"When you need the help of ego states”


The EMDR protocol works with powerful efficiency much of the time to resolve the traumas and disturbing life experiences of our clients. Sometimes, EMDR processing loops or remains stuck. This can also be seen when a target goes to 0/7 and then pops up again as disturbing in subsequent sessions. One of the most common reasons for failure to make significant progress when using EMDR appropriately is the presence of ego states who are hostile to the process, frightened of it, or whose needs are not being met in therapy. Clients and their therapists are often not aware of some of these ego states. PTSD is a dissociative diagnosis.

In this 90-minute workshop, there will be a brief introduction to the concept of ego states, how they develop, and how they present across the dissociative spectrum from normal role differentiation to Dissociative Identity Disorder. The use of the Dissociative Table (often called the Conference Room) to map the internal system will be described and a transcript will be shared to illustrate this process. Examples of successful work interviewing a client’s most powerful ego state and getting its agreement to play a different and useful role in the client’s present life will facilitate participants’ learning. Five specific tools of ego state therapy will be presented. These are Jim Knipe’s Back of the Head Scale, his Constant Installation of Present Orientation and Safety, and his uncovering defenses, Sandra Paulsen’s Two-Step for containment at the end of ego state sessions, and Robbie Adler-Tapia's Inverse Protocol.

There are no changes to EMDR Phases 3-6 proposed.






Farnsworth Lobenstine

Original Work Citation

Lobenstine, F. (2011, April). "When you need the help of ego states.” Presentation at the 7th Western Mass EMDRIA Regional Network Spring Conference, Amherst, MA




“"When you need the help of ego states”,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 27, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/23558.

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