What are Ego States?

Each of us must navigate several discrete identities and roles. For example, a woman might adopt the role of protector toward her children but feel like a fearful or neglected child around her mother. Those ego states are very real and the woman can experience intense emotions that seem to contradict each other depending on the “ego state” she is in. Ego state therapy aims to integrate all “parts” into a coherent self.


Ego states are an adaptation to various life circumstances. Sometimes a person becomes stuck in an ego state, or finds that an ego state is no longer beneficial. A child abuse victim, for example, might get stuck in the role of frightened child. This could lead to anxiety, unhealthy relationships, and other behavioral patterns based on an ego state that's no longer functional.

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What is Ego State Therapy?

Ego state therapy is based on the idea that a person's psyche is the amalgamation of several distinct ego states or “parts”, such as the wounded child part or controlling part.

How Does EMDR Therapy Work?

With EMDR, we search out the unresolved memories that are tied to your current symptoms or discomfort. Then one by one, we revisit them and have another chance to understand them and resolve them. This time in a way that we are prepared and it is not overwhelming. After each memory is resolved, any new experiences that happen now will not cause those old things to come back up from the past. So, once we are done with EMDR, any uncomfortable feelings, negative thoughts about yourself, and even unwanted responses will probably get much better. With EMDR, instead of providing tools to deal with your problem (like in regular talk therapy), we will resolve the problem – the unresolved memories. As each memory is resolved, the unwanted emotions, negative beliefs, and symptoms that go along with that memory often fade away.

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