Ego state therapy was developed by John G. Watkins and Helen Watkins, psychotherapists who specialized in hypnosis, dissociation, and multiple personalities.
Ego state psychotherapy believes that we all have many parts of the self (ego states) that function with varying degrees of autonomy.
Each of us navigates different identities and roles. For example, one crucial identity is the wounded inner child. The task is to integrate it into a coherent self.
Ego states are an adaptation to various life circumstances, rather than innate states of being. Sometimes a person becomes stuck in an ego state or finds that an ego state is no longer beneficial.
Somatic Ego State Therapy is an extension of the classic ego state therapy but with a body-oriented component.
Developed by Dr. Maggie Phillips, this concept combines Ego State Therapy, Somatic Experiencing, and the Polyvagal Theory by Stephen Porges.
Somatic Ego State Therapy is an effective way to uncover and treat conscious and unconscious parts of the personality, so-called ego states. Especially prominent are these in persons who have experienced trauma in the course of their lives. They develop ego states that have difficulties to adjust to the demands of life.
Symptoms such as chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and self-esteem problems are often associated with such states. Somatic Ego State Therapy aims to uncover and integrate these into the overall personality.
The therapist’s task is first to identify and access these dysfunctional or conflicted parts. The therapist must then help the client resolve the dysfunction and integrate these parts harmoniously into the rest of the ego state system.
We use hypnosis in an attempt to work with each ego state.
For about 25 years, ego state therapy has only been around and, several studies have shown that it can be beneficial for the treatment of stress-related illnesses, including posttraumatic stress.
Some 20 years of experience with this approach have demonstrated that complex psychodynamic problems can often resolve in a relatively short time compared to more traditional analytic therapies.