What is Ego State Therapy (EST) and what is it used for?

Ego State Therapy (EST)

Ego State Therapy is an interactive therapy with a psychodynamic approach that seeks a solution through interacting with ego states. It is used to treat various cognitive and behavioural problems and helps us to resolve inner conflicts. The therapist acts as a mediator with the presenting ego states and facilitates the process to enable the client to call on positive and helpful resources but the client chooses them and works at their own pace and may experience several ego states coming through.

The belief is that we create ego states as a coping strategy often in childhood to help us through a difficult situation or actual trauma and they stay with us with the intention of being helpful or protective.  Sometimes we are held back by our thoughts and feelings and addressing our ego states liberates us and helps us to move on.

Have you ever thought or heard your-self saying, “Part of me really wants to do this but part of me is holding back?”

This is based on the concept that our personality is made up of various parts that are aspects of our subconscious.  In other words we don’t need to be stuck with a childhood ego state in the driving seat as we move on into adult life.

EST does not remove states or change our personality it just encourages the unhelpful or stuck ego state to move aside and replaces it with a more resourceful one to bring about positive change.

Something important to mention is that often we are not aware that we have experienced trauma, the event that caused it does not have to be dramatic and we can carry on for years just simply feeling BAD when exposed to specific stimuli.  It is important get help with trauma but equally it is not appropriate to be treated for trauma unless you are actually traumatised. The good news is that most traumas are effectively dealt with and processed normally by the brain.


What can it help with

  • Stuck in a pattern
  • Lack of confidence
  • Public speaking
  • Exam nerves
  • Unexplained emotional upset or discomfort
  • Not reaching your potential
  • Can’t put your best foot forward
  • Ego State Therapy can help with lots of issues that may or may not be caused by trauma.


Examples of trauma

  • Being involved in an accident
  • Witnessing an accident or seeing something disturbing
  • Violence or result of it – either directly or indirectly
  • Abuse of any nature
  • Sudden shock
  • A generally bad experience
  • Sudden death of a loved one or someone close
  • Separation anxiety – especially in the young
  • Disturbing images that are age inappropriate