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Unread July 6th, 2005, 01:32 PM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Bainbridge Island WA
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Default Re: ego state therapy

An EMDR therapist can do EMDR and never mention ego state therapy, because EMDR was developed without reference to ego state therapy. However, more and more EMDR practitioners include ego state therapy in their work both as a cognitive interweave and to prepare the more complicated cases for EMDR work.

Ego state therapy (EST) was develped by Dr Jack Watkins and Helen Watkins. I first combined it with EMDR in 1992. Now it is used widely by many practitioners.

The purpose of it is to give a voice to parts of the self that have been disowned. EMDR gets stuck sometimes when something inside gets pushed away or disowned or dissociated. EST is a way to reenlist that forsaken part of self in the work.

Its not safe for any practitioner to do EMDR (standard protocol) on trauma on a highly dissociative client without first doing containment and stabilization as well as ego state work to prepare the self system for trauma work.

Most people aren't highly dissociative, but many people do have disowned parts of self. Its on a continuum.

Many people can do exercises to get to know themselves, including disowned states, but its pretty hard to do the difficult pieces without help. That's because the defenses protect against full knowing of these parts, often because of the misbelief that the old dangers are still present when they are not. The defensive parts of self loyally and courageously continue to fight the old wars, tho the war is over externally. It lives on internally. Like those Japanese soldiers that were found in the mountains of a remote Phillipine island decades after WWII was over. They didn't know it was present day and the war was over.

So that's the limiting factor in doing ones own ego state work.

Still, its possible for some to imagine an internal conference room and invite any part of self that has something to say about a given issue (say, the current job problem), and be open to whatever comes to mind. Even non-dissociative people may see aspects of self that surprise them. Journaling while inviting those parts to contribute can produce good results. There's a workbook called "Castle of the Pearl" that has some interesting exercises in this regard, though its not really an ego state book.

No, the easiest way to do EST is with an EST therapist. The 2nd World Congress of EST will be held in South Africa in Feb 2006. For EMDR practitioners, there are typically numerous presentations at the EMDRIA conference, such as the one scheduled for Seattle in Sept 2005, that include ego state work. I typically present on that subject but this year will present on a specific phase of EST work on complex cases with my colleague Joan Golston, namely, 43 Secrets of Successful Stabilization: Taming the Storm. Other presentations will cover the basics I imagine, since its quite widespread now.
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