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Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy Research Group (TARG)

Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy Research Group (TARG)

Chair: Dr Joel Vos, PhD, Cpsychol

Dr Biljana van Rijn, DPsych, TSTA (psychotherapy), UKCP, HCPC

            Prof Charlotte Sills, TSTA (psychotherapy)

            Dr Antoinette Davey

External Consultant: Prof William B.Stiles


TA is a theory and practice developed by Eric Berne in the 1950s, employed in   psychotherapy and counselling, as well as organisational and educational contexts. Over the years, Transactional Analysis has evolved into different approaches to practice (also known as ‘schools’). At Metanoia Institute we practice a Relational approach to Transactional Analysis developed by Hargaden and Sills (2002) which focuses on both conscious and unconscious relational dynamics within the therapeutic process, whilst appreciating and teaching the whole range of TA approaches to practice.

The aim of our research group is to develop research into Transactional Analysis psychotherapy, examining theory, practice and clinical outcomes and to this end we have two main aims::

  •   To   contribute to the body of research evidence of its effectiveness in clinical practice.  We aim to develop current and previous research within MI to build experimental research projects, with research partners from our European (EATA) and international communities (ITAA).

Currently, routine outcomes monitoring (ROM) within the research clinic (MCPS) focuses on outcomes within a naturalistic practice setting. Smaller projects using ROM have been conducted within primary care settings in the UK, as well as a comparative research project with clinical environments in Spain.

  • As well as developing research-based evidence of effectiveness, TARG aims to develop and build theory and practice of Transactional Analysis, and in different practice settings. To reach this we envisage using different methodologies, such as  theory building case studies and other qualitative and mixed method approaches.


The group is open to staff and student researchers who are interested in developing projects in these areas.

Dr Biljana van Rijn UKCP Research Conference June 2023 presentation slides

Current projects:

  • Brief Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy Pilot Study (BTAP-PS).

PI: Dr Joel Vos Research (Metanoia Institute) team: Dr Biljana van Rijn (Metanoia Institute); Dr Enrico Benelli (Padova University, Italy); Laura Bastianelli (IRPIR Laboratory, Italy); Dr Antoinette Davey (Metanoia Institute)

The aim of this study is to conduct a pilot study into the experiences and effectiveness of delivering Brief Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy to clients with mild or moderate depression and is a development of the feasibility study. This study aims to examine the experiences and effectiveness within a larger sample. The research questions and methods are the same as in the feasibility study.  The study is currently has been submitted for an ethical approval.


  • Assimilating Problematic Life Script Themes in Clinical Supervision. Case Study research.

PI: Dr Biljana van Rijn; James Agar; Prof Charlotte Sills; Prof William B. Stiles

The aim of these qualitative theory-building case studies is to assess the role of the supervisee's script cycle (Lapworth & Sills, 2011; Sills & Mazzetti, 2009) and the assimilation of problematic script themes in the process of professional supervision. The researchers aim to identify manifestations of the therapist's problematic script themes, to observe whether and how these moments were addressed, and to assess whether this led to successful assimilation, seeking t to evaluate the theory (the script cycle supplemented by the APES) and to determine whether and where it might need modification or elaboration.

Qualitative theory-building case study research (Stiles, 2007; Stiles, 2017) examines the fit of detailed observations of a case with a theoretical account--, an integration of the script cycle (Lapworth & Sills, 2011; Sills & Mazzetti, 2009) with the APES description of psychological change (Stiles, 2002; Stiles 2011).  The study includes two case studies, both with qualified therapists, one experienced (pseudonym ‘Sarah’) and the other at the beginning of his private practice ( pseudonym ‘Adam’). The supervision took place in 2019-2020 over a period of seven consecutive supervision sessions. The case of ‘Sarah’ has been completed in 2020 and submitted for publication. The case of ‘Adam’ is in the phase of analysis and write up.


Previous projects:

  • Treatment manual for brief TA psychotherapy for depression feasibility study (Vos, van Rijn), 2020-2021

A systematic literature review has found 41 clinical trials of TA psychotherapy (Vos & Van Rijn, 2021) and found that TA seems to improve psychopathology, social functioning, and general well-being, and it does so by improving the client’s ego-states, self-efficacy, and social functioning, and by the client-therapist relationship. TA treatment is more effective when the therapist focused on the clients’ experiences, assessment, treatment stages, psycho-education/didactics, worked in the present and some TA-unique techniques. The new treatment manual ‘Brief Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy for Mild or   Moderate Depression’ was developed explicitly based on research evidence and in line with the guidelines for the development of complex treatments of the British Medical Research Council. and recommendations from Carroll and Kazdan on the development of psychotherapy treatment manuals (Carroll & Rounsaville, 2008; Carroll & Nuro, 2002; Duncan, Nicol & Ager, 2004). The aim of this project was to conduct a feasibility study on the Brief Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy for Mild or Moderate Depression within MCPS. The project took place in 2021where three students tested the manual with the clients presenting with mild to moderate depression who were recruited for the project.

  • Results from the feasibility study ( Vos, J., van Rijn, B.) 2020-2021

The preliminary findings of the BTAP feasibility study indicated that both the BTAP treatment as well as the research procedures were accepted by clients and therapists, the recruitment of therapists and clients was feasible, and no adverse side effects were reported. The preliminary analyses of the questionnaires, the interviews and weekly feedback forms indicate that all clients reached a recovery from clinical depression. The general levels of psychological stress also showed a large improvement. Feedback from the therapists led to further developments of the manual and the research procedures.


  •  Reviewing and validating the scientific foundations of Transactional Analysis practice and research (Vos,J. van Rijn,B.) 2020-2021

This project aimed to review and validate the scientific foundations of any types of TA practices and research. This research was intended to act as a step and a resource towards developing further evaluative research in Transactional Analysis. The project received a funding from the European Association for Psychotherapy in 2019. It has resulted in three publications(2021) and a panel presentation at the EATA Theory Development and Research Conference in 2021.

Grant amount: 18 000.

  • Comparison of Transactional Analysis Group and Individual Psychotherapy in the Treatment of Depression and Anxiety: Routine Outcomes Evaluation in Community Clinics (van Rijn,B.,Wild,C.) 2015

This article compared outcomes of transactional analysis individual and group psychotherapy for depression and anxiety within MCPS and the NHS setting in the United Kingdom. The research was a naturalistic, open-label trial with no control group and limited randomization. MCPS provided the individual and the NHS group therapy. The analysis focused on treatment outcomes for clients who presented for therapy within the clinical range for depression and anxiety. The outcomes showed the reduction of symptoms with a large effect size for both depression (individual ES.1.22; group ES. 1.14) and anxiety (individual ES .1.67; group ES. 1.05). There were no significant differences between group and individual therapy in the length of therapy, effect size, or the Reliable and Clinically Significant Change Index (Individual RCSI for depression: individual ¼ 44.1%, group ¼ 1.4%; for anxiety: individual ¼ 36.8%, group ¼ 37.1%). These outcomes were consistent with national health benchmarks within the United Kingdom (Gyani, Shafran, Layard, & Clark, 2013) and suggested that transactional analysis psychotherapy was a good treatment option for moderate anxiety and depression as either individual or group therapy.


·         Challenges to Developing Routine Outcomes Evaluation in Different Practice Settings and Cultures: A Naturalistic Enquiry in Spain and the UK.

(van (Rijn,B.; Wild,C.) 2013

A naturalistic sessional evaluation of routine outcomes of psychotherapy from a range of theoretical orientations including transactional analysis, using standardised measures for depression, anxiety, general distress and working alliance, was conducted across completed therapy interventions by 113 therapists with 263 clients within MCPS and across stages of therapy by 10 therapists with 26 clients in three independent clinics in Spain. Outcomes in both countries demonstrated clinical gains but it was found that such evaluation methodology was more easily applied within a training institute than in private practice; it also appeared to better fit the UK professional climate of evaluation. Suggestions are made concerning the introduction of such research in future.

  • Humanistic and integrative therapies for anxiety and depression. Practice based evaluation of Transactional Analysis, Gestalt and Integrative psychotherapies and Person-Centred counselling  

(Van Rijn, B. ,& Wild,C.) 2013

The research described in this article involved a naturalistic, nonrandomized evaluation of transactional analysis and gestalt psychotherapies, integrative counselling psychology, and person-centered counseling within MCPS. Routine outcome evaluation used standardized measures to assess treatment outcomes and the working alliance. Adherence to the model was evaluated in clinical supervision. The outcomes showed that clients who engaged in treatment made statistically significant improvements and that transactional analysis and gestalt psychotherapies, integrative counseling psychology, and person-centered counseling can be used effectively in treatment of anxiety and depression within a community setting. Clients had a choice about the duration of therapy and used different numbers of sessions within the framework of the service. They were also able to change therapists.

Both choices had potential clinical implications in terms of attrition and outcomes and require further research.


  • Evaluating the Outcomes of Transactional Analysis and Integrative Counselling Psychology within UK Primary Care Settings  (van Rijn,B, Wild, C., Moran,P.) 2011

This was the first research paper based on the outcome monitoring within MCPS and individual counselling in primary care in the UK. The study aimed to replicate the IAPT − Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (CSIP 2008, NHS 2011), methodology. Standard outcome measures were used in line with the IAPT model (, (GAD-7, PHQ-9), supplemented with measurement of the working alliance (WAI Horvath 1986) and depression inventory BDI-II (Beck, 1996), and CORE 10 and 34. Adherence to the therapeutic model was monitored using newly designed questionnaires. Results indicated that severity of problems was reduced using either approach, with outcomes comparative to IAPT; that initial severity was predictive of outcome; and that working alliance increased as therapy progressed but was not directly related to outcomes. Adherence was high for both approaches.


Research output:

Vos, J., & van Rijn, B. (2023). Brief transactional analysis psychotherapy for depression: The systematic development of a treatment manual. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, No Pagination Specified-No Pagination Specified. https://doi.org/10.1037/int0000304 

Van Rijn, B., Agar, J., Sills, C., & Stiles, W. B. (2022). Assimilating problematic life script themes in clinical supervision: The case of Adam. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 1-24. https://doi.org/10.1080/09515070.2022.2130175

Vos, J., & van Rijn, B. (2022). The Effectiveness of Transactional Analysis Treatments and Their Predictors: A Systematic Literature Review and Explorative Meta-Analysis. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 00221678221117111. https://doi.org/10.1177/00221678221117111

Vos, J., & van Rijn, B. (2021). A Systematic Review of Psychometric Transactional Analysis Instruments. Transactional Analysis Journal, 1-33. https://doi.org/10.1080/03621537.2021.1904360              

Vos, J., & van Rijn, B. (2021). The Transactional Analysis Review Survey: An Investigation Into Self-Reported Practices and Philosophies of Psychotherapists. Transactional Analysis Journal, 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1080/03621537.2021.1904355            

Vos, J., & van Rijn, B. (2021). The Evidence-Based Conceptual Model of Transactional Analysis: A Focused Review of the Research Literature. Transactional Analysis Journal, 1-42. https://doi.org/10.1080/03621537.2021.1904364   

Van Rijn, B., & Wild, C. (2016). Development and evaluation of adherence questionnaires for gestalt psychotherapy, relational transactional analysis, and integrative psychotherapy: A preliminary investigation. International Journal of Psychotherapy, 20(1), 7-18.  ISSN 1469-8498

Van Rijn, B., & Wild, C. (2016). Comparison of transactional analysis group and individual psychotherapy in the treatment of depression and anxiety: routine outcomes evaluation in community clinics. Transactional Analysis Journal, 46(1), 63-74. doi: 10.1177/0362153715615115

Van Rijn, B., & Wild, C. (2016). Development and evaluation of adherence questionnaires for gestalt psychotherapy, relational transactional analysis, and integrative psychotherapy: A preliminary investigation. International Journal of Psychotherapy, 20(1), 7-18. ISSN 1469-8498

van Rijn, B., Wild, C., & Dumitru, A. (2014). Challenges to developing routine outcomes evaluation in different practice settings and cultures: A naturalistic enquiry in spain and the UK. International Journal of Transactional Analysis Research, 5(2), 28-34. Retrieved from http://www.ijtar.org/article/view/13800/9077

Van Rijn, B., & Wild, C. (2013,Autumn). Evaluation of Transactional Analysis psychotherapy groups in primary care within an IAPT site Transactional Analyst, 3(4).

Van Rijn, B. ,& Wild,C. (2013). Humanistic and integrative therapies for anxiety and depression. Practice based evaluation of Transactional Analysis, Gestalt and Integrative psychotherapies and Person Centred counselling. Transactional      Analysis Journal, 1543(2),150-163.

Van Rijn, B., Wild, C., Moran, P. (2011) Evaluating the outcomes of Transactional Analysis and integrative counselling psychology within UK primary care settings, International Journal of Transactional Analysis Research,2/2, 34-44


Conference papers:

2021                EATA, European Research and Theory Development Conference, Belgrade, Serbia, July 2021

                        Panel:The evidence basis of Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy: results from an international survey, systematic literature reviews and meta-analyse

Dr Joel Vos, Dr Biljana van Rijn

1.Vos, J., & van Rijn, B.  The Transactional Analysis Review Survey: An Investigation Into Self-Reported Practices and Philosophies of Psychotherapists.

2.Vos, J., & van Rijn, B. A Systematic Review of Psychometric Transactional Analysis Instruments.

3.Vos, J., & van Rijn, B.The Evidence-Based Conceptual Model of Transactional Analysis: A Focused Review of the Research Literature.


2021                SPR, International Conference, Heidelberg, Germany,June 2021

Paper: Assimilating Problematic Life Script Themes in Supervision. Van Rijn,B,Agar,J.,Sills,C., Stiles,W.B

Panel Title: The Development of Responsive Therapists Through Training and Supervision: From Helping Skills to Assimilation of Life Script Themes


2018              Winter School of Transactional Analysis, Balkan association of Transactional Analysis with EATA.

‘Transactional Analysis and psychotherapy research. Research directions and key questions’, keynote

2016               SPR 47th Annual International meeting, Jerusalem,Israel

(van Rijn, B., Wild, C.) Evaluation of Transactional Analysis psychotherapy in the treatment of depression, anxiety and clinical levels of general distress. Routine Outcomes Evaluation within a community clinic

Panel: The Effectiveness of Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy for Depression and Anxiety: Findings from Practice-Based Research

2015               European Transactional Analysis Research and Development Conference

Van Rijn, B. (2015). How do we demonstrate the effectiveness of TA psychotherapy practice in research. Exploration of an adherence questionnaire in Relational Transactional Analysis. Paper presented at the EATA Conference 2015.1st EATA Development and Research Conference, Rome,Italy. www.cleup.it

2015               UKCP Research Conference,London

Comparison of Transactional Analysis Group and Individual Psychotherapies in the treatment of Depression and Anxiety. Outcomes in community clinics


European Association for Transactional Analysis (EATA) https://www.eatanews.org/


Recent grants:

2018 Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy for Depression. Full grant Euro 150 000

2012: European association of Transactional Analysis,16,872 euro

2012: Sutton and Merton Psychological Services,£2500

2009: London Borough of Ealing Mental Health Trust £20 000

Research group participants:

Dr Biljana van Rijn   http://www.metanoia.ac.uk/about/our-staff/faculty-3-research-strategy-innovation/dr-biljana-van-rijn/

Dr Joel Vos, PhD, Cpsychol. http://www.metanoia.ac.uk/about/our-staff/faculty-3-research-strategy-innovation/joel-vos/ ; www.joelvos.com