As mental health professionals, we have the privilege and responsibility of helping people heal from past traumas and build better futures. Each client has a unique story, and each therapy approach requires careful tailoring to fit their needs and goals. I would like to share, with permission from my client, a case history that illustrates the power of Ego State Therapy (EST) in trauma treatment.
Michael (not his real name) is a 32-year-old cis-gendered man who approached me seeking help for anxiety, depression, and flashbacks that disrupted is daily life and relationships. He reported experiencing physical and emotional abuse from his father during his childhood, whilst feeling like he had to dissociate from his true self to survive. He also felt guilty and ashamed for not being able to protect his younger sister from the abuse, and angry at his mother for not leaving the abusive relationship and protecting them. He also reported that he didn’t feel able to talk to his sister about the abuse.
During the initial assessment, I listened to Michael’s story, and explained how EST works by helping clients identify and integrate the different fractured parts of themselves that have become disconnected, wounded and time-frozen due to trauma. I invited Michael to imagine a safe and soothing place in his mind from where he could work comfortably and securely.
Over the next few sessions, we used various EST techniques to explore and transform Michael’s inner landscape. For example, we invited his protective and wounded parts into dialogue to negotiate new roles and boundaries, and to express their needs and feelings in a safe and respectful way. He learned how to work with intrusive and disempowering images, called ‘introjects’. And as a hypnotherapist, I also integrated inner child approaches to help Michael reconnect with his inner child, his inner parent, and his inner wise self as part of the healing process.
As Michael became more familiar and engaged with his different ego states and their functions, he started to feel more empowered and increasingly more connected to his true self. He learned how to use self-hypnosis and self-talk to calm his anxiety and self-soothe his inner child. He also discovered how to work with ego states that connected him with strengths and resources, such as creativity, empathy, and spirituality.
After 12 sessions, Michael reported significant improvements in his mood, his relationships, and his sense of self. He felt more confident and compassionate towards himself, and less reactive and triggered by external stressors. He was able to gain insight and understanding into his mother’s reaction to the abuse and felt courageous enough to open up a dialogue with his sister about what had happened in the past.
Ego State Therapy
EST is a powerful evidence-based approach for treating trauma and other challenging issues. It encourages inner dialogue, heals psychological disconnection, and empowers clients where they perceive traumatic events have stripped them of their autonomy in life.
To find out more about how EST can integrate into your approach to therapy come along to our free workshop where John-Paul Higgerson and myself will be sharing our experience of working with this amazing therapy.
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Ego State Therapy (EST) in Action – A Case study in Trauma/Abuse where many Ego States present.
By Peter Mabbutt – Academic Head LSCCH / Therapist
Link to article – https://lnkd.in/gpY7uKFm