EGO STATES – Basics (Part 3)

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PREVIOUS: Ego States – Basics (Part 2)

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Transactional Analysis, Ego-states 1-3


Ego states seem to develop from normal differentiation (separating general concepts into specific meaning – good vs bad….), introjection of significant others, & reactions to trauma

According to Dan Siegel E.S. can become ingrained when a positive OR negative event is experienced repeatedly, or when a traumatic event is overwhelming. In general, they become parts of the Self, some by reacting to other people, & some by internalizing them

a. Integrating – Combining & incorporating previously disconnected ‘objects’ into one larger entity. Through this mental skill a child learns to put concepts together, such as combining ‘Dog’ and ‘Cat’ into more complex units called Animals. Mother and Father become Family.

A healthy Personality is the integration of all conflicting reaction tendencies (needs, instincts & habits), gradually organized & then harmonized into a whole. According to Jung, it’s the process by which the individual & collective unconscious are fused, indicating psychological maturity, & may help a person move past negative habits

When conflicting reaction tendencies are not resolved, disturbances in the personality can cause dissociation or disintegration of the Self into separate parts (More….)

b. Normal Differentiation – separates general concepts into specific meaning. Children slowly separate out their own identity from that of other family members – having different opinions & values, while still being able to stay emotionally connected to them.
They learn to discriminate between things they like & don’t like, which become entire patterns useful for dealing with parents, teachers & playmates. This eventually makes S & I possible. (More…..)

EXP: This mental skill allows us to understand when one set of behaviors is appropriate during a sporting event but not at a business meeting.
When this separating process become excessive & self-defeating, it’s usually called ‘dissociation’

c. Introjection of significant others :
Children unconsciously accumulate groups of beliefs, emotions & behaviors from their caretakers that may be acceptable to their True Self – or not.
— If YES, the behaviors get included into their sense of identity (this is me)
— If NO (qualities of abusive / neglectful parents) then the behavior ‘clusters’ become Inner Objects (not me) which have to be handled or managed by developing defense mechanisms
d. Trauma
To survive overwhelming rejection & other kinds of abuse, children will form internal E.S. which:
– end up in constant conflict (PP vs Natural Child… PP vs Healthy Adult, WIC vs Natural Child…. ⇓) OR
– get cut off from each other (dissociated) to save the child’s sanity
These choices prevent a feeling of security or the ability to extract the most from the outside world

EXP: Healthy children can create a temporary imaginary playmate but eventually don’t need it, replace it with a real-life friends.

BUT a lonellonely childy, isolated child may remove part of its True Self to produce such a ‘friend’, so the imaginary companion feels very real & is hard to give up – like killing a part of oneself – instead of it getting re-integrated

💔When such a child is forced to push part of the Self out of awareness because of conflict & environmental pressure, for some – those cut off parts can eventually be channeled into work, the arts….. But more often the result will be withdrawing from others.
And in a few, this mutilation of the human soul can show up later in life in a different, more damaging form ie. multiple personalities. (“We, the Divided Self”, Watkins & Johnson, 1982).

Jack G. Watkins and Helen H Watkins, at Montana U worked with people who had deep inner conflicts between various ego states which make up the “family of self” – using the techniques of group & family therapy, but with a single individual. Any of the behavioral, cognitive, analytic, or humanistic methods helped to create a kind of internal diplomacy.
Their “Ego-state therapy” demonstrated that complex psychodynamic problems can often be resolved in a relatively short time compared to more analytic therapies.” (More….)

NEXT: Ego States – Intro (#4)

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