HOW CBT  CAN HELP CLIENTS WITH LOW SELF ESTEEM?

CBT  can help them to change their core beliefs of low self esteem by replacing them with new reasonable healthier adaptive beliefs . Nearly everyone suffers from having low self-esteem at some point in his or her life {situational } –low self confidence for others it can be a  deeper low self –worth problem.

Low self-esteem can affect us in many different ways. For example BEHAVIOURALLY someone with low self-esteem might have difficulty in being assertive, speaking out, be overly apologetic, avoiding challenges and opportunities.  He/she may also hold themselves with a downward stance with their head bowed, avoiding  direct eye contact and speak in a hushed voice and also speak hesitantly.

EMOTIONALLY he/she  may feel sad, have a high level of anxiety, and also feel guilt, shame, fear, frustration and anger over their low self-esteem. Typically someone with low self-esteem often feels fatigued and seems to have low energy.

Often WORK is impacted by low self-esteem with either underperformance or by over compensating and working harder and longer than others in order to get acceptance and appraisals from others.

RELATIONSHIPS with others can also be impacted. When suffering from low self-esteem he/she can become overly self-conscious and oversensitive to criticism or disapproval. We may also withdraw from social situations or conversely become the life and soul of the party in order to appear self-confident to others.  An individual with low self-esteem may withdraw from activities they usually enjoy such as sports and other recreational activities. Also someone with persistent low self-esteem my stop looking after themselves properly taking little care in their appearance or in their general HEALTH.

In talking about low self-esteem it can be helpful to see it as comprising of two components : Self-confidence and Self-worth.

SELF CONFIDENCE can be impacted by a number of different things for example a traumatic event, a very negative experience, a perceived failure, by loss and grieve, the perceived loss or failure in maintaining relationships with others.

SELF WORTH in turn can be impacted from negative childhood experiences or the negative reinforcement from others that you are not good enough or not worthy of love.  Not surprisingly many people suffering from severe mental health illness such as depression or anxiety will also suffer from low self-esteem.

Low-self esteem is usually accompanied by negative self-talk. Whether said loudly or softly it is not uncommon for someone with low self-esteem to repeatedly tell themselves over and over things such as I am . . .. ‘bad’, ‘not good enough’, ‘unworthy’, ‘unlovable’, ‘not important’, ‘inferior to others’, ‘worthless’, ‘can’t cope’, ‘a failure’.  These are all examples of automatic-negative-thinking that often go by as statements of fact. Using the analogy of a weed these thoughts are shown above the ground. However underneath the surface we would discover the roots of these thoughts as being comprised of assumptions and rules that we hold true as well as the core beliefs that we have about ourselves.

Through therapy it is possible to explore the issues on the surface by questioning automatic negative thinking and to start to dig deeper into the roots of the problem. The problem with low-self esteem usually lies where unhelpful thinking has been tied to often-painful thoughts and emotions from the client’s past. By exploring these issues the client learns how to reassess situations and to feel less fear, anger, and regret and so he/she begins to tackle his/her negative thinking and maladaptive behaviours. By addressing his /her low-self esteem the client will gain in self-confidence and self-worth and will have learnt the skills and strategies to tackle these problems in the future.