The Observing Ego

The Observing Ego

One of the most important skills  you can learn in therapy is how to develop an observing ego. Your observing ego has the ability to watch yourself, to observe your unfolding process, and in this way to know yourself on many levels.

The observing ego can be used in many ways:  (1) It can be used ‘after the fact’   –  like when you have remembered something upseting, perhaps in therapy or perhaps not,  and gone through your immediate feelings. Then it is most helpful to look back at what you thought and felt and understand what that all means about you.   (2) Your observing ego  can be used “in vivo.”  This is when your ability to see your self comes into action while  you are in the middle of real life and you need to understand what’s bothering you, what’s propelling you to act a certain way, etc. (3)  A more difficult use of the observing ego,  but a skill very much worth developing, is using it in relationships with other people. I call this “Minding The Store” and it has to do with observing what is going on between you and the other person.   (4)  Then there is the whole skill involved with having the ability to quite literally tune into your inner child, and see or hear what the child in you is thinking, feeling, needing, wanting, pursuing,etc. There is a blog called “An Ongoing Relationship with your Inner Child that teaches how to do  this , step by step. This lovely skill has many uses, including a method you can employ on a daily basis that amounts to developing a positive relationship with yourself and simultaneously healing the child in you from a difficult childhood or trauma.  Once mastered, this skill allows you an instant glimpse into your own psyche and your child within’s experience of whatever is going on in your present unfolding life.

3 thoughts on “The Observing Ego

  1. First, I enjoy your site and think your posts are interesting.

    Generally, I followed what you were saying, but I must admit you lost me on paragraph 4 re: inner child. “[S]ee or hear what the child in you is about” and “healing the in you from a difficult childhood or trauma” might need a bit flushing out for the lay person such as myself to grasp the concept.

    Good luck with your book/article and keep up the great work!

  2. J.L.H.

    Good to get your input, and I see you found a sentence that needs editing! I intend this to be an introductory paragraph with a lot more flushing out to follow – but I will correct those two places you point out in this intro.

    Thank you for writing, and I will be happy to hear from you again if you choose to leave another response in the future.


  3. I realize this was written several years ago, therefore, I don’t know if you will see this comment. I am in long-term psychodynamic therapy and it is slow going for sure. It is also a tranformation of sorts. I am learning to develop my observing ego and today it served me well. It can really bring you back down to earth when things start to go haywire, i.e, dealing with diffiult, clueless siblings.It is not easy to do, but I suppose with practice and discipline it can be done. It is a fantastic tool and I was able to walk myself, accurately and calmly, through a very upsetting event by using this technique and it was quite effective. Everyone could really benefit from this. But most think therapy is for the kooky or weak; just the opposite is true, and I am proud to benefit from it and I don’t care who knows I am in therapy…..the stigma is so unfortunate. I am the couragous one to walk through the fire, because this process is not easy at all. Nice website too! JQ

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