Claude Steiner Biography

Photo of Dr. Claude Steiner, student of Dr. Eric Berne

Dr. Claude Steiner, Ph.D.

Dr. Claude Steiner was born in 1935 in Paris, France, the first born of Austrian parents. Fleeing from Hitler’s impending invasion of France, his Jewish mother and Christian father escaped to Spain in 1939 with him and his sister Katherine in tow. At the end of World War II, Claude and his parents and siblings emigrated to Mexico.

In 1952, Steiner came to the United States to study engineering and then physics at Santa Monica City College in California. He went on to study physics at the University of California in Berkeley but decided that he “didn’t want to spend my life making bombs” and transferred to the study of psychology and child development. He also began to work as a summer camp counselor and eventually became director at the Berkeley Jewish Community Center Summer Camp.

In 1957, Steiner met and became a disciple of Dr. Eric Berne. In 1965, after the publication of Games People Play by Berne, Steiner obtained a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Berne’s wish was that “I should be the ITAA’s first research director.” Over time Steiner became Eric Berne’s colleague, collaborator and friend and with him, a founding member of the International Transactional Analysis Association.

In the late 1960’s and after Berne’s death in 1970, Steiner got more and more involved as an activist in various liberation movements and against the war in Vietnam. Steiner went on to develop the theory and practice of Radical Psychiatry, about which he wrote extensively in books and journals, including The Radical Therapist a quarterly journal published by the Radical Psychiatry collective. In addition to this work, Steiner conducted a full time group and individual therapy practice in Berkeley, California. In 1975, Steiner started to develop and teach emotional literacy concepts. He refined the program of emotional literacy training in his book Achieving Emotional Literacy. Steiner coined the phrases “warm fuzzies” and “emotional literacy,” and developed the theory of the “Stroke Economy.”

Steiner still practices clinically and is heavily involved in the ITAA. For more information on his work, you may visit his website.

Scripts People Live

Scripts People Live Claude Steiner

This book has been described as the best book for someone who wants to learn about Transactional Analysis beyond the introductory level. The book contains sections on Eric Berne, transactional analysis theory, script analysis, relationships, psychotherapy, strokes and the stroke economy, and The Good Life. It was published in 1971.

The name of this book was inspired by Eric Berne’s bestseller Games People Play. The book is available on Amazon on this page.

Games Alcoholics Play

Games Alcoholics Play Claude Steiner

Using Dr. Eric Berne’s theories of games and Transactional Analysis, Steiner elaborates on the games played by social drinkers. Steiner’s treatment of alcoholism in this book has been called the most effective treatment since AA (Alcoholics Anonymous)

The name of this book was also inspired by Eric Berne’s bestseller Games People Play. It can also be purchased on Amazon.

Emotional Literacy: Intelligence with a Heart

Emotional Literacy: Intelligence with a Heart

This book provides a step-by-step program to achieve emotional power. Instructions are given on how emotional literacy – intelligence with a heart – can be learned through practicing specific exercises that foster the awareness of emotion in oneself and others.

 It was originally published in 1997 but the most recent edition is 2003. It is available in paperback and has been translated into numerous other languages. It can be found on

The Original Warm Fuzzy Tale

Original Warm Fuzzy Tale book Claude Steiner

This book is a children’s tale, and is the work which introduced the term “warm and fuzzy” to everyday language. This book helps children. The book employs a metaphor – a warm fuzzy or a cold prickly – for actions that people take. Many adult readers enjoy this book as well. Many used copies are available on Amazon.