Ego States

One of the primary, vital, pragmatic concepts existing in psychology is that of ego states.

Ego states inform and underscore the entire basis of the work we do in hypnosis.

The theory is simple at the outset.

After you have learned the concepts, you begin noticing which ego states you are using in every day life, as well as those of others, so it is very practical in addition to being a fundamental part of hypnosis.

Basically, each person has an internal psychic makeup consisting of a triad.

The Child
 is where Joy is found. A person who is so serious all the time that they never laugh or enjoy them self is effectively severed from their Child Ego State. On the other side of the coin, a person who shuns responsibility may be stuck in a Child Ego State.

The Adult is that part of you which engages in "reality testing." That's a fancy way of saying that the Adult Ego State is focused primarily on engaging in meaningfully with the others and the world, in order to achieve satisfaction.

The Parent. This is very important. The Parent Ego State is like a voice which tells us what is and what isn't acceptable. It actually is perceived as an external dogma, and in the cases of mental illness this voice is perceived as actually coming from the outside (that is, as a hallucination). Nevertheless, when we are raised as children we have no choice but to internalize the dogma of our parents. In fact, certain things are passed on unconsciously from generation to generation. Let me give examples. As a child, we may have been introjected with the Parent Ego State that says, "God does not exist". This may have been very indirect, in the simple fact that God was never mentioned. This becomes an "external" imprint which effects the both the Child and Adult Ego States in absolutely profound ways.

In hypnosis, we are particularly interested in working with your Child Ego States. There are situations where trauma occurred in some fashion, or you otherwise accepted a FALSE belief about yourself, from the Parent (or any Authority figure). Specifically, a damaging believe that limits the expression of freedom and the amount of joy that is NATURALLY contained in the Child. In other words, hypnosis is a process of re-educating the Child who, at a time when they were defenseless, "learned something about reality" that was harmful to them.

The truth of the matter is that "Memories buried alive still survive." This means that repressed ego states which contain a wealth of feelings, thoughts and being-ness CONTINUE to have a secret influence on the the behavior -- typically sabotaging us because the buried Child Ego State is attached to the false Parent Imprint.

Hypnosis is unique in that it RAPIDLY makes available these Ego States -- situations which you have not thought about for so many years can instantly rush into your mind. "Memories buried alive still survive." By the way, this is why Hypnosis is the most effective form of therapy; traditional talk therapy never gets to the core of things -- if it does it takes many years of wasted time and money.

I will now give an illustration.

There once was a little girl who fell deeply in love with art. When she was creating art, she felt alive and it awakened a desire in her that made her feel wonderful. Then one day, she spilled a lot of paint on the new rug. Dad flipped out, and the verbal and physical punishment was so severe that the little girl buried that part of her. The memory of having ever painted was forgotten about. The repression of her love of art was held in place by the voice (and hand) of her father, which psychically are VERY real.

In hypnosis, these memories surfaced, and the Child Ego State was re-educated. In a regressed state, that Child was visited (mentally and emotionally) by her own Adult Ego State. The Child learned that the father over-reacted and it wasn't fair; but the Child learned that she DOES get to grow up and can, if she wants (-- if she really wants!! --) can continue painting and being happy. This process of re-education freed up a tremendous amount of energy, and incredible progress was made very quickly because of the hypnosis. Her depression was lifted, although previously she had not even known that was the cause.

This releasing of repressing forces of the Parent upon the Child is, most likely, the reason why people report literally feeling lighter and freer after the sessions.



Historically, Ego States come to us from a few sources including Federn (1958), Penfield (1952) and Berne (1963), although its logistical usage was used with "shell shocked" veterans returning from world war, by means of hypnoanalysis (Watkins, 1949). The overall process of working with Ego States in Hypnosis is commonly called Hypnoanalysis.

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