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“Dancing in Kochi” – Karen’s reflections on the past TA Conference in India

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Oct 082018

As we got closer to the time, the anticipation of another TA conference in India, grew. The warmth and connection in past Indian conferences stands out for me – people boldly give and receive positive strokes and it creates such a wonderful sense of belonging – a theme that is important for me. The enticing conference theme of The Dance of Culture felt important for me as a South African living within such a multi-cultural society.

This time the monsoon floods added another type of dance to my experience in Kochi – a dance within myself about making decisions that would both keep us safe and allow participation in the conference; a dance of both valuing international connections and a deep valuing in being a South African.

My husband was travelling with me for the first time in India. After almost three weeks exploring other parts of south India and meeting people that have been significant to me over the 11 years of coming to India, we arrived in Kochi five days ahead of the exams and conference so that we could explore together. After a brief concern with the airport being closed for a few hours when one of the dam’s shutters were opened, we arrived with no problem later that evening and had a wonderful five days exploring Fort Kochi and doing a trip on the beautiful backwaters.

And then the rains returned…..

So many things stand out for me now as I reflect on the experiences of those next four days. The conference organisers were flexible to consider, moment by moment, what the best decisions were – rearranging workshops, and ultimately deciding to end the conference one day earlier. What a strong and compassionate team they were! There was a balance of enabling those presenters and participants who had been able to get there, to still experience deep moments of connection and learning, as well as sensibly considering the safety of people. At the same time there was always the concern for the people who had lost everything – the generous donation of money that was collected to support relief efforts was heartening.





A home under water in the floods a bit north of Kochi

Adrienne Lee’s keynote address highlighted for me the balance of autonomy and homonomy. I see Berne’s (1964) initial emphasis on autonomy as a gift to people striving to find their voice within families and systems of oppression. But autonomy alone is not enough – it can separate and divide and become all about ‘me.’ Angyl (1972) in Salters (2011) wrote about homonomy – the need for interconnectedness within and between each person’s autonomy. In South Africa we have the concept of ‘Ubuntu’ – the concept that a person is a person through other people. My own spiritual journey at present is being powerfully impacted by the writings of Dr Cynthia Bourgeault (2016) who speaks about non-duality. This is a different way of viewing the world – it takes away the subject-object way of seeing people and ideologies and moves to living from the experience of oneness that mystical expressions of many faiths, speak about. For example, in Christianity Jesus said: ‘The Father and I are one’ (John 10:30)

This sense of homonomy and non-duality was powerfully lived out during those days in Kochi. As people from outside of India were anxious about how they would return to their homes and families, the conference team and local participants went out of their way to source different travel options and make wise decisions about the planned conference events.

The experience challenged me as a white South African who comes from a privileged background. It brought back some of the colonial elements of living in a society where I have more means and privilege than others and so can make different choices. My Indian friends, with whom we would be staying for a few days back in Bangalore, initially suggested that an overnight train was a safe option. But we were only able to be on a waiting list. And my fantasy of the challenges of a twelve to fourteen hour journey on a train began to loom large. A different plan was to travel by road to Trivandrum and then book a new flight from there. I spent some time thinking deeply about the choices I made. If I took what seemed like the easier option and booked a new flight, was that betraying my friends who had chosen the more economical option? In a situation of crisis, was this coming from an I’m OK, You’re not OK attitude? What message was I sending about homonomy and interconnectedness if I chose the easier option?

As it happened, my friends also decided to do the road trip and flight from Trivandrum. and so we were able to share in that experience together.

Another poignant moment was saying goodbye to one of my SA colleagues who had chosen to leave on the Saturday, while we chose to leave on the Sunday. As we hugged goodbye we wished each other well and the message to each other was ‘Stay safe’ A few days ago we met up in South Africa and I realised the power of the South African sense of belonging as we once again hugged each other hello and I felt the tears of relief flowing. It was a powerful confirmation of my roots in South Africa, the country of my birth, despite the challenges in our country – that strong sense of belonging in this land.

I know that one of my injunctions has been ‘Don’t belong’ and my eighteen year journey with TA has in so many ways offered powerful permission to belong in a very deep way. The experience in Kochi enabled me once again to deepen this sense of belonging – with my Indian friends and international TA colleagues, and with my fellow South Africans and my homeland – what a gift!












The Namaste exercise we did at the end of the keynote from Adrienne Lee


Berne, E. (1964) Games People Play Penguin Books
Bourgeault, C (2016) The Heart of Centering Prayer – Nondual Christianity in Theory and Practice Shambala. Boulder
Salters, D (2011) Transactional analysis and Spiral Dynamics The Transactional Analysis Journal, 41, 265-276

2018 Webinar 8- Suriya C: A Physis-based Approach to Developmental TA

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Oct 042018

The webinar presents the evolving principles, tools and methodology for a physics based approached to applying TA in the developmental fields, namely education, counseling and organizational.

The webinar can be attended by anyone who is familiar with the basic concepts of TA. TA trainers and trainees of all levels will benefit from the session.

At the end of the session, participants will be able to:
1. understand the relationship between values and physis
2. list three benefits of physis as the basis for applying TA
3. identify the manifestations of their own physis in their actions


C. Suriyaprakash, PhD, is a teaching and supervising organisational transactional analyst with a mission to ‘rehumanise workplaces’. He is committed to make an impact in organizational policies and practices by transforming them into spaces for people to realise their full potential, through his breakthrough initiative programme on ‘developmental transactional analysis for organisations’. Currently he is professor of organisational behaviour at Jansons School of Business and director-facilitator with Relations Institute of Development, Coimbatore, India, offering organisational development services through consultancy, training, coaching and counselling.

2018 Webinar 7- Keith Tudor: Co-Creative Transactional Analysis

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Sep 192018

This webinar is about co-creative transactional analysis. It is aimed at participants at all levels, though people will get more from the webinar if they have read something about co-creative TA.

In this webinar, participants will:
• gain an understanding of the history, influences, and principles of co-creative TA,
• appreciate how this may be applied to TA theory and practice,
• be interested to apply this in their own work.


Dr. Tudor is a CTA and TSTA in the field of psychotherapy, with strong links with the other fields of application of TA. He is a professor of psychotherapy at Auckland University of Technology in Aotearoa, New Zealand. He has keen interest in critical thinking, and in the interplay between culture and psychotherapy and politics and psychotherapy.

2018 Webinar 5 Sandra Wilson: The influence of the coach’s unconscious mind

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Aug 032018

This webinar will introduce participants to the research conducted by the presenter into how the coach’s unconscious mind influences the coaching process. During this webinar, the presenter will share the journey of discovery for both the researcher and participants and the emergent data that identifies the coach’s relationship not only with the external parties but also with the different parts of self. There will be an explanation of the research process during which the participants travelled from mental activity, reflecting on lived experience, perceptions and events to the exploration of mental process and constructs which are inferred discovered and translated into conscious awareness throughout the research interviews.
The webinar is aimed anyone who is interested in the power of the unconscious mind, although the focus is on coaching.

1. An understanding of the omnipresence of the unconscious mind
2. An experience which encourages reflection on our own practice
3. Tool and techniques for uncovering their unconscious process in relationships with clients

Sandra’s successful consultancy experience is in working with large organisations.  Specialising in the systemic introduction of coaching, coach training, and executive coaching, she works with individuals and teams to promote change, increase competence and improve performance in the workplace.  She has a wide and diverse client base in both the public and private sectors and she works both nationally and internationally.  Sandra works with individuals and teams to support enhanced performance through effective relationships.  Sandra is a Teaching & Supervising Transactional Analyst (Organisational).   She uses transactional analysis to develop her client’s understanding of the unique role that unconscious plays in how human beings interact, communicate and build relationships.

She Master Certified Coach Status with the International Coach Federation and in 2009.  Sandra has a Professional Doctorate (DProf)in Coaching Psychology

Clients who work with Sandra can expect to experience a robust framework for professional growth without rigid formulas.



Exciting TA conference in Kochi, India – get connected!

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Aug 022018

Wonderful connections and learning moments lie ahead between the evening of Friday 17th August and Sunday 19th August as the TA community from many places converge on the beautiful city of Kochi in Kerala, India.

I am writing this from Bangalore in India, having spent 2 days with some trainees of my (usually) on-line educational TA group. Once again I am loving the vibrancy of this land – people, sights, sounds, aroma’s and such a sense of connection and connecting.

We were privileged to have a preview of one of the conference workshops from a member of the group.  Arvind Shivakumar presented a taste of his workshop – ‘Standing on the shoulders of Giants’. Using his skill of data collection and analysis, Arvind has tracked themes of articles in the TAJ over many years. We explored the theme of Empathy and it was fascinating to see how Tudor’s articles in 2011 referenced back authors of many years ago – and how those articles went right back to some of Berne’s writing in 1934. For me it shifted my perception of the rather dry and academic rigour of the need to reference things, to a fascinating emergence of the linking through the ages to tell the ever emerging story of a theme in TA.

It speaks right into the conference theme of ‘The Dance of Culture’ – how TA theory has ‘danced’ through the decades and been reinterpreted to be relevant to current cultures, challenges and emerging world views. It also inspired me to be part of this dance – and to think and write to re-imagine or newly imagine TA theory to be relevant to my lived experience in my communities. The invitation is for you to do likewise!

South Africa is well represented with workshops from Diane Salters, Alex van Oostveen and myself.

India is at the forefront of technology – they have made it possible for you to experience some of the high points of the conference through joining in the Conference Webcast of selected sessions. See to register and get a sense of the amazing spirit unfolding in Kerala!

India is always an exciting mix of work and play – here is a snapshot of me getting a ride back to my hotel by one of my trainees – two wheelers really bring out my Natural Child!


Karen Pratt
TSTA -education


2018 Webinar 4 Part 1- Trudi Newton: The social roles triangle, folktales and TA metaphors

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Jun 062018

The webinar introduces the social roles triangle as a way of describing healthy development, and explore how it can become distorted into the drama triangle. We use different folk-tales to look at how cultural messages are passed on between generations, how we can challenge them and how we create positive TA models for change.
The webinar is aimed at everyone interested in new TA thinking and personal development.
Outcomes: participants will
• meet some recent TA concepts based on ‘positive metaphors’
• have the opportunity to explore the influence of cultural stories in our development
• consider how these ideas can enhance the work we do with clients

Trudi Newton TSTA-E works internationally to facilitate radical approaches to learning and community development. Co-author of several books, including TACTICS which looks in detail at the process of learning and teaching, her most recent is Educational Transactional Analysis: an international guide to theory and practice. Trudi has guest-edited two issues of TAJ, on Education and on TA Training. She contributes to training programmes in several countries including South Africa. In 2011 she received the Muriel James Living Principles Award from ITAA and in 2017 the EATA Gold Medal in recognition of her work in developing the educational field of TA.

Layo shares her memory on a workshop by Anette Dielmann and Kathy Christina Pithan from the Berlin Conference in 2017

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May 082018

Anette Dielmann and Kathy Christina Pithan observe that the effectiveness of TA is very much evident in relationships – with ourselves, our clients and systems. In their workshop in Berlin on 28th July 2017, Anette and Kathy demonstrated how they make use of the special relationship competence of animals in their practice, specifically horses and dogs. Thinking back to this workshop almost a year later, snapshots of memory form in my mind’s eye. I remember what had meaning for me on that day.

We are sitting in a circle, Kathy’s two dogs in the middle, greeting participants, accepting cuddles and pats. They go very close to some people, keep more distance from others.

A woman wants to explore her behaviour in relationships. She chooses a dog to do this with. The exercise: connect with the dog, ask her (the dog) to get onto a shiny carpet of silver foil and stay on it for a set time (a few seconds). The client connects strongly with the animal, speaking softly, there are many words, cooing, cuddling, patting. After a while, they begin to walk around together, the dog eager at first, the human very caring, looking big and somewhat hesitant. When the woman steps onto the carpet, the dog does not follow, seems unsure. The exercise looks difficult. I feel tension in the room. The facilitators ask the client how she feels. I recognise TA concepts in their questions. The client reflects with the coaches around “who is OK in this relationship and who is not”, “who is taking care of who”, “how is responsibility held”, “how does discounting self and others show up typically”.

The facilitators end the exercise when the client has recognised her own patterns, decided what she wants to work on developing for herself – in her own context. Everyone relaxes. The dog plays on the silver carpet.

The aim was not for the client to become an expert in getting a dog to do what she wants. It was to support the client in becoming more of an expert on herself.

How coaching sessions with direct feedback from animals (responding to all that is present in the moment) can help increase a client’s self-awareness, clarity and confidence can be described theoretically at length. For me, experiencing this phenomenon has had the most profound impact.

2018 Webinar 3- Pete Shotton: This is who I am, this is where I live, this is where I learn

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May 032018

This webinar is about education and existence. Pete will explain his thinking about practice and purpose of education using ideas developed from TA theory and from existential philosophy and thinking. During the webinar, we will explore the tensions between the political and the personal in the practice of education. This webinar is aimed at practitioners who work in, or are interested in, or affected by, learning settings. Take-aways for participants include:

• an enlivened curiosity

• a desire to question the context and purpose of education

• an enhanced sense of their own place and importance within the educational process