Discussion: Ego states

Correlates with pp. 30-31 of the Participant workbook.

There are three ego states altogether. Bring the awareness of the participants first to their:

Adult ego state: their rational 'here and now' operating state. Point out that everyone in the room is here by a present contract that was agreed to—that they probably are listening and learning, as this is what the agreement is about. There is very little uncontained emotion, as the adult ego state is more of one of rationality.

However, there are two older 'relic' ego states form our past that are still with us:

Child ego state: this contains the behaviours, thoughts, and feelings replayed from childhood.

Parent ego state: the behaviours, thoughts, and feelings copied from parents or parent figures.

Flush out these ego states with examples. Child ego states can be demonstrated by the need to play, daydream, curiosity, and wonder, as well as more difficult expressions like being scared, rageful, or compliant. Parent ego states—the 'back up copy' we learned of our parents—can be demonstrated by positive traits like caretaking, nurturance, and responsibility, while negative behaviours like shaming, controlling, and telling others what they should do can also be seen.

See 'How ego states are fixed in time' on page 31 in the Participant workbook.


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Last modified: Friday, 7 April 2017, 3:19 PM