by James R. Allen and Barbara Ann Allen

TA: Children & adolescents; Treatment planning

     The purpose of this article is to present an overall transactional analysis model of psychopathology in children and adolescents and a framework for rapid treatment planning. A number of authors have presented a variety of transactional analysis treatment methods, but these techniques have not really been synthesized into a larger, encompassing framework. It is the aim of this article to do so.


     At age 3, Marie did not differentiate between people. She called no one by name and went to everyone indiscriminately. When thwarted, she went into rages that lasted for hours. During these periods she destroyed homes and injured herself and adults, hitting, kicking, punching, pulling hair, and urinating on people.

     Her three-year life history was tragic. After removal from her schizophrenic mother’s home because of neglect and abuse, she had been ejected from nine different foster homes, leaving a series of foster mothers partially bald. In some of these homes she had been sexually abused.

     In the first year of inpatient and daytreatment therapy, she went through a number of stages. She began to distinguish one person from the others and then to call him by name. A little later, she started to carry around his photograph. This seemed to give her some comfort when he was not present. When she had a temper tantrum, however, she would threaten to tear it up. Gradually, she began actively to try to please him and two others, including her foster mother at the time. She asked us to send notes home to the latter when she behaved well for even part of a day. Then, she began to talk of absent people as nurturant and began to be helpful to other children. Three months later, she tried to get her foster mother to “get rid of this bad little girl” by raging almost constantly for two days, but the foster mother held firm. With each new stage, the intensity and frequency of her aggressive, destructive behaviors lessened.

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