In this episode, we continue our discussion on Ego State work focusing particularly on preparation and resourcing.

Initial Ego State Work:

  • Today we are focusing on ego states as preparation and resource.
  • Ego states have the ability to change. It is important for both the therapist and the client to remember this. 
  • Through the increased reality orientation that may occur with efficient trauma processing, ego states may combine, grow and adapt.
  • Clear explanations about the ego state system and its functioning, from the past and within the present, continue to give the client the potential for self-understanding.
  • Dissociated ego states may hold aspects of memory, narrative, and physical sensations.
  • There are also ego states that can be considered healthy because of their well-functioning, adaptive resources.

Accessing the Ego State System:

  • Get creative with ego states by drawing or mapping out the parts or creating an internal visual is helpful, too.
  • We must accurately asses the amount of empathy for the system parts and developmental a plan of action for this work. We can achieve this through observing the client’s verbal and body language.
  • Each ego state is an adaptation of the nervous system. This is a product for what was determined to be essential for the survival at one point in time.
  • Ex: having an inner critical voice might have alleviated punishment from parents during childhood (by reminding the child to stay quiet and invisible).
  • Questioning interweaves may be used to help the client identify the ego states:
    • “How old were you when that part had to take on that critical function?”
    • “What was going on in your life?”
    • “What was good about having that part function in that way?”

The Relationship of the Therapist to the Ego State:

  • The therapist must continue to reassure the ego states that they cannot and will not be , abandoned, forgotten or taken away. Even if their roles adjust and change over time, they are still necessary to the survival of the ego state system.
  • Therapist must form alliances with the ego states during the therapy sessions and overall treatment. 
  • Acknowledging the ego states’ pain, qualities, and roles is critical for successful treatment.

Creating a Home Base:

  • The “home base” is a place where the ego states can find safety, privacy, and relaxation. The creation of a home base is a new idea for many survivors who did not have those things in childhood (Forgash, 2004).

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Forgash, C., & Knipe, J. (2012, January 01). Integrating EMDR and Ego State treatment for clients with Trauma Disorders. Retrieved February 23, 2021, from