Jonathan Lake

Counselling & psychotherapy
Corporate consultancy
Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) for Trauma
Executive Coaching
Workplace Mediation

Jonathan's approach

Jonathan's theoretical approach is based on transactional analysis with use of psychodynamic theory and analysis from a relational perspective.

What is Transactional Analysis?

Transactional Analysis can best be introduced by a quote from one of its most popular books, 'TA Today':

"Transactional analysis is a theory of personality and a systematic psychotherapy for personal growth and personal change'. That's the definition of TA suggested by the International Transactional Analysis Association.'

"In fact, TA today is all this and much more. 

"Among psychological approaches, transactional analysis is outstanding in the depth of its theory and the wide variety of its applications. As a theory of personality, TA gives us a picture of how people are structured psychologically. To do so it uses a three-part model known as the ego-state model. The same model helps us understand how people function - how they express their personality in terms of behavior.  TA also provides a theory of communication. This can be extended to give a method of analyzing systems and organizations.... 

"Outside the therapeutic field, TA is used in educational settings. It helps teachers and learners to stay in clear communication and avoid setting up unproductive confrontations. It is particularly suitable for use in counselling. 

"TA is also a powerful tool in management and communications training and in organizational analysis. Among the many other applications of TA are its uses by social workers, police and probation authorities, and ministers of religion. TA can be used in any field where there is a need for understanding of individuals, relationships and communication."

Key Ideas in Transactional Analysis

Ego States

Eric Berne (the founder of Transactional Analysis) made complex interpersonal transactions understandable when he recognized that the human personality is made up of three "ego states"; each of which is an entire system of thought, feeling, and behaviour from which we interact with each other. The Parent, Adult and Child ego states and the interaction between them form the foundation of transactional analysis theory. These concepts have spread into many areas of therapy, education, and consulting as practiced today.


Transactions refer to the communication exchanges between people. Transactional analysts are trained to recognize which ego states people are transacting from and to follow the transactional sequences so they can intervene and improve the quality and effectiveness of communication.


Berne observed that people need strokes, the units of interpersonal recognition, to survive and thrive. Understanding how people give and receive positive and negative strokes and changing unhealthy patterns of stroking are powerful aspects of work in transactional analysis.

Games People Play

Berne defined certain socially dysfunctional behavioural patterns as "games." These repetitive, devious transactions are intended to obtain strokes but instead they reinforce negative feelings and self-concepts, and mask the direct expression of thoughts and emotions. Berne tagged these games with such instantly recognizable names as "Why Don't You, Yes But," "Now I've Got You, You SOB (Son of a Bitch)," and "I'm Only Trying to Help You." Berne's book Games People Play (see recommended books section) achieved wide popular success in the early 60's.

Life Script

Eric Berne proposed that dysfunctional behaviour is the result of self-limiting decisions made in childhood in the interest of survival. Such decisions culminate in what Berne called the "life script," the pre-conscious life plan that governs the way life is lived out. Changing the life script is the aim of transactional analysis psychotherapy. Replacing violent organizational or societal scripting with cooperative non-violent behavior is the aim of other applications of transactional analysis.

I'm OK - You're OK

"I'm OK - You're OK" is probably the best-known expression of the purpose of transactional analysis: to establish and reinforce the position that recognizes the value and worth of every person. Transactional analysts regard people as basically "OK" and thus capable of change, growth, and healthy interactions.


Transactional analysis practice is based upon mutual contracting for change. Transactional analysts view people as capable of deciding what they want for their lives. Accordingly transactional analysis does its work on a contractual basis between the client and the therapist, educator, or consultant. This helps to set boundaries and realise expectations for both the client and the psychotherapist.

Recommended books about transactional analysis

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TA Today : A New Introduction to Transactional Analysis
Ian Stewart & Vann Joines

An accessible text book that explains the basic concepts of Transactional Analysis as a school of thought in psychotherapy and how the theory is applied in both individual and group settings. Useful for trainees, people in organisational settings and clients who would like to know more about their therapy.

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Games People Play
Eric Berne

This book was how Transactional Analysis was first introduced in the 1960s as a concept to the general public. Explains about the games we play in life, why we play them and what each contributor gets from playing games with others. The author is the founder of the concept of Transactional Analysis.

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Counselling for Toads
Robert De Board

An eloquent introduction into the world of Transactional Analysis counselling and psychotherapy. Based on the story of The Wind In The Willows, Toad of Toad Hall goes into Transactional Analysis psychotherapy with his therapist the stork. Concepts are gently introduced in the setting of personal issues that Toad would like to resolve, as well as difficulties he sometimes has relating to his friends Ratty and Mole. An interesting and digestible introduction to the key concepts and styles of Transactional Analysis.

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Handbook of Individual Therapy 
Windy Dryden (Editor)

Also recommended.