How to Tell the Key Differences in Advanced Ego State Therapy & Ego State?

Oprah Winfrey and Dr Bruce Perry have this wonderful new resource for those who are interested in healing trauma with parts therapy

I was first introduced to Ego State therapy by Gordon Emmerson in 2013. Watching Gordon do a live demonstration of therapy was both amazing and confusing. Yet I was curious for more. He has since adapted and changed his version of Ego State into it’s own therapy modality – Resource Therapy aka Emmerson’s Ego State Therapy.

Personally, I love all the parts modalities and their advocates. My favourite Ego State Therapist would have to be Robin Shapiro, very helpful for those of us trained in EMDR.

Resource Therapy (RT) has been the one I have trained in and now train others in. Better add a disclaimer here – I am formerly vice president of Resource Therapy International (RTI). We are honoured to have Dr Karlheinze Erbe, a psychiatrist based in Bamberg Germany as Vice President of RTI. My current role is Australia Executive Director under the auspices of Resource Therapy International. Gordon Emmerson is President.

Emmerson’s Ego State Therapy was founded by Professor Gordon Emmerson Ph.D. Gordon’s expertise in Ego State Therapy and hypnosis is world-renowned, previously Vice President to Ego State Therapy International (ESTI).

Gordon formed a close connection with the late and great John and Helen Watkins, the pioneers of Ego State Therapy, spending a summer with them in the 1980s.

Professor Emmerson is the author of several books, Ego State Therapy, Resource Therapy The Complete Guide With Case Examples & Transcripts, Resource Therapy Primer and many research and journal articles.

How come we now have Resource Therapy ?

In his transformational work with clients, research, and journal writing, and he found himself referring to Ego States as Resources. Although Gordon respected Ego State Therapy, he was developing his unique model later known as Resource Therapy. Talking with Gordon too it’s clear he wishes parts therapy accessible to more therapists globally.

Resource Therapy (RT) formally superseded Advanced Ego State Therapy from 2014. You will know when you hear or read Advanced or Emmerson’s Ego State therapy, we are referring to Resource Therapy. Gordon says the name change seemed natural as he was always referring to Ego States as Resources (parts).

Gordon as a psychology and statistics professor believed in the need for a RT personality theory. The RT theory of our personality parts evolution forms the foundation of the Resource Therapy Actions. These guide us in working with our client’s presenting issues.

Gordon is a genius in my opinion with his development of techniques directly and rapidly offering life-changing results for ourselves and our clients.

Truly I have both experienced and witnessed this in my own therapy adventures as a psychologist. RT is kind, gentle, heart centred, respectful as a powerful therapeutic tool for change.

Key similarities and Differences in Resource Therapy and Ego State Therapy

Personality Theory

Both models’ view of the personality is one of ‘parts’ that make up the whole. RT Personality theory expands further stating these parts of us are our “Resources” formed in childhood as opposed to Ego States. These therapies originate from a psychodynamic perspective.

Watkins saw personality parts developing from the personality splitting; “split off from the core ego because of trauma” (Watkins & Watkins, 1997, pp. 26). According to RT our Resources are formed through the axon and dendritic synaptic firing in our brains in line with current neuroscience.

RT says all our Resources are formed in a healthy state and there for a beneficial purpose to live our life fully. Hence are termed Resources as they each have unique skills and abilities when in the conscious. It’s great to have a child part of us enjoying being on a swing, riding a bike, or drawing.

This state of health can change if the state is exposed to distress, neglect, or some form of trauma and does not get the support it needs. It will become ‘pathological’ in RT terminology ‘Vaded.’ RT is trauma aware and consistent with the belief in Oprah and Dr Bruce Perry’s book title – (it’s )”What happened to you? Not what’s wrong with you. RT therapists are changologists having skills to heal our hurt parts.

Great book here from a conversation with Dr Bruce Perry and Oprah on how childhood trauma impacts our lives.


Resource Therapy does not require hypnosis induction or training in its application. From what I understand traditional Ego State Therapy often does. All clients with a high level of focus will likely be in a state of hypnosis. If you know more about this please let me know.


Ego State (ES) and RT vary in their view of an Introject. ES may say that Introjects are parts – Ego States and need to be worked with for change. RT says it is only Resources that are our parts. Introjects are merely a type of internal imprint of a person, place, or object held by a particular Resource State.

We work to empower the Resource State using Emmerson’s concept of a Sensory Experience Memory (SEM). Each of us may have parts that hold an internal representation of an introject. Introjects can be positive or negative. For example, we can have a child part that may hold a sense of a caregiver who was unsupportive. In adulthood, we may have a different introject who can see how loving this caregiver is to their grandchildren.

Introjects are not real and we don’t have to alter them or protect the part from the Introject. We can change them or remove them from a personals internal space. I have seen in an CBT imaginal rescripting workshop I attended we were required to put the introject in gaol, outer space or even the firing squad. In RT we only attend to the parts needs and empower it over the Introject.

Resource Therapy’s Diagnostic Framework

Rt therapists are trained to diagnose the problem a Resource State holds and in how to apply a clear set of procedures – the RT treatment actions for resolution.

RT personality theory informs the 15 treatment Action steps. This diagnostic system guides the RT Treatment Action steps providing a road map for clinicians to follow. Working directly with the part holding disturbance and resolving the issue for rapid results.

So that’s my take on the key differences. RT is being trained in Europe and worldwide. Please let me know your thoughts and comments below.

Thanks for reading :))

Yours in service to our healing. Philipa.

Photo by Saffu on Unsplash

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