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

For many years I've been helping my clients on improving their self-worth, self-value, self-image and self-acceptance. I believe most of us at some point in our lives struggles with self-esteem issues. I've had extensive training and clinical experience on treating self-esteem problems. I believe a healthy self-esteem is essential for all of us to achieve healthy relationships, successful career and enjoy life in all aspects.

— MURIELL CARLISLE, Counselor in Miami, FL

It takes time and practice to improve your self-esteem, such that you walk through the world bravely, with confidence, and the willingness to take risks. I’ll help you take off the “armor” you’ve used for so long for protection and move toward yourself and others in a spirit of compassion and open-heartedness. If it's situational we'll develop steps for you to practice and move through it. If it's deep rooted, we'll unpack it, bring it to the surface, and learn to leave it in the past.

— Nicole Byrne, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA

If you struggle with self-esteem or are more focused on pleasing others than knowing what you want, I can help you develop your sense of self and find your voice. Perhaps you feel resentful of people who take advantage of you. When our survival skill has been to be more aware of others' needs so that we can feel safe, we miss the developmental step of getting to know oneself. We can get to know your desires and needs together.

— Diana Teich, Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

Whose measure are you considering when you think of your worth? Often it is someone else’s. Sometimes we have accepted ideas as the truth, that when examined in the light of day do not stand up to scrutiny. Let’s find your truth.

— Tara Currie-Martinez, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Burlingame, CA

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

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

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

I help people who are tired of their inner critic to regain control over their thoughts. Using mindful self-compassion, I help my clients to 1) understand the function that their inner critic is trying to serve, and 2) develop other ways to meet that need. In most cases, those cruel, negative thoughts are misguided attempts to help you in some way. As it turns out, you can't berate yourself into doing or feeling better! Let's find another way together.

— Kendra Kirsonis, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Seattle, WA

If you judge and criticize yourself a lot, if you do not like yourself and feel like an impostor, if you feel like you lost connection with who you truly are, and generally accepted "recipes" of happiness do not work for you, I am here to help you figure those things out! I can help you explore your deep beliefs and motivations, understand what drives you and what paralyzes you, what inspires you and what is your recipe of a joyful and fulfilling life.

— Tatiana Morris, Licensed Professional Counselor Intern in Portland, OR

Often, the voice that is most critical of our choices, actions, and experiences is our own. Many of us can extend kindness and grace to others, but struggle to extend the same to ourselves - instead using harsh and cruel language to narrate our inner life. I partner with clients to identify the origins of this "inner critic" and the contributions that it makes, as we build skills that foster self-compassion, internal self-harmony, and contentedness.

— Alycia Smith @ C.H.E.R.I.I.S.H. Counseling LLC, Clinical Social Worker in Gresham, 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

Over the years, I’ve led thousands of therapy groups, and provided hundreds of people with individual, couples, and family therapy. I’ve treated people from all walks of life, with all kinds of presenting problems, from depression and anxiety, to chronic pain and illness, to addiction and severe mental illness. I have found that the common denominator across populations and issues is low self-esteem; people really don’t seem to be able to accept or love themselves. I have come to realize that the true core of my work is to empower people to find the light within themselves – to discover their true nature and free themselves of their self-judgments. I believe that this is what brings us true joy and inner peace, and allows us to create all that we desire in life.

— Adriana Popescu, Clinical Psychologist 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

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

I believe that self-worth and self-compassion are vital in this new world of comparison, bullying and social media. Helping my clients understand the power of their own thinking changes how they see and live life. When we understand the importance of unconditional love and self-acceptance we become a little less concerned about what others think of us or how they see us.

— Tracey R Cobb, Counselor in Marietta, GA

Self-esteem and anxiety many times go hand in hand. Many of my clients who struggle with anxiety also look at themselves as "not worthy" or "not good enough" which translates to poor boundary setting and lack of motivation. I provide an opportunity for clients to take a look at their behaviors and core beliefs, and support the client's change throughout the treatment process. Many of my clients leave will a better understanding of themselves after treatment has completed.

— Michelle Smith, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Palm Beach Gardens, FL

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

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

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

Our self-esteem is the deciding factor to our achieving sustainable contentment. It impacts every corner of our lives, how we feel in our bodies and amongst others. Everyone deserves esteem but often people feel lost as to how to esteem themselves effectively. Together we work to learn proper ways of esteeming ourselves, as well to uncover and heal all that blocks esteem.

— rachel khints, Counselor in New York, NY

Self-esteem and self-worth are core issues to deal with in any person, and I believe they're the first things that need acknowledgment in order to really grow and move forward.

— Risha Nathan, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in New York, NY

I start with homework exercises that help the individual to identify their strengths, and resilience that has helped them to get this far. I help with motivating and actively listening, and in turn getting them to trust themselves.

— Teresa Meadows, Clinical Social Worker in Brooklyn, NY

Self-esteem is your opinion of yourself. When you have healthy self-esteem, you feel good about who you are and see yourself as deserving the respect of others. When you have low self-esteem, you put little value on your opinions and ideas. I specialize in helping women overcome the difficult things in their past that led to an unhealthy self-esteem. We work together to learn ways to see yourself as valuable, worthy, and deserving of love, kindness, and compassion.

— Melanie Taylor, Counselor in Fort Smith, AR

In addition to my role as a therapist, I am a public speaker and writer that focuses on authenticity, empowering people to uncover their true selves and take the steps necessary to live within that. In terms of my role as a therapist, my role is to ignite curiosity for self exploration and help instill in you a confidence in living in line with your values and beliefs.

— Kyira Wackett, Counselor in Milwaukie, OR

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

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

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

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

Most of us have been led to believe that self esteem can (and must) be earned. “When I get my degree, lose ten pounds, get that promotion, have x dollars (and on and on), I will feel good about myself.” Our culture promotes this view because insecurity feeds the fires of capitalism. In reality, the opposite is true. When we treat ourselves lovingly, consistently over time, we fall in love with the wonderful person who is always so kind to us. That’s my definition of self esteem.

— Julie Levin, Marriage & Family Therapist in Pleasant Hill, CA

I believe that self-esteem issues are at the root of a lot of our other mental health issues. If we can heal the root, the other symptoms will alleviate.

— Rochelle Schwartz, Licensed Professional Counselor in , OR

"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

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

When most people hear the word relationship they think of couples or romance. However, Relationship Therapy isn't only for couples, it's also for individuals. You don't have to be in a relationship to seek Relationship Therapy. Having a healthy, fun relationship with yourself is just as important, if not more, than having one with someone else. Outcomes with past clients: Strengthening trust in yourself and others, increasing self-esteem, & setting and sticking to boundaries,

— Nicole Boston Relationship & Financial Therapist, Licensed Professional Counselor in Florissant, MO

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

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

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 Reisterstown, MD

Sometimes, the most difficult relationship is the relationship with our yourselves. When you feel low self-esteem, you often wonder and question, "what is wrong with me?" "I'm not good enough" And it's hard to forgive yourself at times. I want to let you know you are not alone in this struggle, and I have helped many men and women find healing and a new outlook on who they are. You can learn to love yourself and enjoy being who you are again. Give me a call today for free consultation.

— Linda Yoon, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Burbank, CA

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