In memoriam Claude Steiner

We were all sad to hear that are dear colleague, warm friend, inspiring teacher and everlasting role model Claude Steiner passed away.

When you start learning TA, Claude Steiner is often the second name you hear and remember, after Eric Berne. He was born in 1935. in Paris. As a child he lived in Spain and Mexico and then in 1952. he moved to USA to study engineering and physics but luckily transferred to the study of psychology and child development. In 1957. he met Dr. Eric Berne and became his colleague, collaborator, friend and a founding member of the International Transactional Analysis Association (ITAA). He develop the theory and practice of Radical Psychiatry and wrote numerous books like Scripts People Live and Achieving Emotional Literacy.

Claude Steiner passed away on 9th of January 2017. His final words were “Love is the answer” and “I am so lucky”. His daughter said that he died in absolute peace and total comfort and with dignity.
He left us a legacy of the moral and human duty to care about people, society and especially of all marginalized groups. He was a man of great heart and mind, who introduced to us the concept of emotional literacy.

Our deep condolences to his family and friends and whole TA community.


“Berne wrote about euhemeri and became the euhemerus for TA – and now, sadly, Claude has joined him. My contact with Claude goes back to the 1970s and watching him in awe as he so readily analysed what was happening as supervisees played random extracts from tapes – no scene setting, no transcripts – just play the tape and Claude taught us transactional analysis. Many years later, we were in contact, with different opinions, about the core themes of TA. And then, in 2011, we both keynoted at a conference in Istanbul, where we were each given a watercolour’s and then swapped with each other (secretly, a bit like naughty children) and mine hangs still in my office. Over those years, I have passed on so many TA concepts that came from Claude, and alongside the robust theory I have especially appreciated the Warm Fuzzy Tale, which I have told in numerous organisations and enjoyed seeing the aha moments as the audience got the point about the stroking climate in their organisation – and of course in society in general. So Claude may be gone but will definitely not be forgotten as his material will continue to influence generations of transactional analysts across all fields of application, and their clients, and society.
Julie Hay
TSTA OPE, past president of EATA and ITAA”


 “I am fortunate in that I have come to see how I, too, had plans to die in my early sixties. I have changed this plan and plan instead to live to be ninty-nine years old.”
       Claude Steiner, Scripts People Play

The introduction touched my heart many years ago. Claude Steiners informal, warm and loving description of his relationship with Berne and how Bernes death influenced his own life. Scripts People Play convinced me that it is more important to humans to live in a way known to them, than to have a good life.

I met Claude once in Lima in 2009. I asked – a bit nervous – if I could sit at his table, and he smiled and said of course. I presented myself as Ketil from Norway, and he promptly responded “Norwegian? But you don’t look like a drunk?”. Conversation went smoothly from there. I got the impression of a kind, warm and humble man. He told me about Scripts People Play. “Can you believe that the f..king book is still selling good?”. I replied “Perhaps because the book is so f..king good?” He looked down at his hands and went quiet for a while.

During the conference he was, of course, asked frequently to be photographed with people, and I heard him answer “What an excellent idea!”, as if no one else had ever asked him. For me it was easy to stay OK with Claude Steiner.

In my work as gestalt therapist, Claude Steiner’s thinking, theory and warmth is frequently in the room. It just makes sense.

Ketil Melhus
Gestalt therapist (EAGT) (EAP), EATA Web master.