Richard G. Erskine,  PhD, held online workshop: Working with Child Ego States: Applying Child Development Theory and Research in Psychotherapy with Adult Clients on March 19, 20 i 21. 2021.

National Association for Transactional Analysis of Serbia  – NATAS hosted the event.

Workshop presented various concepts from both Transactional Analysis and a Developmentally-based, Relationally-focused Integrative Psychotherapy.

Healing the neglects and traumas of childhood requires a psychotherapist who is attuned to each client’s levels of emotional and cognitive development. To achieve this form of healing, psychotherapists and counsellors need to be able to apply Child Development concepts and research findings in their therapeutic practice in order to identify and effectively work with challenges such as:

• Early childhood memory that is embodied in physiological sensations, entrenched in affect, or unconsciously enacted in relationships. Such memories are not available to conscious thought because they are prelinguistic, presymbolic, procedural, and implicit. However, these neurological imprints give rise to unconscious Child ego state patterns that affect our clients in their adult lives.

• Physiological, emotional and behavioral signs of infant and parent relational disruptions are evident from the first few months of a child’s life and throughout adolescence. We may see subtle versions of these same self-stabilizing dynamics in adult clients when they are in various Child ego states: they tighten their bodies, agitate, avoid eye contact, or deflect from their feelings. Such behaviours may signal unresolved relational disruptions in early childhood that continue to create disruptions and conflicts later in adulthood.

• Generating methods that are attuned to an infant’s, young child’s, or school-age child’s particular rhythm, their affect and cognitive level of functioning, and the unique relational-needs at the level of development where an adult client may be fixated. We need to be therapeutically responsive to the withdrawn and silent client, the client who is either hypo- or hyperactive, as well as the client who is resistive or belligerent. Each of these behavioral manifestations may reflect the neglects and traumas that leave a person stuck at an earlier level of development.

This 9 hours seminar (thee-sessions, 3 hours each session) focused on various methods of psychotherapy that were influenced by the theories and research in Child Development. Lecturer explored various child development hypotheses and concepts that were based on the writings of John Bowlby, Eric Erickson, Selma Fraiberg, Jean Piaget, and Donald Winnicott as well as a number of current child development researchers. Specifically, participants had chance to look at:

• creating developmental images and hypotheses

• assessing and responding to unconscious attachment patterns

• converting body sensations and affect to language

• enabling the formation of vocabulary and concepts

• constructing life narratives through inference

• using phenomenological and historical inquiry, and

• facilitating an emotionally safe therapeutic age regression.

This online video seminar was held in English and Serbian with consecutive translation.  (You can read here about consecutive interpreting: what is consecutive interpreting).

Dr. Erskine insists on consecutive translation, because this is the best way to attune alive with translators and participants – to monitor whether participants understand the content, to monitor participants and their reactions and potentially include them in the discussion.

If you didn’t participate in the workshop, and want to watch the recording (or recordings of any of the workshops organized or co-organized by NATAS) you can order recording. Our recommendation is to participate in person whenever it is possible, because that way you can communicate with a lecturer directly.

Only participants who had taken part in seminar got certificate of 9 hours of education.

Handouts, PowerPoint presentation and video recording of the seminar are not included in the price.

To prepare for this workshop participants were requested to read the following:

  1. Barbara D. Clark (1991) Empathic Transactions in the Deconfusion of Child Ego States,  Transactional Analysis Journal,  21:2, 92-98, DOI: 10.1177/036215379102100204
  2. Erskine, R.G. (2008). Psychotherapy of Unconscious Experience. Transactional Analysis Journal, 38: No. 2, 128-138.  DOI:10.1177/036215370803800206
  3. Erskine, R.G. (2009). Life Scripts and Attachment Patterns: Theoretical Integration and Therapeutic Involvement. Transactional Analysis Journal, 39; No. 3, 207-218. DOI:10.1177/036215370903900304

and if possible:

4. Erskine, R. G. (2015). Relational Patterns, Therapeutic Presence: Concepts and Practice of Integrative Psychotherapy. London: Karnac Books.

For information and to register please contact:

Zvonimir (Zvonko Ninić) for National Association for Transactional Analysis of Serbia


Phone: Phone/Text/Viber/WhatsApp +381 641376144

Richard G. Erskine, Ph.D., is a Clinical Psychologist and Training Director of the Institute for Integrative Psychotherapy. Originally trained in client-centered child therapy, Dr Erskine also studied Gestalt therapy with both Fritz and Laura Perls. He is a certified clinical Transactional Analyst and a Licensed Psychoanalyst who has specialized in psychoanalytic self-psychology and object-relations theory. His work is an integration of these concepts and fifty years of clinical experience which has included working with disturbed children, inmates in a maximum security prison, borderline and narcissistic clients, post-traumatic stress and dissociative identity disorders. Recently his research and clinical practice have focused on the treatment of the schizoid process and on the psychotherapy of obsession. He is the author of several books and scores of articles on psychotherapy theory and methods. His best-selling book (with Jan Moursund and Rebecca Trautmann) is Beyond Empathy: A Therapy of Contact-in-Relationship(1999, Brunner/Mazel).