A brief history by Felipe Garcia, edited and updated by Bobbie Barry and Lucy Freedman.
In January 1982 at the Winter Congress of the International Transactional Analysis Association (ITAA) in Monterey, California, Felipe Garcia called an organizational meeting of interested US members of ITAA to begin work on founding a USA TA association. The need had become obvious as Felipe, then co-chair of the ITAA Membership Committee, was developing an international network of regional and national coordinators of TA members to work more effectively with the central office of ITAA. The network of coordinators was also intended to nurture the ITAA in local and state communities by forming telephone committees and seminars to serve as a forum for Transactional Analysts. By that time, most other countries in the world had developed their own national associations, and regional multi-national groups formed from these associations were beginning to emerge.
The ITAA was often relating to its members through these national and multi-national organizations. It was apparent that if the ITAA was to become a truly international organization rather than a US organization with worldwide membership, the US was going to have to develop its own national organization and join the growing community of national associations. In the spring of 1982, Muriel James, President of ITAA, extended her support for a USA TA organization.
An article was published in the Script newsletter of ITAA announcing the formation of the USATAA. A request for $25 founding membership dues was made. Twenty-seven persons joined then. This group planned an organizational meeting which was held in Snowmass, Colorado, in August 1982 at the ITAA Summer Conference.
At a party given by the emerging US organization, 133 members paid $25 dues thanks to the recruitment work done by Fanita English, Muriel James, Felipe Garcia, and many others. The party in Snowmass was a great event. An atmosphere of unity and mutual support prevailed.
The USATAA was on its way. The intent of the organization was to create a grass-roots, non-hierarchical, cooperative, truly democratic form of government with equal distribution of power among the voting members, avoiding centralized power, and to use TA philosophy of OK-OK transactions in maintaining a spontaneous, intimate, aware, and responsible organization.
Felipe Garcia was unanimously appointed Coordinator for the Association; Abe Wagner, Secretary; Edie Bogusky, Treasurer, Marge Zerin, Program Coordinator; and Maryln Crossen, Membership Coordinator. A newsletter began to be published periodically by Felipe Garcia.
Many others have worked closely with the organization: Brenda Schaeffer served as Social Coordinator; Lucy Freedman as Liaison to ITAA Long Range Planning and World Integration Committee; Fanita English as recruiter and stimulator; Muriel James as coordinator of the first national conference in 1984 in San Francisco. Mary Goulding and Lucy Freedman assisted Muriel James with the program for the Conference and Penny Field-Orfila with registration.
Growth and Development of USATAA
USATAA was originally incorporated in Texas, then moved to California where the main office is located. Since its founding, USATAA has been organized into eight regions. We have also maintained our council of coordinators and regional representatives, elected annually by the membership. See structure for more details.
Over time, the regions as well as the national organization have held successful conferences and gatherings. In recent years, we have held annual Gatherings at Frenchman’s Cove, Jamaica, usually the first week of February. This offers an intimate exchange of ideas and experiences in our open space format, and is a welcome winter break, especially for people in Canada and the cold Midwest and Northeast US.
A recent major event was the 2007 International TA Conference which we co-sponsored with ITAA in TA’s birthplace, San Francisco.
USATAA has focused attention on introducing TA to mental health practitioners and is inclusive of educators, organizational consultants, coaches, and others who work with people. The TA Practitioner certificate is now awarded to people who have completed our introductory modular TA training program or equivalent material. We cosponsored the 2009 TA / Redecision Conference in New Orleans. With our website, training activities, conferences, and educational materials, our intention is to be the primary organization for people who practice TA in the United States.
Transactional Analysis Practitioner (TAP) Program
One recent development is the implementation of a three-tiered training program for persons applying transacational analysis in the United States. In this program, trainees can earn their Transactional Analysis Practitioner (TAP) certificate. Then, after 50 supervised hours of applying TA in their field, they can become a Transactional Analysis Advanced Practitioner (TAAP). Finally, they can receive supervision of their teaching TAP modules in order to become a Transactional Analysis Practitioner Instructor (TAPI).