What is Ego Analysis

What is Ego Analysis? By Alan C. Domian, Ph.D.
(Continued from articles page)

Apfelbaum viewed psychological suffering as a direct result of patients being stuck in their own attempts at solutions—which only creates more problems. Therefore, ego analytic technique focuses on analyzing the particular ways that a patient attempts to resolve problems rather than analyzing the patient. Trial interpretations are used to help the patient find words for thoughts and feelings in relation to their problem that they have felt un-entitled to have—as it is usually thoughts and feeling patients have about their thoughts and feelings that is preventing them from developing the problem fully to resolution.

Apfelbaum called “finding words for” inner experiences insight, the main mechanism of change in ego analysis. As such, ego analytic insight is not wisdom from theory, therapist experience, or research that is imparted psychoeducation-style for the patient to accept. It is not exploring historical roots of problems, implementing behavioral protocols, or integrating different approaches. Nor does ego analysis attribute change to the therapeutic relationship—as Apfelbaum would say, “A good relationship with the therapist is a given.” Instead, ego analytic insight produces a fuller and more accurate expression to something that the patient has needed to think and feel all along in order to have a clearer way to think about themselves and their problem. Once insight is experienced, the patient recognizes it as self-evident accompanied by relief—the criterion for both a successful interpretation and successful therapy. This underscores Dan Wile’s depiction of problems from the ego analytic perspective “all symptoms are lack of voice.” The resulting change, whether psychological or behavioral, is a spontaneous occurrence that is not produced by decision or willpower. (Full article will be published here when complete.)

For examples, both short and extended, see my articles page. More articles and examples can be found on the Apfelbaum and Dan Wile websites.