Relationship Levels in Ego State Therapy
Ego State therapy works at five relationship levels. Each level has its own characteristics. It also requires specific therapeutic interventions. For a successful Ego States therapy, it is essential to observe all levels and to be able to act flexibly on them.
The five levels of relationship are:
1. Level of relationship between therapist and client
2. The level of relationship between the therapist and the client’s ego states
3. Level of relationship between client and ego states
4. Level of relationship between ego states
5. The level of relationship between the therapist’s ego states and the client’s ego states
First relationship level relates to the way we relate to our client. We experience and create a therapeutic relationship with a person as a whole. The stabilization of our client is at the forefront for us. However, working with clients with complex dissociative disorder should not be initiated at this level.
second level As therapists, we relate to our clients’ ego states. There are several ways to communicate with ego states. The most important aspect of this relationship level is the concrete encounter with the client’s ego states. As a therapist, I think I need to adapt to the Ego State, his view of the world, his level of development and relationship patterns. I contact the childlike Ego State differently than an adolescent or adult Ego-State. Likewise, I associate a destructive Ego State with a symptom-focused Ego State in another way and shape the therapeutic process differently.
The important question is how can I succeed in developing a sustainable relationship with the client’s ego states. This relationship is a prerequisite for further therapeutic steps. If they fail to relate, they will not be able to reach the ego state from subsequent interventions or be included in the support they are trying to offer.
Third level of relationship is the client’s relationship to their own ego states. The relationship levels here again differ. When it comes to resource-rich ego states, positive responses are received in most cases. Clients are often surprised, happy, straight up, start to move, literally color, feel their energy and talent. In contrast, establishing relationships with traumatized Ego States is different. For example, traumatized Ego states are rejected, ignored, marginalized, devalued, or blamed. On the other hand, they can cause extreme pain and severe pain.
Responses in this situation include: Compassion, protection, and rescue impulses.
Interestingly, many clients take more responsibility for themselves as soon as they relate to their ego state and decide to develop them further. Building relationships with destructive Ego States is no less demanding. It requires patience, skill, courage, and a willingness to face the insides that can be fiercely rejected or firmly rejected a relationship offer. Refusal of the client’s attempts to come into contact with their ego states can make psychotherapeutic work more difficult when working with both symptom-related ego states or traumatized ego states as well as destructive ego states.
Fourth relationship level defines the relationships between Ego States. This can be compared to looking at relationships between participants in group therapy. It is possible to find coalitions, fronts, power struggles. There may be isolated ego states or self-concealed ego states that do not dare to go out. It is also possible to find supporters, boycotters, hardworking and intimidated ego states here. The network of relationships is very diverse. In many cases, respectful and helpful cooperation may seem impossible. However, it should not be forgotten that the relationship work performed here is one of the most important building blocks of Ego State therapy.
Fifth level of relationship It is concerned with the relationship between the therapist’s ego states and the client’s ego states. “How does which ego state of the client respond to which ego state?” is gaining importance. These questions that clarify the importance of self-awareness are also essential to therapy and our daily relationships with other people.
For an Ego State therapist, none of the five relationship levels above presented in their Ego State therapy take precedence. Relationship levels are not arranged hierarchically. The importance of the second and third level of relationship is just as important as the study of relationships between ego states. Each relationship level has its own importance.
Integration and process-oriented goals of Ego State therapy:
Purpose of Ego State therapy is to enable people to use their Ego State to create a higher internal coherence in the process of change with the environment, thereby promoting growth processes, the potential for development, the ability to relate, and the ability to self-determination. The goal is the healthy integration of self-states. Integration increases one’s ability to find one’s way in the world, that is, to meet the demands of life appropriately and to shape life. It increases one’s ability to experience one’s own diversity, satisfaction, and happiness. Ego States’ cooperation is a very important prerequisite for the process. The road there can sometimes be very easy and sometimes very difficult.
Process-oriented goals should be addressed circularly, not linearly. Each target can reappear at different points in the therapy process, regardless of whether it has been processed before. Goals build on each other. Achieving one of the goals requires reaching the previous goal. For example, communication with an Ego State is possible only if that Ego State has been successfully contacted beforehand. On the other hand, making contact does not automatically activate fluid communication. However, the Ego State may refuse to communicate. Some objectives can be accomplished in parallel or in a different order. Since we often have to work with many Ego States, it is aimed to achieve the goals we set for each Ego State separately. Process-oriented goals also serve as orientation in the therapy process.
In the case of difficulties experienced in the therapy process, it is important to first clarify which of the goals requires the most attention at the moment. Process-oriented goals include:
1. Getting in touch with ego states
2. Communicating with ego states
3. Development of acceptance for ego states
4. Developing an understanding of the functionality of ego states
5. Support for ego states
6. Use of ego states
7. Developing an internal support system for ego states
In Ego State therapy There are several ways to communicate with the Ego State. Often these methods are combined. The client’s speech patterns (Sprachmuster) offer many possibilities for contacting the Ego State.
When a client expresses that one side wants different things and the other side wants different things, it is an invitation to begin ego state therapy by finding ways in which both parts can have a say.
Events that clients describe as involuntary and want to leave behind immediately are another good way to establish contact. The important thing is for the client to emphasize that the problematic behavior, especially the problematic one, was not done on purpose.
The primary way to make contact depends on whether the part responsible for this experience is the EgoState, and whether the client can imagine getting to know this Ego State and applying it to better understand it.
Several Ego States may also be contacted that are associated with a particular issue, question, or symptom. What matters is the offer to invite all Ego States involved in the subject to work on the subject. Various methods can be used for the study. Like figures or symbols. For this, internal imagination and body-focused therapy interventions are used. Hypnotherapeutic approaches and working methods are of particular importance. The application of hypnotherapeutic work methods and trance work is central to Ego State therapy. Hypnosis is used to communicate with the Ego States. It can also be used for various metaphors and next steps in the therapy process. It is possible to work with ego states outside of hypnosis and trance studies, but it is very important to use hypnotherapeutic methods, especially to reach traumatic ego states. Contact with Ego States may be incidental during any intervention. However, it is easier to reach and work in the Ego State, especially in a trance state. Under the hypnotic trance, it is easier to reach the Ego States that hide and hide themselves.
The second goal is process-oriented. is to communicate with the Ego State after making contact. Ego States, by nature, do not communicate immediately. May refuse to communicate. If we are to work with, understand, reach, and integrate them into the holistic system, we need to be able to communicate with them.
In hypnotherapeutic studies , Ego State can be directly contacted and discussed. The biggest advantage in this situation is that with the help of therapeutic trance, EgoStates can be reached, which cannot be reached without the use of trance states.
Other variants of communication may be used and combined in other therapeutic approaches. For this, on the one hand, possible conditions for maintaining communication should be considered and fulfilled. On the other hand, the most appropriate form of communication should also be set.
The reasons for the Ego State’s rejection can be very diverse. For example, a trusting relationship with us as therapists may not be enough, or he may fear being attacked by the client as soon as the Ego State emerges. On the other hand, there may be internal prohibitions so that information does not leak out. Also, the Ego State can occur in the pre-linguistic period when verbal communication is not possible. These various examples show that diverse and creative proposals are necessary to establish and maintain sustainable communication.
Third process-oriented goal is the acceptance of the Ego States. It is possible to contact and communicate with Ego States. However, this does not mean that Ego States will be accepted by the client. In many cases, Ego States are rejected, ignored, or fought against by clients.
The same can happen in the client-oriented part of the Ego States.
Ego States may display very distant or extremely humiliating and damaging behaviors towards the client. In this case, mutual acceptance is a remote possibility. Acceptance and determination are an important topic in and of themselves within Ego State therapy. Being able to accept an Ego State, which was previously denied the right to exist in the inner system, as its own is a very important step in the therapy process.
Acceptance and understanding are very important in Ego State therapy. Building acceptance and understanding is the fourth process-oriented goal of Ego State therapy.
Sometimes Ego States may be accepted, but their functions not understood. Sometimes it can be the other way around. An understanding of an Ego State may develop but not an understanding of its existence and function. Both require significant psychotherapeutic effort.
Developing an understanding of an Ego State function is a central step in Ego State therapy. Dramatic changes and advances occur in the therapy process when the client understands what the Ego State is important for, and in some cases even necessary for survival.
We get information about the function from Ego States itself. For this we need steps such as contact, communication and in the best case acceptance. Acceptance very often increases with an increase in understanding. In this context, these two goals support each other. However, the seven process-oriented goals are generally intertwined and affect each other. In some cases, achieving one goal is a prerequisite for the next goal, in other cases the queue is in the background, and what matters is which steps are possible and necessary for which goals in the therapy process.
Fifth process-oriented goal consists of supporting the Ego States. Ego states need our support. This support should be initiated during the therapy process. The support process, on the other hand, does not occur on its own.
Ego States often have little or no capacity to perceive positive external developments. They may feel stuck in a stalemate. It may seem as if they are deprived of new experiences or as if all new experiences are integrated into an old pattern without that pattern changing.
In some cases, clients are faced with genuinely threatening situations that further intensify the critical experience of the Ego States and justify their strategy. In these cases, of course, they need various levels of support. The support area contains answers to questions related to previous goals.
For example; Is it possible to contact the Ego States that will be supported? Can we communicate with them through the client or therapist? Are they accepted by the client? Is there any understanding for these ego states?
Once these questions are answered, the main thing is to learn about their ego state, understand their needs and take care of them. Existing resources will be integrated into Ego States support. For example, resource-rich (recouces) Ego States could be included in the study. In this way, support can be obtained from the internal system. Various levels of support are provided in Ego State therapy. The focus here is on supporting one or more Ego States that need help in various ways. This support takes place on the inner stage. On the other hand, in many cases, support is also important in the external scene, where changes are actively initiated outside.
Sixth goal is the use of Ego States. It is about integrating resource-rich Ego States on the one hand and winning destructive Ego States on the other. Destructive Ego States must be earned in the process of change as they are often very suspicious. It is pointless to expect them to act cooperatively and constructively. The important thing is to try to win them. A relationship proposal should be made that increases the likelihood of such behavior. However, they cannot force cooperation. Imagine being able to win an ego state for cooperation that boycotts the psychotherapeutic process, or an Ego State for previously self-harming and new strategies. The use of these ego states poses a great challenge in the therapeutic process, but they must be earned. Because they have a high potential for change and development.
Seventh process-oriented goal consists of developing an internal team or internal family with their own support skills. This goal can be viewed from two perspectives. The first perspective is based on the interaction between the various Ego States. It focuses on building the inner team spirit or inner family atmosphere. Which ego states can be included in this team spirit, which ones are known, how do they treat each other, can they support each other, can they develop and implement their own support strategies together? These questions are important in that the client can experience the diversity of their ego states during the therapy process and are related to feeling different developmental design options.
The second point of view is formed by looking at small details. The wide-angle perspective portrays the “big picture” of the internal system when dealing with relevant life circumstances and relationship situations, while the microscopic perspective sharpens the view of the little things. For example, important support skills may become available when access to an internal strong Ego State is established in psychotherapeutic work. The seventh process-oriented goal therefore does not end psychotherapy. It accompanies the entire psychotherapy process. All process-oriented goals can be related to the entire psychotherapy process, or they can be transferred to a specific therapy phase and to a single intervention and session.
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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Social Worker, Scientist (Clinical Psychology)
Schools of Psychotherapy that he has been trained in:
- Focusing (DFI)
- Positive Psychotherapy (WAPP)
- Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (CSU)
- Ego State Therapy (EST-DE/ESTI)
- Ericksonian Psychotherapy (MEG-DE)
- Logotherapy and Existential Analysis (VFI-Wien)