• Singapore 208What are Ego States?
  • How states are formed?
  • What are their jobs?
  • What are their resources?
  • How can they be changed?


Paul Federn was the first to identify and name ego states.  Later John and Helen Watkins went on to formulate Ego State Theory and Therapy.

Gordon Emmerson further developed ego state techniques and named his work Resource Therapy.

Outline Theory

  • All have ego states, even very young children
  • They are formed when we are young
  • Some states are traumatised - afraid of dogs
  • Sometimes the states  are in conflict with one another - sit on the couch/do work you bought home
  • Sometimes they are stuck in the past - feeling little or scared
  • Some parts produce body experiences such as panic attacks, IBS
  • Some parts have habits that other parts don't like - smoking, gambling.

Purpose of therapy is to help you:

  • Achieve inner peace
  • Empowerment over fear
  • Relief of symptoms
  • Balance - peace and quiet on the inside.

Ego State Theory says that our personality is made up of lots of different ego states, sometimes called parts. This is something that we already know. We say part of me wants to do the dishes but another part wants to lie on the couch and watch TV.

The expression "she really pushes my buttons" describes the fact that the another person's behaviour activates part of us to come to the surface, often this is a part that either we don't like or we don't want the other person to see.

Most ego states are formed in early childhood in response to certain events. A state may be formed as a result of a traumatic event or may be formed by reinforcement of a particular behaviour or emotion. If we are expected to be a "good girl" behaviour is rewarded or reinforced and assertive behaviour is punished we learn to use this "good girl" part to get positive recognition.

We develop a range of ego states for dealing with many situations and many of those states grow up to be productive and successful.

Some states we view as destructive or negative. Those states may smoke, drink too much, play the pokies or have other additions.

Some states only show up in response to very specific stimuli.

  • Being afraid of - spiders, dogs or needles
  • Being claustrophobic - lifts, small spaces, locked in
  • Afraid of heights - bridges, tall buildings.

Each ego state is distinct, having its own characteristics and job to do.

Other Therapies Using Ego State or Parts

  • Transactional Analysis
  • Voice Dialogue
  • Parts Therapy