Life is hard and most people are even harder on themselves. Self-esteem is something that always comes up, no matter what someone originally comes into therapy for. I have learned through the years that we all struggle with self-esteem and we all seem to think we are the only ones. Although we all feel less than others in ways, the challenge can be debilitating for some. It can be helpful for people to realize they are not alone, however, that is often not enough to overcome the feelings. Isolating the negative thoughts associated with the insecurity is a beginning step. It is helpful to know what the triggers are such as particular situations or events or even being around certain people. In addition to working with the areas of insecurities, it is also advantageous to understand where those feelings originated and why they have persisted.
I like to work with people to overcome low self-esteem by using a few different therapeutic techniques. Cognitive Behavior Therapy or CBT is helpful in identifying negative thoughts that lead to negative feelings. Through this process people begin to see that the thoughts they have are not rational and therefore they can be deconstructed. Psychodynamic approach working with self-esteem issues helps to put a puzzle together by looking at childhood and earlier events that left a bit of a scar which lead to the feelings of low self-esteem. It is helpful to notices when feelings are being triggered by past events or if someone is reacting to a current situation. It is remarkable how many of us carry around our past and react to it daily without even being aware of it. Acceptance and Commitment therapy and Mindfulness techniques are affective in learning to focus more on the present and allow passing thoughts and feelings without putting too much meaning on it. Although it is difficult to achieve perfect self-esteem, it can be improved dramatically.
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