Woltemade Hartman


Is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist in private practice in Pretoria / South Africa. He completed training in hypnotherapy at the Ericksonian Foundation in Phoenix / Arizona and in ego state therapy with Professor J.G. Watkins and Helen Watkins in Missoula / Montana. He is the author of the books: „Ego state therapy with sexually traumatized children“ (2000, Kagiso Publishers) and „Introduction to Ego-State Therapy“ together with Dr phil. Kai Fritzsche (2010, Carl Auer Publishers). In addition, he has published numerous articles in professional journals on hypnosis, ego-state therapy and psychotherapy. He is the founder and director of the Milton H. Erickson Institute in South Africa (MEISA). Dr Hartman chaired the founding committee and was the predecessor president of Ego State Therapy International (ESTI). He is a member of the Executive Board of the International Society for Hypnosis (ISH) and chairs the Board Advisory Committee of Country Representatives. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Faculty of Psychology, University of Johannesburg, South Africa. He teaches in South Africa, Europe, Australia, Canada, USA, Scandinavia, China, Hong Kong and Japan. He currently also teaches several times a year for the Milton Erickson Gesellschaft Austria (MEGA) in Vienna, the German Milton H. Erickson Gesellschaft (MEG), the German Society for Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy (DGH), the Swiss Ego-State Association and for other numerous institutes in German-speaking countries. He has given keynote lectures at numerous international congresses. Dr Hartman was the 2009 recipient of the Early Career Award for Innovative Contributions to Hypnosis, an award given by the International Society for Hypnosis (ISH) to colleagues who have made innovative contributions to hypnotherapy early in their careers. He also has training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Eye Movement Integration (EMI), EdxTM (Energy Psychology), Impact Therapy, Mindfulness Approaches and Sex Therapy. Dr Hartman is an internationally accredited Soma and Somatic Experiencing therapist and completed his training in these approaches under the supervision of Dr Ph.D Sonia Gomes and Marcelo Muniz / Brazil.

About the lecture:

The art and science of combining Polyvagal Theory and Ego-State Therapy: A Powerful Match!

Ego State Therapy is the creation of Dr John and Helen Watkins from the United States. The Watkins’ did not conceptualize the ego as one monolithic entity, as Freud did, but rather as consisting of parts, or so-called ego states. Ego states are both neuro-physiological and psychological manifestations of the autonomic nervous system response which may develop as a reaction to certain life experiences, both positive and negative. When confronted by trauma, some individuals’ nervous system react to such an extent that they dissociate. This happens without conscious awareness. Before the individual becomes aware of what happened, the nervous system has already responded. The result could be the formation and processing of specialized “selves” or dissociated ego states within the personality structure. This necessitates a realisation that only one specific psychotherapeutic intervention strategy does not suffice to alleviate the long lasting effects of trauma and dissociation. Instead, it requires a multi-facetted intervention strategy with a primary focus on creating internal safety, stabilization, self-regulation, reconnection to others, resource activation and flow. It is only in recent times that the neurobiological approach to trauma and dissociation has been highlighted in the Ego State Therapy approach. Over a long period of time I realized that for decades the Ego State approach has turned a blind eye to the body and the role of the nervous system in its quest for therapeutic excellence. This was a huge mistake. I increasingly started to incorporate the Polyvagal Theory of Stephan Porges, bodywork and somatic approaches in my ego state approach. The theory provides both a physiological and psychological understanding of why traumatized people move through different cycles of mobilization, dissociation and engagement and reconnection. In this address I will describe and explicate the art and science of combining the two approaches.