Script Analysis in Transactional Analysis Theory

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Existential Therapy: Definition & Key Concepts

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Important Concepts in TA
  • 0:42 Structural Analysis
  • 2:38 Game Analysis
  • 4:48 Script Analysis
  • 6:21 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lisa Roundy

Lisa has taught at all levels from kindergarten to college and has a master's degree in human relations.

Structural analysis, game analysis, and script analysis are all essential parts of transactional analysis therapy. This lesson will explore these concepts and why they are important.

Important Concepts in TA

Transactional analysis has many different approaches important to its analysis of a person and their behavior patterns. Let's start with some examples that we will examine as we learn about the three important concepts of TA: structural analysis, game analysis and script analysis:

  • Consider a person that acts like a child at times.
  • Someone who always seems to have a reason why they can't change.
  • Think of a person who seems to be directing their life toward a goal that they are trying to avoid.

Keep these in mind, and see if you can match the example to each of the concepts that we will discuss.

Structural Analysis

We'll start with structural analysis, but before we describe it further, let's review the ego states. You may remember from other lessons that there are three ego states in transactional analysis theory: the Parent, the Adult and the Child. Our simplified explanation of these ego states is: the Parent is a taught concept, the Adult is a learned concept. The Child is a felt concept.

Eric Berne, who developed transactional analysis theory, felt that it was important for a person to understand and identify when different ego states were being used. This is what is meant by structural analysis: a method in which a person learns to identify their ego states and becomes aware of the way their Parent, Adult and Child function.

When a person understands which of their ego states is taking part in different life transactions, they know what reaction their behavior is based on. This knowledge can help them come up with more appropriate options and resolve unwanted patterns of behavior they feel are difficult to change.

Remember in the beginning of the lesson where we imagined someone who acts childlike? This might make sense if they're primarily communicating and making decisions based on their Child ego state.

Let's think of an example. Imagine a person refuses to cook on a stove. The person rationalizes that they are unsure they can properly work the stove and have not had an experience with this, so it is better to avoid using the stove. They think that they are making a reasonable decision because they believe that their Adult ego state is in control. In reality, they do not cook on the stove because the Child is in control and telling them to be afraid.

This is a bit of a silly example, but it makes it easy to see how structural analysis, or understanding our personal use of ego states, is essential for finding deeper meaning in the interactions that take place in our daily lives.

Game Analysis

Next let's look at game analysis. Since we aren't talking about a board game, let's define the concept of a game first.

Berne described a game as an ongoing series of ulterior transactions that lead to a predictable outcome. Ulterior transactions are complex interactions that involve more than two ego states and send a disguised message. In other words, you are playing a game if you are trying to accomplish something other than what you are outwardly expressing.

Let's look at an example.

This game will have two players. We will call them Player 1 and Player 2.

Player 1 wants to lose some weight and mentions this to Player 2. Player 2 would suggest, 'You could go to a gym.' And Player 1 would say, 'Yes, but I can't afford a gym membership.'

Next, Player 2 would suggest something like, 'You could eat healthier meals.' And Player 1 would respond, 'Yes, but I don't have time to prepare those types of meals.'

Next Player 2 might suggest, 'You could start jogging around your neighborhood in the evening.' And Player 1 would respond, 'Yes, but my neighborhood isn't safe.'

This would continue until Player 2 runs out of suggestions. At this point, Player 1 is the winner because they have successfully avoided all of Player 2's suggestions. Their ultimate goal was to avoid having to lose weight even though they claim they want to do so. Does this remind you of the person at the beginning of the lesson who always seems to have a reason why they can't change?

Game analysis is the act of observing and understanding what games are played, what the end results will be and how these games interfere with a person's relationships.

Some important game variables are:

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account