How self-states help: Observing the embodiment of self-states through nonverbal behavior

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung



The concept of self-states is a recurring theme in various psychotherapeutic and counseling methodologies. However, the predominantly unconscious nature of these self-states presents two challenges. Firstly, it renders the process of working with them susceptible to biases and therapeutic suggestions. Secondly, there is skepticism regarding the observability and differentiation of self-states beyond subjective experiences. In this study, we demonstrate the feasibility of eliciting self-states from clients and objectively distinguishing these evoked self-states through the lens of neutral observers. The self-state constellation method, utilized as an embodied approach, facilitated the activation of diverse self-states. External observers then assessed the nonverbal manifestations of affect along three primary dimensions: emotional valence, arousal, and dominance. Our findings indicate that external observers could reliably discern and differentiate individual self-states based on the bodily displayed valence and dominance. However, the ability to distinguish states based on displayed arousal was not evident. Importantly, this distinctiveness of various self-states was not limited to specific individuals but extended across the entire recording sample. Therefore, within the framework of the self-state constellation method, it is evident that individual self-states can be intentionally evoked, and these states can be objectively differentiated beyond the subjective experiences of the client.


Seiten (von - bis)1-13
FachzeitschriftPloS one
Ausgabenummer3 March
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - März 2024

Externe IDs

ORCID /0000-0002-4408-6016/work/157767143
ORCID /0000-0002-9064-6408/work/157769486
PubMed 38551896


ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete


  • Humans, Emotions/physiology, Self Concept