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‘Ego State Therapy’ by Dr Gordon Emmerson is available via Amazon on this link.

Book Review:

‘Ego State Therapy’ by Gordon Emmerson PhD. (ISBN 978-1845900793) Crown House Publishing 2003.
Book Review by Andres Soto.

In short this book does a great job in giving the reader a detailed explanation of what Ego State therapy is, how it came about and how to effectively apply Ego State techniques to achieve therapeutic gains for clients.

Gordon Emmerson’s uncomplicated and detailed explanations of the different facets of Ego State Therapy make it easy for a therapist with some basic prior knowledge in the application of hypnosis and counselling to apply Ego State techniques in a range therapeutic scenarios.

Simply put, Ego State Therapy works off the premise that our personality is comprised of different parts which are created at different stages of our lives to enhance our ability to adapt to, and cope with life experiences.

Each part of our personality is referred to as an Ego state. In turn each Ego State has its own feelings and mini personality complete with its own strengths and weaknesses and roles that it performs for the individual.

We have surface ego states and underlying ego states. Surface states can be accessed quite easily through conversational techniques during counselling; however underlying states are best accessed through hypnosis. In any given moment one ego state is in the ‘Executive’, during this time we demonstrate that particular state’s personality’. E.g. If we are displaying anger then it is likely that an ego state which is responsible for anger is in the executive.

Ego State Therapy seems to have three broad uses in the therapeutic setting; Locating and processing trauma, improving Ego State communication and allowing a client to gain personal awareness of Ego States.

Locating and processing Trauma – According to Ego State theory, Ego States often harbour pain and unresolved emotions from an earlier time in life. This can lead to some sort of situational neurosis which is uncomfortable for the client and is often the reason behind the client seeking therapy in the first place.

Whilst there are many techniques and methods employed by hypnotherapists that are aimed at finding causation claiming permanent solutions to a client’s problem, few techniques effectively locate causation and process the related trauma in a way that can achieve permanent results for the client.

Ego State Therapy holds that it is not enough to simply find the causal element to a client’s issue in order to resolve it. The trauma related to the causal event must be processed by the ego state holding the trauma and any pain and emotional discord felt by that state must be resolved. This will go a long way to ensuring permanent results for the client.

A modified and I believe a much more complete version of the commonly used affect bridge technique is just one of the tools employed by Ego State Therapy to assist a client in locating and processing trauma held by underlying ego states.

Improving Ego State Communication – Even if trauma is not at the root of a client’s presenting issue, it is often observed that a client’s problem is perpetuated by some sort of internal conflict or lack of communication between Ego States. E.g. If a client studies for an exam but is unable to recall the studied information during exam conditions, it is possible that the wrong state is taking the exam.

Ego State Therapy facilitates communication between states allowing internal conflicts to be resolved leading a client to live life more fully. Resourceful ego states are engaged to assist weaker states or a change in roles between states for a more effective outcome can be negotiated so that all states are more in alignment.

Gaining Personal Awareness Of Ego States – Sometimes clients will want to simply understand why they behave in a certain way or why they are how they are. Ego State Therapy provides a useful tool by which an individual’s Ego States can be mapped, giving a client the self awareness that they seek. This process can bring to light for the client better ways of functioning in day to day life.

Despite my observation of numerous typographical errors within this publication, I have found the content of Ego State Therapy by Gordon Emmerson PhD a valuable asset to my practice.

Upon reading this book, I have started to implement the Ego State theory and techniques with clients and have found the methods employed to be nice and structured, extremely effective and ethical.

In my opinion, Ego State Therapy is certainly one of the most holistic approaches I have used in my practice and I haven’t even done the Ego State Therapy Course yet. I highly recommend this book to any therapist who is serious about creating lasting change for their clients.