Self states – working with inner selves

“Ego States” is a proven model in practice to have a clear idea of ​​the complexity, richness, inner tensions and contradictions of the human personality, as well as the injured areas of the psyche. Ego states are referred to as “ego states” in English. Its exact equivalent in Turkish is “Self-States”. The term ego states dates back to Paul Federn, a German-born psychoanalyst who immigrated to the United States while fleeing the National Socialists of Nazi Germany. Federn was the first to coin the concepts of “Ich-Zusatende” (German: Ich = I, Zustaende = States/States of the Self). Later, these concepts were discussed by others. Ego State’s becoming a school of therapy developed under the leadership of Helen and John Watkins.

There are various approaches to working with such inner (self) parts. For example; Such as Transactional Analysis (Berne), Schema Therapy (Young) from Behavioral Therapy, or “inner child work” also used in Focusing Therapy. It is also used in Roberto Assagiaoli’s Psychosynthesis as “piecework” with inner self states.

Ego State Therapy has proven effective in post-traumatic stress disorder (trauma therapy), complex forms of trauma, dissociative disorders – particularly dissociative identity disorder – in the therapy of borderline and other personality development disorders.

Ego State Therapy also represents a valuable tool for understanding clients’ life stories.

Some advantages of working with ego states in Ego State Therapy include:

  • A general view of different reactions, feelings and thoughts on an important issue or in certain situations can be obtained.
  • “It is perfectly normal to have such contradictions within oneself. It is often possible to bring these contradictions together at another level.” can generate thought.
  • The person may also say, “I can make room for some of these inner voices, deal with them, move away from their problematic aspects, or address important needs.” can instill his thought.

At the beginning of Ego State therapy, it is recommended to give micro-psychoeducation to the client by explaining the Ego State theory and model as the basis of human personality structure.

Historically Ego State Therapy (Ego State Therapy / Ego State Therapy)

French psychiatrist and psychotherapist Pierre Janetstudied traumatized people. Janet‘s works Freud, Adlerand JungIt is accepted as the main source of the theories of.

The idea of ​​the psychological model of parts, that is, the assumption of different internal parts in a person, Sigmund Freud in 1923formulated by

The founder of psychoanalysis put forward the concept that every person has three different parts inside him: a wide variety of internal psychological conflicts can arise from their relationships with each other. super ego (Über-Ich), ego (Ich) and id (Es).

colleague and student of Sigmund Freud Paul Federnfor the inner parts of the ego “ego states (Ego States)”He was the first to use the term.

Federn ego states arise in childhood, coexist more or less separately from each other, and are in a balanced or unstable state. inner-psychic dynamicannounced that they have created

Also a student of Freud Eric Berneas a psychotherapeutic method in 1961. Transactional Analysis (TA) developed the theory. In Berne theory, Parent-Ego-State” (Parent-Ego-State), ” Adult-Ego-State” (Adult-Ego-State) and ” Child-Ego-StateHe defined the concepts of ” (Child-Ego-State). (Berne is also seen by some experts as the pioneer of the Ego State therapy model)

In the same way CG Jungcan be seen as a polycentric model of personality, drawing on his observations of the nature of the human self. complextheorie‘ has developed. John and Helen WatkinsThe foundations of the Ego State Therapy model theory of Jung’s theory of the Complex and Paul Federn’s theory of two energiesis based on.

Developmental process of Ego State Therapy and its spread in the psychotherapy community

Ego State Therapy was developed in the 1970s by American John and Helen Watkins. a method of hypnoanalytic therapywas developed as (Analytical Hypnosis)

Helen Watkins (1921-2002)She was born as Helyanthe Maria Wagner in Augsburg, Germany, as the daughter of Josef Wagner and Anna Maria Wagner.

His father passed away before Watkins was born. After the death of his father, he lived with his mother with his grandparents.

On June 26, 1930, Helen Watkins immigrated to the United States with her mother, New York, while in elementary school.

They lived in Pittsburgh, USA for a period with their uncle and aunt who were bridge engineers.

Helen Watkins, graduating from Pennsylvania State University, where he received his undergraduate degree, and received his master’s degree from the University of Denver.

Watkins, who had three marriages in her life, was first married to Robert Verner, who died in 1943. She later married the father of her two children, Richard Huth, she.

Watkins has been a psychologist at the University of Montana Counseling Center for over three decades.

She later married John Goodrich Watkins, a psychologist, in 1971.

The couple first published their Ego State Therapy work in 1979. Today, Ego State therapy is constantly being developed by its practitioners and is today recognized worldwide.

Ego State therapy has been spreading and establishing itself in Germany for nearly 30 years. According to the German Ego State Therapy Working Group, of which I am a member, it is today seen as the most common therapy model in trauma studies in Germany.

Today, in more than twenty institutes in Germany, Ego State Therapy International (ESTI)in line with the syllabus Ego State therapy trainingis given.

Significant advances in the worldwide dissemination of Ego State therapy have been made by students of John and Helen Watkins, Gordon Emmerson, Claire Frederick, Maggie Phillips, Woltemade Hartmanand Kai FritzscheProvided with the contributions of

Today, Ego State therapy is frequently used in the treatment of trauma-related disorders. However, Ego State therapy can also be used in all areas other than trauma. Ego State therapy is sometimes considered the last chance, especially when all therapeutic options have been exhausted and other therapies have not worked.

Basic assumptions of the ego-state model

John and Helen Watkins consider each person’s personality as a whole made up of psychological parts, called “Ego State”. The person may or may not be aware of their ego state.

Gordon Emmerson assumes that every person has an average of 5-15 ego states, and all of them can be activated – for example, in a normal daily week – and affect our way of life. That is, different ego states are activated at different times, depending on the situation, which behave differently according to their functions.

Ego states belong to every person with a healthy psyche, and their dynamics do not need to produce pathological symptoms in any way.

For example: When a passionate female ballerina dances, she is the “dancer” in that moment. He is in the mood for it, possibly sensing a sense of flow, perhaps a sense of lightness. Perhaps cognitive assumptions such as “When I dance I am free” or “I dance and I am one with the world, I am whole and happy” are also related to this situation.

These feelings, thoughts, sensations, and possibly certain behaviors belong to the Ego State “Dancer”, who in this example definitely represents a resource. Each Ego State is individual, based on a biography and has its own field of experience.

If the “dancer” Ego State in the ballet class is now active, the “daughter (Mother’s daughter)” (with her own special behavior and experience system) will “pause” and will not be activated. All Ego States can perceive each other so they know what is going on.

However, phenomena have also been observed according to the Ego State model, where, for example, a person who activates an anxiously tense EgoState in a stressful exam situation can hardly remember another EgoState in a relaxed state.

For example In the Ego State model, one or more Ego States may become active for people who have dissociative symptoms due to traumatic life experiences with the other ego state active while trying to take the exam a few days ago in a pleasant environment such as in peace in the garden. When the person transitions to another Ego State, he may not remember the activated Ego states at this time of dissociation.

Hypnotherapeutic Techniques in EgoState Therapy

Ego State therapy is a school of psychotherapy oriented towards an independent, creative, eclectic and innovative form of therapy in which hypnotherapeutic techniques represent an essential element.

Ego State Therapy is also considered by some experts as a continuation of hypnoanalytic therapy (analytical hypnosis).The effectiveness of hypnotherapy for many different disorders has been proven by many meta-analysis studies, especially in the treatment of pain, anxiety, personality disorders and behavioral disorders.

Ego State therapists state that using EgoState therapy without hypnosis and trance phenomena does not work. On the other hand, in a study conducted in South Africa, it was concluded that Ego State therapy can be performed successfully without the elements of hypnosis (Da Silva, 2012). My personal experience favors the use of more or less trance elements in Ego State therapy, depending on the therapist’s professional background and personal approach to hypnosis.

The use of trance states instead of hypnosis and hypnotherapy is very effective in Ego State studies. But trance states do not need to be applied with hypnotherapy methods. In the hypnotherapy method, direct guidance is used. Instead, I find it more effective to work with the trance states used in Focusing therapy and to integrate the Focusing Therapy basic therapeutic stance into Ego State therapy.

What are the scientific researches and studies on Ego State Therapy?

in america Washington State UniversityOn Ego State therapy in German-American Prof. Dr. Arreed Franz Barabaszscientific research was carried out by

In studies, memories of trauma were activated by the Ego State therapy intervention and relived in this therapeutically directed trance to create an abreactive effect in the trance state. Higher integration of traumatic material is achieved through Ego State therapy. As a result of the study, it was observed that post-traumatic symptoms such as acute stress reactions can be significantly reduced. It was observed that the effect of therapy was still detectable 18 weeks after treatment. In addition, a similar result was obtained in the study titled “Effectiveness of Ego State Therapy in PTSD: Trauma Resolution, Depression and Anxiety”.

Even three months after treatment, ego State therapy has been scientifically proven to be an effective method for reducing the severity of symptoms in depression and anxiety disorders in PTSD (for more detailed information on the research, “Barabasz & al., 2013”).

Also, in recent years in the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis Hundreds of scientific articles have been published on Ego State Therapy. Research has revealed that Ego State therapy can help people with post-traumatic or dissociative disorders recognize their inner and outer boundaries and strengthen their own boundaries. It has also been observed that patients with narcissistic personality disorder improved significantly after only one year of Ego State therapy.

Also in South Africa dissociative disorder A systematic, qualitative phenomenological study was conducted on adult patients with mental illness (Fritz & da Silva, 2012). Patients stated that the integration of the parts helped them feel more holistic. In particular, externalization enabled the person to recognize different parts of himself, to come into contact with them, to communicate with them and then to integrate them.

John Watkinsstudent of Hartman , completed her doctoral dissertation on “Ego State Therapy with Children with Sexual Trauma” in 1994. (Ego State Therapy With Sexually Traumatized Children, Hartman, 1994).

In his study, Hartman presented the Ego State therapy process of a 9-year-old abused girl in detail in a theoretical and scientific framework. As early as 1993, Schwartz & Gay published an article entitled “EgoState Therapy for Coping with Eating Disorder Patients”.

Integrating other schools of psychotherapy in Ego State therapy

When applying Ego State therapy, the focus is on finding an individual approach that is unique to each client.

Thus, elements from other forms of therapy are often included in the process.

for example EMDR(EMDR, Turkish abbreviation Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, English EMDR: “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing”), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, psychodramaor Body Focused Psychotherapy( Focusing Therapyetc.) can be easily integrated into the process when working with Ego State Therapy.

The Watkins couple has encouraged practitioners and experts of this school to continue working on Ego State theory, as it was conceived as an integrative method of Ego State Therapy. This has led various Ego State experts around the world to have differing views on key aspects of the method, such as the trance depth required for Ego State therapy.

But in Ego state therapy ” Inner Strength” or ” Internal AuxiliariesThe studies on internal resources with concepts such as ” are the same in all ego state therapy specialists.

Ego State Therapy also places emphasis on creating highly individual therapy processes that are carefully and responsibly planned, performed and controlled in collaboration with the client. At this point, the metaphor of building a house with different building blocks, different building elements and different materials, in which an individual house (therapy) is designed and built, would be appropriate. It’s important that a house doesn’t look the same as other houses, but that it fits the needs of its occupants.

Because of this therapeutic approach, it is clear that a comprehensive manualization for a therapy concept is not possible with Ego state therapy. Instead, therapists can be framed for individually tailored intervention proposals for the client during the therapy session.

It should also be noted that the concept of personality (Persönlichkeit) on which Ego State Therapy is based is different from that in “mainstream” psychology.

According to the concept of the Ego State, personality is not rigid. It develops in various aspects, even if only in nuances, through therapeutic contact and communication with various parts of the personality.

Also, a person’s different selves (ego states) can sometimes be in the foreground, or sometimes some selves are inactive, frozen. Therefore, a person’s perception of personality can be different at different times.

Ego State Therapy Institute Turkey

Ego state therapy studies in Turkey are carried out by Abdullah ÖZER, the founder of “John Watkins Ego State Therapy Institute Turkey®”. EGO-STATE-THERAPIE DEUTSCHLAND (EST-DE) “Germany Ego State Therapy” training program is implemented in Ego State Therapy training. John Watkins Ego State Therapy Institute Turkey®(REGISTER NO 2021 067362 TURKISH PATENT AND TRADEMARK INSTITUTION) was established in Izmir in 2021. Abdullah ÖZER received his Ego State Therapy training in Germany and is an Ego State Therapist accredited by the Ego State Therapy Association of Germany. Abdullah ÖZER is also an internationally approved Ego State Therapist accredited by Ego State Therapy International (ESTI). Abdullah ÖZER is the first and only accredited Ego State Therapist representing Turkey both in Germany and in the international arena. He gives Ego State Therapy trainings as a trainer at the Ego State Therapy Institute, of which he is the Founding President.

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Abdullah OZER

Social Worker, Scientist (Clinical Psychology)

Schools of Psychotherapy that he has been trained in:

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