Something is said to be ego dystonic when the person perceives it to be foreign to them, outside them or not belonging to them. Something is ego syntonic when the person sees it to be part of them, belonging to them or forms part of who they are
These are two important concepts in psychotherapy. Is the problem ego syntonic or ego dystonic for the client?
A client may present with agoraphobia or perhaps insomnia. The therapist needs to ascertain in his own mind does the client see self as
1. A person who can experience agoraphobia, (ego dystonic)
2. An agoraphobic (ego syntonic)
Does the client experience self as
1. A person who can suffer insomnia, (ego dystonic)
2. An insomniac (ego syntonic)
Unfortunately in most circumstances by the time the client gets to therapy the problem has become ego syntonic.
Ego dystonic I believe
The shift from ego dystonic to ego syntonic can be seen to have at least three aspects.
How long does it take a problem to shift from being ego dystonic to ego syntonic?