What Are EMDR Ego States and Their Functions?

In short, ego states form from experiences of heightened emotional states. These experiences can be both positive of negative in perception or reality. When people think or talk of ego states, we are not talking about Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) where there are structural changes to a person’s identity. However, what we are referring to relates to ‘parts’ that form our overall identity. This blog post will explore what ego states are and how they function in people’s lives.

What Are Ego States?

An EMDR therapist near you can help you heal from past experiences.

We all have ‘parts’ to our identity, whether we are aware of them or not. Some parts help us function throughout the day from family dynamics to work. While others play a more protective role when we feel or sense to be in danger or vulnerable. There are parts of self that help to reduce dysfunction by soothing other parts, and in some cases, there are parts of self we are not aware of in life. For additional reading on how parts function check out EMDRIA’s link here that offers different details and explanations on how parts function.

What Are Common Ego State Parts?

Ego state parts can be categorized based of their function. The two main differentiations between parts:

  • Apparently normal parts – these parts help us navigate our day-to-day lives. For exampling managing stress at home, work demands, and ordering groceries.
  • Emotional parts – are those parts that rear up when we feel threatened or vulnerable.

How Do They Function?

Parts of self develop based off of past emotional events. These events could be positive or negative. Their functions typically revolve around ensuring our survival. The challenges with parts or a part is that some parts form in specific situations and are only needed one time in life, i.e. combat. However, after combat (stressors end) our parts can become active if there is a threat to our quality of life. This can be problematic. Think of rage, anger, or escape for example.

What Benefits Does Incorporating Ego State Work into Therapy Have?

Ego state work is not always needed. It only becomes something to address if parts of self impede desensitization (reprocessing) when engaged in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.

This can happen due to the body perceiving EMDR desensitization as a ‘threat’ due to focusing in on uncomfortable memories and/or sensations. This is something to work through. Not run away from or quit therapy for. We all have parts, and they all have functions. It is beneficial to learn how parts came to form, what their functions are, and how best to comfort these parts.

EMDR Therapy and Ego States

In EMDR therapy, if ego states show up, we gently increase familiarity with parts and learn how best to integrate them, not unify them. We are collectively made up of different parts. We don’t need to eliminate any parts. We simply need to learn how to comfort emotional parts when they arise, which they will in life.

EMDR Therapist Near Me Cherry Creek

An EMDR therapist can help with a variety of issues. These being:

  • Trauma, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder healing
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance Use/Addiction
  • Self-Harm

In these situations, EMDR therapy can help heal the nervous system and increase nervous system regulation. Additionally, EMDR therapy can help to uncover how past events in life toxify one’s current life. Then, through self-awareness, that person can make needed changes in life. Sometimes parts of self arise, we simply acknowledge them and work with them to facilitate healing.

Reach Out to Find an EMDR Therapist Near You

At we can implement EMDR interventions to support your healing and recovery. Reach out now to start the process by clicking here to submit a form or call us at 720.295.6703.

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