Ego State Therapy



Ego state therapy is a psychodynamic approach that was founded by John and Helen Watkins.  Although, it has a clear psychoanalytical foundation, results seem to be much more efficient than psychoanalysis.  It is an effective and very useful approach when working with internal conflicts.


Ego states are the parts of our personality that make up our entire self.  These parts give us the ability to adapt, think, act, and respond differently in different situations.  Sometimes conflict occurs internally among different ego states and an individual may not even be conscious of why the conflict is there.  Exploring and working with the different parts of our selves can produce efficient results and relief. 


Usually ego state therapy is combined with hypnosis in order to effectively explore the covert ego states and any internal conflict(s).  This is especially useful if the conflict is not a conscious process, which is often the case.  However, it should be noted that ego state theory and therapy applications can and are utilized without hypnosis as well.  Many therapists assign journaling assignments such as writing to “the child within” which certainly assumes the existence of a covert ego state. 


For a more thorough description of ego state therapy and a review written by Helen Watkins (one of Ego State therapy’s cofounders) check out the following:  


With John Watkins at an American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) conference, 2004.

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