The TAMED Game, Bystanders and Professional Associations

Main Article Content

Julie Hay


The author introduces a psychological game named TAMED – the TA Myth of Explanatory Depth, which she suggests provides an explanation of unhealthy dynamics occurring within transactional analysis membership and professional associations. She illustrates this with four case examples based on personal experiences. She also provides an overview of TA theory about psychological games, the bystander role, the various roles within the drama triangle and extensions of it, and the potency pyramid. She provides a selection of materials by TA and non-TA authors to support the premise that such games are more to do with organisational and group processes than the script of the individual who is seen as the cause of the conflict. The article concludes with some initial thoughts about how TA organisational diagrams need amending to reflect the structure and dynamics of professional associations.

Article Details

How to Cite
Hay, J. (2021). The TAMED Game, Bystanders and Professional Associations. International Journal of Transactional Analysis Research & Practice, 12(1), 42-60.


Aiken, B. A. (1976). The Stroke Economy and Gay People. Transactional Analysis Journal, 6(1), 21–27.

Allen, J. R., & Allen, B. A. (1998). Transactional Analysis Notes from Oklahoma City: After the bombing. Transactional Analysis Journal, 28(3), 202–209.

Barnes, G. (2004). Homosexuality in the First Three Decades of Transactional Analysis: A Study of Theory in the Practice of Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy. Transactional Analysis Journal, 34(2), 126–155.

Berne, E. (1947). The Mind in Action. Simon and Schuster.

Berne, E. (1958). Transactional analysis: A new and effective method of group therapy. In P. McCormick, Intuition and ego states: The origins of transactional analysis. Harper.

Berne, E. (1961). Transactional Analysis in Psychotherapy. Grove Press.

Berne, E. (1963). The Structure and Dynamics of Organisations and Groups. Grove Press.

Berne, E. (1964). Games People Play. Grove Press.

Berne, E. (1977). Intuition and Ego States (pp. 145–158). TA Press.

Bogdanoff, M., & Elbaum, P. L. (1978). Role Lock: Dealing with Monopolizers, Mistrusters, Isolates, Helpful Hannahs, and Other Assorted Characters in Group Psychotherapy. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 28(2), 247–262.

Booker, C. (2004). The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories. Bloomsbury.

Chown, J. (2020). The Unfolding of Control Mechanisms inside Organizations: Pathways of Customization and Transmutation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 41, 61–89.

Choy, A. (1990). The Winner’s Triangle. Transactional Analysis Journal, 20(1), 40–46.

Clarkson, P. (1987). The Bystander Role. Transactional Analysis Journal, 17(3), 82–87.

Clarkson, P. (1993). Bystander Games. Transactional Analysis Journal, 23(3), 158–172.

Cooper, D. (1976). The Grammar of Living. Penguin.

Cornell, B. (2020). How do Evil men gain followers? How does an evil leader hold his followers. The Script, July, 5–7.

Cornell, W., De Graaf, A., Newton, T., & Thunnissen, M. (2016). Into TA: A Comprehensive Textbook on Transactional Analysis. Karnac.

Dalal, F. (2016). The Individual and the Group: The Twin Tyrannies of Internalism and Individualism. Transactional Analysis Journal, 46(2), 88–100.

De Graaf, A. (2016). People Don’t Kill People: TA Manifesto. The Script, June, 7–9.

Eddy, W. (2019). Why We Elect Narcissists and Sociopaths - And How We Can Stop. Berrett Koehler.

English, F. (1976). Differentiating Victims in the Drama Triangle. Transactional Analysis Journal, 6(4), 384–386.

English, F. (1988). Whither Scripts? Transactional Analysis Journal, 18(4), 294–303.

Fox, E. (1975). Eric Berne’s Theory of Organisations. Transactional Analysis Journal, 5(4), 345–353.

Gregg, A., Mahadevan, N., & Sedikides, C. (2017). The SPOT Effect: People Spontaneously Prefer their Own Theories. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 70(6), 996–1010.

Hay, J. (1993). Working it Out at Work - Understanding Attitudes and Building Relationships. Sherwood Publishing.

Hay, J. (1995). Donkey Bridges for Developmental TA. Sherwood Publishing.

Hay, J. (2009). Transactional Analysis for Trainers (2nd edition). Sherwood Publishing.

Hay, J. (2012). Donkey Bridges for Developmental TA (2nd edit). Sherwood Publishing.

Hay, J. (2016). Hay’s Organisational Cone. IDTA Newsletter, 11(4), 19–20.

Jacobs, A. (1987). Autocratic Power. Transactional Analysis Journal, 17(3), 59–71.

Jacobs, A. (1991). Autocracy: Groups, Organisations, Nations and Players. Transactional Analysis Journal, 21(4), 199–206.

Jacobs, A. (1977). Psychodrama and TA. In M. James & Contributors, Techniques in Transactional Analysis (pp. 239–249). Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.

Karpman, S. (1968). Fairy tales and script drama analysis. Transactional Analysis Bulletin, 7, 39–43.

Kets De Vries, M. F. R. (2021). Our Addiction to Charismatic Leaders Needs to Stop.

Krausz, R. (1993). Organisational Scripts. Transactional Analysis Journal, 23(2), 77–86.

Latané, B., & Darley, J. M. (1970). The unresponsive bystander: Why doesn’t he help? Appleton-Century Crofts.

Laugeri, M. (2006). Transactional Analysis and Emerging Change, the Keys to Hierarchical Dialogue. In G. Mohr & T. Steinert, Growth and Change for Organizations (pp. 374–395). ITAA.

Leigh, E. (2019). Intention: Unconscious or Conscious, the Results Live On. The Script, December, 5–6.

Leigh, E. (2020). Bonds That Hold Us Together. The Script, September, 5–6.

Leigh, E., & Rudolph, P. (2021). Developing TA Now. The Script, 51(6), 1–3.

Berne, E. (1977). Intuition and Ego States. In P. Mccormick, The origins of transactional analysis : a series of papers. TA Press.

Mcguinness, C. (2021). The Society is at a crossroads. The Psychologist, 34, 4–5.

Mckinnon Fathi, N. (2017). Gaslighting: is this who we are? The Transactional Analyst, Autumn, 29.

Minikin, K. (2021). Relative Privilege and the Seduction of Normativity. Transactional Analysis Journal, 51(1), 35–48.

Minikin, K., & Rowland, H. (2020). TAJ Theme Issue on Systemic Oppression: What Part Do We Play. The Script, September, 9.

Minikin, K., & Rowland, H. (2021). Call for papers - “Systemic Oppression: What part do we play?”. The Transactional Analyst, 49.

Mohr, G. (2012). Pattern theory as a meta perspective for change. Transactional Analysis Journal, 42(2), 134–143.

Napper, R. (2021). Not a Drama Triangle phenomenon. The Transactional Analyst, Spring, 15–16.

Novey, T. (1987). An Advanced Reference Guide to the Transactional Analysis Literature. TA Associates.

Rosenberger, R. (2017). Callous Objects. University of Minnesota Press.

Rozenblit, L., & Keil, F. (2002). The misunderstood limits of folk science: an illusion of explanatory depth. Cognitive Science, 26(5), 521–562.

Rudolph, P. (2020). Presidential Note. The Script, 129, 2–3.

Schiff, J., & Contributors. (1975). Cathexis Reader: Transactional Analysis Treatment of Psychosis. Harper & Row Publishers Inc.

Sedgwick, J. (2021). Contextual Transactional Analysis: The Inseparability of Self and World. Routledge.

Siddique, S. (2021). Bullying: let’s tackle it head on. The Transactional Analyst, Spring, 45–46.

Sills, C. (2003). Role Lock: When the Whole Group Plays a Game. Transactional Analysis Journal, 33(4), 282–287.

Simpson, C. (2021). Bullying: reflections and resources. The Transactional Analyst, Spring, 4–6.

Steiner, C. (1971). Games Alcoholics Play. Grove Press.

Summerton, O. (1992). The Game Pentagon. Transactional Analysis Journal, 22(2), 66–75.

Summerton, O. (1993a). Three-Dimensional Transactional Analysis: The Drama Triangle and the Game Pentagon. Transactional Analysis Journal, 23(1), 30–35.

Summerton, O. (1993b). Games in Organisations. Transactional Analysis Journal, 23, 87–103.

Timmermans, M. (2020). The Importance of an Organisational Perspective in Dealing with Workplace Bullying: “We don’t take everything so seriously”. Transactional Analysis Journal, 50(4), 285–297.

Totton, N. (2000). Psychotherapy and Politics. Sage Publications.

Williams, A. (2021). Global Connection - Global Survival. The Transactional Analyst, Spring, 41–44.