Self-Esteem

The term self-esteem refers to our overall subjective emotional evaluation of our own worth – in other words, it’s your attitude towards yourself. Self-esteem begins to take shape in childhood and can be influenced by many factors, including early experiences at home or school, familial relationships, the media, your age and role in society and how people react to you. It is totally normal for your self-esteem to fluctuate – for example feeling down about yourself once in awhile. However, most individuals develop a baseline self-esteem that remains fairly constant over the course of their lifetimes. If you are struggling with low self-esteem, you likely spend significant time criticizing yourself and you may experience frequent feelings of shame and self-doubt. The good news is that, with work, you can change your baseline self-esteem. Therapy for self-esteem issues can help you work toward feeling confident, valuable, and worthy of respect. Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s self-esteem experts today.

Meet the specialists

Throughout my years as a therapist, I've come to realize more and more the role that shame and low self-esteem play in my clients' lives. These things run deep and seem to be some of the hardest things to face and to deal with, especially for abuse survivors. I feel that my creative way of working is very beneficial for making these issues feel easier to explore in therapy, and the EMDR therapy that I provide is also helpful for them.

— Krista Verrastro, Creative Art Therapist in Owings Mills, MD

I help women overcome self-esteem issues. I have learned coping skills in graduate school, trainings as well as along life's journey as a daughter of a narcissist. I have learned how to turn around feelings of low self worth to help women reach the beautiful, empowered wonderful person they truly are.

— Cindy Athey, Counselor in Clearwater, FL

Self-esteem can be a tricky issue to address. There are many things that can be affecting it. I am very proficient at working with clients to explore all possible reasons your self-esteem, self-worth or confidence feels low. If it's situational we will figure out how to move through it and if it's rooted in past experience we will bring it to the surface and learn how to leave it in the past.

— Jeff Guenther, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR
 

Survivors of relational trauma and complex PTSD (my areas of specialization) often find it difficult to feel good about themselves. Everyone’s self-image grows, at least in part, out of our relationships with other people. Good relationships help cultivate a sense of trust in others and promote healthy emotional development. Abusive or neglectful relationships lead to inner turmoil, negative self-dialogue, and low self-esteem. When someone we love and expect to nurture and protect us is critical, demeaning, or shaming, we come to believe and internalize these messages. Words that abusers deliver, such as "you are worthless," and "you can't do anything right" become ingrained in our internal dialogue and we repeat them to ourselves without even noticing. Rebuilding self-esteem is a gradual process. With the right support, you can make healing changes and move on with your life.

— Smadar Salzman, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

People who say they have an issue with self-esteem, really have an issue with learning. At some point, someone told them something negative, and it was repeated until it was believed. The goal of working with low or problematic self-esteem is to extinguish that conditioned thought pattern that you have about yourself.

— Willard Vaughn, Licensed Professional Counselor in Hampton, VA
 

As a Rogerian counselor with advanced training from the Center for Studies of the Person, moving from inconruence to self acceptance is my primary goal. I use various techniques around building self esteem.

— Moira Ryan, Counselor in Portland, OR

It can be hard to recover from feeling like you're not good enough. Criticism from others or yourself can impact how you feel about yourself and make it tough to really follow through with self-care. I'm passionate about helping people recover their self-esteem and sense of worthiness. Let's work together to help you see yourself more clearly.

— Jessica Weikers, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA
 

Self esteem does not come from achievement, having more money, or being better looking, more fit, or having a bigger house or car. It comes from being on the receiving end of non-judgmental loving kindness, regardless of circumstances, and then integrating this perspective so deeply in your bones that it doesn't matter what's happening on the outside. Therapy can provide this kind of unconditional positive regard and help you integrate this regard so that therapy is no longer necessary. My job with each client is to put myself out of a job.

— Jennifer Wohl, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

It has been said that our essence, our soul, is ever present like the sun, yet like the sun, it can become obscured by clouds. These clouds represent the wounds and trauma you've experienced throughout your life, along with the defenses that have helped you survive, yet these defenses (the inner critic, depression, anxiety...) may no longer serve you. Together we can bring awareness to and begin to relax these defenses allowing more of your gifts, your ever-present essence to shine through.

— Erika Shershun, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA
 

I believe that at the root of every issue we encounter is self-esteem. When self-esteem is out of balance (too low or too high), we begin to fall into our reactive, defensive, abusive or victimized patterns of existence. Without working on self-esteem, we cannot walk away from the clouding of the true self and life we are meant to live. When we solidify our sense of self, when we truly learn to embrace ourselves (including our shadows) then we begin to feel whole. My approach and goal of counseling is to attain a wholeness within, unwavering, and strengthened throughout life.

— Paula Santos, Art Therapist in Longmont, CO

Problems with self-esteem can come in so many forms. It may come in the form of relationships - wondering if you're worthy of another's love or attention. It might come at work, with feelings like you are a fraud or you will never be good enough to advance in your career. It might come in the form of day to day anxieties - those little worries that can sometimes add up to paralyzing self-doubt. I want to help you sort through these worries and insecurities and develop new ways of coping and new thought patterns that can help counteract these beliefs. I also teach my clients mindfulness and self-compassion, which are tools that can help improve self-esteem.

— Ashley Hamm, Licensed Professional Counselor in Houston, TX
 

Are you your own worst critic? Do you feel that you can never be good enough? Those feelings come from the constant barrage of messages from family, friends, and media that tell us how we should be, or how we fall short of someone else’s expectations. And then we repeat those messages over and over in our minds until we fully believe them. But these messages aren’t truth. The authentic You has been buried under all this pile of accusations and disappointments. I will work with you to help reclaim your real identity and rewrite the story that you play in your thoughts. I have had clients who now walk through life proud of who they are, confident in what they bring, and excited with where they are going. I would love to work with you to see how far you can go.

— Jaclin Belabri, Counselor in Vancouver, WA
 

Self Esteem encompasses so many areas of our lives...communication, relating, making plans/goals in our close relationships and in our communities of work, family and play. I am certified in Brene\' Brown\'s curriculum of Shame Resilience to help us sort out the details and live our fuller and happier life. Our self esteem drives the directions we go and finding ways to increase it's health can only help us. I am empathetic and supportive as we identify challenges and find solutions.

— Audrianna Gurr, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

Are you struggling to connect, feeling lonely or misunderstood? Explore your values with me and find your path to becoming your authentic self, thereby attracting more like-minded people into your life.

— Nicola Gosen, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Bellingham, WA
 

"I just don't like myself," "I can't do anything right," "I'm trash," "I am not _____ enough"..... I call these the voices of our Inner Critic. We all have one, and it can sometimes be pretty brutal. I love working with people who want to dive into their Inner Critic - we first explore to gain a clear understanding of where this came from and why its still here, and then we utilize the strategies of self-compassion to shift the narrative.

— Adam Cohen, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

Self-esteem is an issue we have all at some point or other have or are struggling with. I’ve been able to assist women in learning about healthy self-esteem and learning to love and value themselves while letting go of feelings of not good enough and perfectionism. I’ve done this by discussing my client’s abilities, unique talents and exploring the root of those feelings or lack of confidence.

— Sonia Trefflich, Clinical Social Worker in Roseville, CA
 

A lot of new clients will share on the intake call that they just want to like themselves. I get it. There are days when all of us feel like we are just propping ourselves up and trying to make it to the end of the day! For me, self-esteem is a root issue. How we feel about ourselves started way back in childhood based on how we were treated, how our emotions were attended to (or not) and whether our environment offered a safe place to process our experiences. Working with low self-esteem entails learning how you managed emotions and situations in the past when you didn't have as many resources as you do now as an adult. A lot of us go to perfectionism and people pleasing as a means of controlling the external environment once we are adults. We don't know how to take care of our emotional experiences. Most of us have a pretty harsh inner critic that comments on everything we do, say and feel. This only perpetuates perfectionism and people pleasing. Relaxing the critic is a first step in addressing self-esteem issues. Mindfulness is helpful as it gives us tools to notice how often our inner critic chimes in, as well as tools for self-compassion and eventually, self-acceptance. Its so easy to use the outside world to define your inside experience of yourself. Its encouraging to see clients begin to soften towards themselves, unburden themselves from outdated inner dialogue and let themselves be imperfect human beings.

— Vicki Smith, Licensed Professional Counselor in Atlanta, GA

I have found problems with self-esteem is common among clients I have worked with. As such, I have sought out post-graduate continuing education seminars that stressed incorporating self-esteem when addressing mental health problems.

— Brian Prester, Associate Clinical Social Worker in Tacoma, WA
 

Part of you knows you are smart and capable, yet another part of you doesn't believe it. Therapy can help you explore these seemingly competing parts and help you get a better, clearer picture of yourself.

— Rachel Moore, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Diego, CA

Am I smart/strong/thin/good-looking/funny/cool enough? Did my post get enough likes? Do I have enough followers? FB friends? Retweets? Why is nobody responding to my post? Pause. Breathe. YOU ARE ENOUGH. In this day and age of unending social media, it's so easy to fall into the trap of self-doubt, which unchecked leads to unforgiving self-talk and cruel thoughts and feelings about ourselves. Let’s work on building your self-worth so that you feel confident enough to attain whatever goals you set for yourself - while smiling because you know you're worth it.

— Minal Nebhnani, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in San Francisco, CA
 

Having good self-esteem is more than just being able to say good things about yourself. It is about learning to recognize shame as a pervasive and distorting force. No one is free from encountering some experience or message that makes them feel there is something wrong with them. The more that happens, the more you start to believe it. Traumatic events can seem to reinforce the truth of that belief. Therapy provides a unique nonjudgmental environment where you can learn to untangle your true self from criticisms. I will do my best to provide a space where you can feel ok to be yourself, however you show up.

— Michael MacLafferty, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA

I have experience helping women learn to love themselves inside and out. There's a lot more to love about you than you've been lead to believe. Let's learn more together.

— Amanda Dutton, Licensed Professional Counselor in Gainesville, GA
 

Are you your own worst critic? Do you feel that you can never be good enough? Those feelings come from the constant barrage of messages from family, friends, and media that tell us how we should be, or how we fall short of someone else’s expectations. And then we repeat those messages over and over in our minds until we fully believe them. But these messages aren’t truth. The authentic You has been buried under all this pile of accusations and disappointments. I will work with you to help reclaim your real identity and rewrite the story that you play in your thoughts. I have had clients who now walk through life proud of who they are, confident in what they bring, and excited with where they are going. I would love to work with you to see how far you can go.

— Jaclin Belabri, Counselor in Vancouver, WA
 

Having low self-esteem can keep you from achieving any goals you set for yourself. It can also hinder you from enjoying your life. Through our work together, I will help you build confidence to achieve your best life.

— Mary Nashed, Counselor in Chapel Hill, NC