Welcome to the TA Proficiency Awards

Welcome to this website about the TA Proficiency Awards.

We welcome questions. After you have read this page, you can email us at [email protected] or you can go ahead and book to have a no commitment, no fee, online conversation with TAPA Project Manager Julie Hay. To do that, go to https://juliehay.youcanbook.me and choose a convenient date and time in her calendar and you will be sent a zoom link. Alternatively, you can contact the National Coordinator for your country, but be warned that if there is not yet such a person for your country, Julie may well try to persuade you to take on that volunteer role 😉

An introduction to TAPA

The TA Proficiency Awards (TAPAs) launched in 2010 in the UK and has spread to Armenia, Brazil, Croatia, Curaçao, Germany, Guatemala, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Macedonia, Netherlands, Serbia, South Africa, Taiwan and Turkey – and one is about to start in the Czech Republic.

Targeted originally at children, it has been extended to teachers and educators, to helpers and assistants in schools, and then to parents and caregivers, to children with special needs and to children who are carers, to unemployed people, to coaches, to police officers and to a range of other professionals. We are also happy to cooperate to introduce programmes for more categories of people.

The TAPA initiative is intended to bring TA to anyone who can benefit from the increased self-awareness and relationship skills that are the usual result of learning some transactional analysis.

TAPA is run as a social action initiative and therefore relies mostly on volunteers, although we do seek to recover costs where possible and when the beneficiaries of the scheme can afford to pay.

Nows in its 10th, TAPA in 2020 has moved to the International Centre for Transactional Analysis Qualifications (ICTAQ).  It therefore sits alongside a wide range of qualifications for helping professionals who use TA to facilitate the development of others, working with individuals, couples, families, teams, groups, organisations or institutions. These helping professionals tend to be consultants, educators, coaches, counsellors, psychotherapists, HR professionals, social workers, and so on. ICTAQ also offers professional certification to managers who wish to use TA with their own teams.  ICTAQ is also the home of IJTARP – the international open access TA Journal that is also run by volunteers.

Please note also that TAPA operates online. Even before coronavirus emerged, we were conducting most processes online – and nowadays much of the teaching has moved online as well. Again, we are happy to share experiences of how this can be done. This

TAPA Principles

OKness is a key principle of transactional analysis, so TAPA has been designed with the intention that students, whoever they are and of whatever age, will have their innate human OKness reinforced. This means that the emphasis is on encouraging and providing positive feedback so that all students are able to produce the necessary portfolios of evidence. There is no pass or fail system and no grading – this makes the scheme deliberately unlike much mainstream education. In turn, this means that it continues to be a significant option for children and adults who have responded to schooling differently, whilst still being highly relevant for those who have had no such difficulties.

Valuing difference applies also to the ways in which learning takes place and is demonstrated. There are no prescribed lessons or activities, leaving those who are doing the teaching free to choose which TA topics will best fit their audience, and to devise their own lesson plans (although we can provide ideas if necessary). There are also no set requirements about what a portfolio of evidence should look like or contain – we invite as much creativity as possible.

The third key principle is that increasing self-awareness and relationship skills is an ongoing process for all of us. We know that teaching TA to others will generate learning for the person doing the teaching. We expect, therefore, that the adults delivering the teaching will establish a relationship based on them learning alongside their students (of whatever age!), and not as a subject expert. The intention is to realise individual potential, and this is just as relevant for the teacher as well as for the students.

How TAPA Works

The Awards are given as confirmation that the students have learned at least six TA concepts and have demonstrated how they have applied these in their lives (10 concepts and a learning journal for the Advanced TAPA). Students produce ‘portfolios’ of evidence, which can take many forms – we have seen written material but also paintings, sculptures, collages, and even a cake, plus there have been videos made, presentations done, role plays, students have interviewed each other – but no essays, no tests, no exams – and the idea is that everyone can pass. The scheme is challenging traditional approaches to education where there have to be losers in order for there to be winners – so the teacher will work with the students until there is evidence that the student has a ‘good enough’ understanding of the TA concepts and how to apply them.

Anyone can do the teaching. One of the big advantages of TA is its simple language and we encourage people to pass on what they have learned, whether they did that through reading a few books or through attending some TA training. At the same time, we make sure that what is being taught is also ‘good enough’, so the portfolios of evidence are assessed by those who have done at least two years of regular TA training as TA practitioners, and those assessors are supervised by qualified TA trainers who are also making sure that similar standards are applied around the world. Those same trainers will also help any teachers who request support, about theory or practice.

This is all held together by National Coordinators in each country, who liaise with the teachers, the assessors, the supervisors, the ambassadors who are the VIPs (very important persons) who congratulate the students at the Award ceremonies, as well as the representatives of any organisations or institutions that may be involved.  Simple written contracts are used to ensure that all involved are clear about their rights and responsibilities, certificates are issued to the successful students, and sometimes to an organisation or institution (TACA – the TA Community Award). Badges are also provided to children and young people, and sometimes to their teachers.

TAPA is a social action initiative run by volunteers. If an organisation or institution is involved, a fee is negotiated with them that reflects their ability to pay. When adults are the students, a fee is negotiated with them that reflects their ability to pay. In all cases, the fee may be zero.  We rely on those who can afford to pay to cover unavoidable expenditures, such as having this website, and providing badges.

More Information Available

Please click here to see the TAPACY Introduction video made by Ulrika Widén, Deputy Project Manager and National Coordinator for Italy. This is based on her experiences in Italy and has English subtitles. You will see that the certificates used at that time were for EUROTAPACY, as this was before the scheme became international and was whilst EATA was providing some financial support.

Please click here to see another Introductory video that was made by Ulrika, in English, for the TA World Conference that was running in San Francisco in 2014.

Click here to download the TA Proficiency Awards Handbook

Click here to download a small booklet (PDF) entitled Suggestions for Teaching Transactional Analysis to Children and Young People (although written for those teaching children, some of the ideas may also be useful for adults)

Click on the tab at the top of the website to see examples of different schemes in different countries – please note that these pages are currently being updated because they are incomplete.

A Brief History of TAPA – 2010 to 2020

The TA Proficiency Awards (TAPAs) launched in 2010 and the scheme has continued since then to spread around the world. The original target of children has been extended to adults in various categories, as described above. The international reach of the scheme is also now extended to many countries, from the UK to Europe originally, and then internationally – also as described above.

Based on an initiative by Giles Barrow in the UK during 2004 for children and young people (hence TAPACY), TAPA was subsequently ‘adopted’ by the IDTA (Institute of Developmental TA).  The scheme received some financial support from EATA (European Association of TA) for activities within Europe until early 2017, for which it was renamed EUROTAPA.  However, the scheme soon went international, with the inclusion of South Africa in 2012 and Taiwan in 2014. ‘s

The original focus on children who were regarded as having behavioural difficulties at school (and were often being excluded) was broadened in 2010 so children did not have to be ‘naughty’ in order to be given the opportunity to learn TA. Next came the TAPATE, for the teachers and educators, followed by TAPACP, when the parents and caregivers began asking if they could learn what was being taught to their children, followed by the TAPAHA as the helpers and assistants in the schools also wanted to be involved in the lessons. Alongside this, the scheme was made available to adults in a variety of occupations, and was referred to as TAPDA – the TA Personal or Professional Award.  Soon after that an Advanced version was introduced because people wanted even more TA. The TAPDA and Advanced TAPDA were operated by the ICDTA (International Centre for Developmental TA).

Now, in 2020, the ICDTA had become part of a larger initiative – ICTAQ (International Centre for TA Qualifications). ICTAQ brings together Developmental TA and TA Psychotherapy, as well as Developmental Super-Vision, so IDTA decided that the TAPACY, TAPATE, TAPACP and TAPAHA schemes should logically be combined with TAPDA and be operated by ICTAQ, which is set up as a non-profit community interest company under UK law. This puts the TA Proficiency Awards within the same structure as an extensive range of TA professional qualifications, as well as an international TA journal, rather than being seen as owned by a specific TA Association.