What is Low Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem refers to the attitudes or judgments people hold about themselves and their worthiness. Individuals suffering from low self-esteem doubt their worth, skills, and ability to be successful. They may feel badly about themselves and expect to fail or be rejected by others in a variety of situations. Low self-esteem not only negatively impacts mood, but also has a detrimental impact on work or school performance, relationships, and other activities. Various factors can be influential and work to maintain low self-esteem, including past learning experiences, such as childhood experiences, and current thought and behavior patterns.

What is the treatment for low self-esteem?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that can be used to address how thoughts, feelings, and mood interact to contribute to feelings of low self-esteem. CBT can treat low self-esteem by helping individuals identify, challenge, and change thoughts and beliefs that contribute to low self-esteem or a poor self-image. Additionally, CBT treatment helps individuals find and alter behavior patterns that might be affecting their self-esteem. The tool of mindfulness to identify thoughts and behaviors that are maintaining low self-esteem can also be beneficial.

Additional information/Texts:

  • Fennell, M. (1999). Overcoming Low Self-Esteem: A self-help guide using cognitive behavioral techniques. London, England: Robinson Publishing, Ltd.
  • McKay, M., & Fanning, P. (2000). Self-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

-Elizabeth Dalton

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