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Ego State Therapy

We all display particular patterns of thinking, feeling and acting, depending on the situation. The transition is usually seamless in well-adjusted people, but where there has been disrupted attachment or sustained early life trauma the result is often the formation of particular ego states, also known as alters, parts, or schema modes. These states perform roles usually geared towards survival, but in adulthood they can be dysfunctional. Depending upon a client’s early life experiences some ego states can be malevolent, wanting bad things for the client such as willing them to suffer in some way.

An ego state system may be described as an organized system of behaviors and experiences that have varying boundaries, or as syndromes of behavior and experience that are clustered and organized around some common principle. The states may be organized to enhance adaptability in coping with events or problems.
Ego stated may have normative functions geared toward protection and adaptation, and imaginal creative functions, such as daydreaming. However, ego states formed in childhood trauma may function maladaptively in present life situations. They may seek to protect their existence and roles and the internal system even if these methods are counterproductive now.