What is Ego State Therapy and what are Ego States? Compiled by Gordon Emmerson, Ph.D

Ego State Therapy International Certification

MEISA is affiliated with Ego State Therapy International (ESTI) and the MEISA training programme counts towards international certification.

Visit the ESTI website for more information: http://www.egostateinternational.com

Accredited Ego State Therapy Trainers SA
Dr Woltemade Hartman Ph.D and Dr Elzette Fritz D.Ed are accredited by Ego State Therapy International as Ego State Therapy trainers. Click here for more information.

Ego State Therapy Bibliography
A list of published articles and books on Ego State Therapy are available on the ESTI website at: http://www.egostateinternational.com/bibliography.php

Ego State Therapy was developed by Prof John G. Watkins (Ph.D) and Mrs. Helen H. Watkins (MA). This approach is based on the premise that human personality is composed of separate parts (so-called Ego States), rather than being a monolithic entity. These different parts of the self develop naturally to cope with life and developmental challenges and crises in all individuals and provide diversity to self-experience.  Parts can also develop as a result of trauma or impactful life experiences contributing to divisions in the self. 

Ego state therapy focuses on understanding and treating the different aspects or dimensions of the self by respecting the unique self-individuation of each person. The goal of ego state therapy is to elicit the ego states, to work with them therapeutically, to attain peace amongst them and to integrate them into a family of self.

What are the goals of Ego State Therapy?

To locate ego states harboring pain, trauma, anger, or frustration and facilitate expression, release, comfort, and empowerment (It is unresolved states that come out and make us feel out of control. They are our internal tender spots 

To facilitate functional communication among ego states (the statement "I hate myself when I am like that" indicates two states lacking in proper communication and appreciation), and 

To help clients learn their ego states so that the states may be better used to the clients' benefit (e.g., allowing the client to, at one time, be open to enjoy emotional experiences and, at another time, be assertive to feel expressed when challenged

Professionals who have completed training in the use of Ego State Therapy have reported greater success with complex patients, particularly those who previously appeared to be untreatable, such as those with complex PTSD and anxiety, personality disorder patients, and dissociative spectrum patients, including DID (dissociative identity disorder). 

Ego State Therapy is uniquely suited to healing the fragmentation that results from various types of trauma and cumulative trauma, including attachment disorders, childhood abuse and trauma, developmental trauma, trauma usually occurring at maturity such as rape, assault, car collisions and work injuries, as well as damage caused by war and natural disasters.

We have also found Ego State therapy to be helpful in working with traumatized children and adolescents, as well as with patients of all ages whose issues appear refractory to various types of good treatment. In these cases, it has been our experience that internal conflicts of the self, have prevented the client’s positive response to therapy methods. Ego State Therapy has helped to create a more functional internal family of self, which promotes greater functionality in every area of life.

Ego State Therapy as an intervention strategy can easily be combined with other approaches such as Somatic Experiencing, EMDR, Eye Movement Integration (EMI), Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), etc.

Ego State Therapy Training 

The training in Ego State Therapy has changed to be in alignment with international training frameworks as prescribed by Ego State Therapy International (ESTI).