Article published in The Script the official ITAA newsletter, October issue in section TA Around the World, October 2019
In 1979, Graham Barnes came to Serbia at the invitation of Josip Berger, a psychology professor at Belgrade University. Barnes’s first seminar lasted about 9 days and was attended by psychiatrists and psychologists from the university psychiatric clinic and other mental health institutions as well as by individuals interested in the mental health field. In 1980, the first formal training was initiated, also led by Barnes, and lasted for 4 years with 22 students. Barnes came about four times a year and usually worked with students for 1-2 weeks. Tijana Mandic, a psychologist and subsequently a professor at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade, who started her TA education in London in 1978, joined as a supervisor and therapist in Belgrade immediately after obtaining her TA certification.
Six students of that first generation later became CTAs: JelicaTodorovic is now deceased, but Mirjana Divac-Jovanovic, SonjaTatar-Radojkovic, Lukrecija Vranjesevic, and Jelena Manojlovic have practiced TA in Serbia and abroad, some have been involved in educating new generations, and all are still active in practice and teaching. The sixth of the original group, Nada Polovina completed her education but went on to engage exclusively in family therapy.
Mandic, Berger, Divac-Jovanovic, and Radojkovic wrote TA books and articles; Mandic and Radojkovic initiated further TA education; and Zoran Milivojevic and Gordana Krotic were students of that generation who passed their exams. Milivojevic later became a PTSTA under the supervision of Carlo Moiso and eventually a TSTA; he popularized TA through education, books, TV appearances, and newspaper articles. He also founded a publishing house, Psychepolis, which publishes mostly TA books in Serbian that can also be read by people elsewhere in the region because of language similarities. Marina Banic, who began her TA education with Mandic and also studied with Milivojevic, became a CTA and later the second Serbian TSTA.
Psychotherapy is not yet legal as a separate profession in Serbia, nor is there legal regulation regarding psychotherapy, although psychotherapy services are included in the price lists of public and private health care facilities. The umbrella organization to which most psychotherapy associations in Serbia belong is called the Union of Psychotherapists of Serbia and is EAP affiliated. Other fields of TA, apart from psychotherapy, have not been developed in Serbia at all for the time being.
There are five TA associations in Serbia today:
Serbian Association for Transactional Analysis (SATA). Founded by Marina Banic in 2000, it became affiliated with EATA that same year. Today it has 39 members: 13 CTA contracted, 3 CTAs, 1 TSTA, 16 regular members, and 9 new ones. SATA members promote TA practice and theory and are committed to developing equal opportunities for all. SATA organized the first CTA exam in Belgrade in the Serbian language and initiated the written CTA exam in Serbian. SATA is composed of experts and professionals in various fields of the humanities who join together to develop and improve the application of TA in the fields of counseling, mental health, education in organizations, and so on, as well as individuals interested in TA. SATA has organized numerous TA schools as well as TA education with guests such as Alessandra Pierini, Isabelle Crespelle, Maria Bran, Harry Gerth, Barbara Repine Zupancic, Nevenka Miljkovic, and Maria Teresa Tosi.
Association of Transactional Analysts of Serbia (TAC-ATAS). Founded by Zoran Milivojevic in 2001, it currently has 1589 members and is the largest TA association in the former Yugoslavia region. Its certified members include 13 CTAs, 1 PTSTA, and 3 TSTAs as well as 22 CTAs in contract. About 180 students are enrolled annually in the TA 101 course, most of whom then pursue the advanced course. The focus is on classical and CBT TA. Some members are also ITAA members, and ATAS is not EATA affiliated. Workshops in Belgrade, Novi Sad, and Slovenia have featured Claude Steiner, Steve Karpman, Trudy Newton, Julie Hay, Nancy Porter-Steele and Curtis Steele, Sari van Poelje, Carlo Moiso, Tony White, and Richard Erskine.
Balkan Association for Transactional Analysis (TAUS) was founded by Dr. Kristina Brajovic-Car in 2015. It has 70 members: 2 PTSTAs, 1 CTA, and 7 under CTA contract. The association is registered as a regional association for TA. They have organized numerous TA trainings and schools and numerous TA trainers have been their guests, including Leilani Mitchell, Krispijn Plettenberg, Nada Zanko, Mark Head, Mark Widdowson, and Biljana van Rijn. During the last year, TAUS organized many activities related to TA for the public and professionals, such as workshops for the public, public tribunes with reputable names in TA and academic circles, and appearances of their trainers and board members on TV and in the general media. In November 2018, in cooperation with UTA, TAUS organized EATA’s Outreach Program in Rijeka, Croatia, and established its international branch in Rijeka, Croatia. They have also organized three TA 101s and hold free lectures about TAfor psychology students.
Center for Transactional Analysis (CTA). Founded by Danijela Budisa Ubovic in 2018, the association is in the process of affiliating with EATA. It has 62 members, enrolls about 30 students annually, and has 1 PTSTA and 4 CTAs in contract. The emphasis is on the relational TA approach. In March 2020, Karen Minikin of the UK Metanoia Institute will be visiting the association.
National Association for Transactional Analysis of Serbia (NATAS). Founded by Aleksandra Bubera in late 2018, its focus is on integrative transactional analysis.
It has 5 members, one of whom is a TSTA. NATAS plans to include professionals from the humanities as well as anyone interested in TA. At the members’ discretion, once it has enough members, the organization will apply for EATA affiliation. NATAS’s current activities include organizing public forums, a cycle of five panels on intimacy this year to be followed by a second therapeutic marathon, and workshops about psychopharmacotherapy and psychotherapy.
Recently, NATAS began an initiative to encourage cooperation among all the Serbian TA associations. The aim is to improve information flow, increase cooperation, and thereby develop TA more quickly here. Toward that end, the five associations decided to come together to organize a large, significant event to celebrate their new cooperation. We invited Richard Erskine, PhD, TSTA, to deliver a 3-day workshop on 15-17 May 2020 in Belgrade.
We believe this will contribute to the expansion of TA approaches in Serbia, and it is the first project that all five Serbian TA associations have developed together with the Serbian Association for Integrative Therapy. We hope to have 100 participants not only from Serbia and the region but also from the rest of the world. The workshop, “The Healing Relationship: Psychotherapy of Shame, Confusion, and Psychological Withdrawal,” will involve Lecture, case discussion, and live demonstration to highlight shame, confusion, and psychological withdrawal as hallmarks of the schizoid process. For more information, click here for English or here for Serbian.
We hope that you will join us for this exciting event as we start a new chapter in the history of the Serbian TA community.©