Ego States – PARENT (Part 3)


PREVIOUS : Parent ES #4

SITE: REBT & CENT therapies, and
3 distinctions between the



1. Normative Parent (NoP) is made up of either realistic or damaging guidelines, rules, punishments & rewards
a.  Positive NoP / “Counselor Parent” is strong, powerful, protective, principled. It provides appropriate boundaries & is comfortable setting limits without being disapproving or harsh – with self and otherschild-writing

b. Negative NoP / “Persecutor Parent”
✦ Treats the Inner Child harshly & tries to make it do as the parent voice wants – either to obey it’s own set of rules regardless of the benefit to the Child part, or just treating the Child as its ‘whipping-boy’

✦ Towards others – we react with judgmental responses that are arrogant, authoritative, condescending, critical, demanding, disapproving, judgmental, opinionated, moralistic…. with a lot of do’s and don’ts & little flexibility.
— At work, managers in the NoP mode are task oriented & can be dictatorial & exclusionary.

2. Nurturing /Sympathetic Parent (NuP) – who appropriately loves, cares for, provides for others.  Men & women can both play the role of Good Parent, but is most often in the form of a mother-figure
✦ One of the NuP’s goals is to take care of the Inner Child – to sooth it’s troubles & keep it content, providing it with safety & unconditional love

✦ In terms of others – one responds with reassuring communications, & behaves in ways that are consoling, considerate, respectful, nurturing, permitting, protecting….
— At work, managers coming from the NuP are supportive & relationship oriented, consulting subordinates & encouraging their participation.
Ego State POSITIONSe.s. Positions
Berne suggested the 3 ego states may correspond to parts of the brain, & that 2nd & 3rd order states contain hereditary material

1st Order
– Basic T.A. model
Parent, driven by beliefs via things we were taught – acquired rather than inborn
Adult, driven by thoughts via what we’ve learned ourselves – called the neo-psyche (neo-cortex)
Child, driven by emotions via what we feel & intuit – called the archeo-psyche, vaguely connected to the reptilian brain (MORE...)

2nd Order
– Ideally this is a complete & well-adjusted ADULT with all 3 aspects working to benefit each other as a unit:
P2 (Parent E.A. as part of the whole) is focused on self-nurturing, as well as the care & protection of children

✦ A2 (Adult E.S. of the whole) is mature, wise, makes good decisions, interacts well with the other 2 parts & generally acts on behalf of oneself whenever practical functions / decisions / actions are needed
✦ C2 (Child E.S. of the whole) is the ideally well-adjusted, un-wounded creative force of ones life.  It’s made up of: P1 – the Adapted Child, A1 – called the Little Professor (always asking “WHY?”) & C2 the Natural Child.

3rd Order – Focus is on the Adapted Child with it’s accumulated trauma (see posts re. Child E.S.)
DEFENSES are maneuvers used by the subconscious mind to protect & serve our various E.S., which can become the way we interact with others & treat ourselves.  They’re meant to be used to mediate between conflicts in the subconscious part of ourselves (neural networks), & so reducing anxiety

While they are survival tools, they’re usually not good substitutes for healthy coping behaviors. When over-used & hardened into compulsive life-patterns, defenses become harmful, because they interfere with or prevent us from developing our True Self.

Healthy ADULT – We all need defenses to some degree, & when in this E.S. we use them sparingly & as benefits, in the service of the True Self, such as :
Altruism, Compensation (making up for a perceived weakness), Fantasy (imaging what’s possible or as pleasant diversion), Humor, Sublimation (channeling sexual energy into socially approved activities)….

Damaging PARENT
a. When this E.S. is operating Internally (‘Influencing’), we can use :
Denial, Repression, Splitting (B & W thinking), Suppression, S-H (negative self-talk from PP to WIC)…. (see list of Defenses

b. When Externalizing the PES (‘Active’), some defenses are:
Displacement, Projection, Reaction Formation, Rationalization….(MORE Cartoons)


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