Low self-esteem

Self-esteem refers to an individual’s evaluation of their worth. If you have low self-esteem then you will have negative beliefs about the kind of the person you are.

Low self-esteem can lead to problems such as:

  • depression
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • anxiety
  • eating disorders
  • substance abuse
  • perfectionism
  • poor body image
  • self-hate
  • feeling worthless
  • oversensitivity
  • anger
  • people pleasing
  • lack of assertiveness

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can be an effective way to make sense of and treat low self-esteem. As a result of life experiences each of us develops core beliefs about ourselves. When these beliefs are excessively negative, e.g. “I’m not good enough”, “I’m unlovable”, “I’m worthless”, “I’m a failure”, then low self-esteem is the consequence.

People develop rigid rules to cope with these negative beliefs, such as “I must control everything in my life in order to relax”, “I must be liked by everyone in order to feel worthwhile”, “I must succeed at everything to avoid feeling like a failure”. These rules are so excessive and rigid that they are impossible to maintain. When the rules are broken the individual is back feeling the negative core beliefs.

Treatment starts with you and me together setting goals and an individualised plan to make sense of what factors are maintaining your low self-esteem. Next you learn how to change the maintaining thoughts, beliefs and behaviours. You learn how to create more flexible and realistic rules for living. Negative core beliefs are challenged and adapted to help you become more self-accepting. Throughout the focus is on helping you identify, appreciate and utilise your inner strengths and qualities.

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