EMDR as a Special Form of Ego State Psychotherapy
The role of dissociation and hypnosis.
Although ego state phenomenology is derived directly from underlying biological linkages, these linkages are not consistently obvious because they are often overridden and hidden by the capacity of the mind to dissociate. Dissociation is the compartmentalization of consciousness, so that one part of the self is not aware of other aspects of the self. This compartmentalization may be between one component of an ego state and the other components of that ego state, such as remembering an event without affect or having a flashback of affect without any memory. Or the dissociation may be between ego states, such as in dissociative identity disorder (DID), where the dissociation is extensive. But all of us dissociate ego states to some degree; for example, when one is down in the dumps, it is often difficult to access a more optimistic ego state.
Now, because it is impossible for a person to maintain full consciousness of all components of all ego states at one moment in time, generally the energy and identity of the self tends to reside in only one ego state at a time, with the other ego states being more or less dissociated. The phrase “more or less” is critical, because the quantity and quality of dissociation among the ego states varies considerably from one personality structure to the next. The nature of the relationship between the currently dominant ego state and the other ego states that are temporarily less dominant will depend on two major types of variables — permeability and fluidity. Permeability is the ability of the primary ego state to access one or more of the components of other, temporarily more subordinate, ego states. Fluidity refers to the shift from one predominant ego state to another.