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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’re tired of feeling suffocated by your harsh inner critic. It has caused you to constantly feel undeserving, inadequate, and awkward. There are many reasons why people struggle with low self-esteem but the important thing to remember is that it is not fixed and very possible to improve. Therapy can help you: Silence the critical voice; See your innate strengths; Practice self-compassion, self-respect, self-acceptance; Challenge negative thoughts & self-talk; Focus on things in your control.

— Ashley Vo, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

Are you are struggling with low self-esteem, shame, self-criticism, and/or self-hatred? I can help you develop skills to better handle difficult emotions, soften the inner critic, and cultivate a calmer and kinder mind.

— Jessica Youseffi, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA

I help people 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 others reach the beautiful, empowered wonderful person they truly are.

— Cindy Athey, Counselor in Clearwater, 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

I have worked with countless individuals whose lack of /low self esteem has kept them trapped in unhappy relationships, poor work environments, and inability to pursue their life's dreams. Together we will identify the negative thoughts, examine where they come from, and how you have been replaying this script throughout your life. In the final phase we will apply CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) to teach you how to challenge these negative thoughts patterns.

— Natasha Fortune, Counselor in Long Island City, NY

Low self-esteem often originates with unmet needs during childhood. Many of us feel "not good enough" or struggle with self-doubt, this can be the result of not having caretakers who were attuned to our needs and feelings. Often, our parents did the best they could but we still may have not gotten what we needed. I use Developmental Needs-Meeting Strategy to help my clients gain a sense of self-worth, self-assssurednes, and develop the ability to advocate for themselves.

— Rachel Del Dosso, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Camarillo, 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 , VA

As a gay person, you may struggle with your self-worth. You might also suffer from anxiety or depression. You may have trouble sleeping, feel isolated socially, or exhausted from self-criticism. You’re tired of struggling. You want to work with a therapist to help you overcome your pain and angst.

— Adam Blum, Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

The best part of my job is reminding individuals of their inherent value – no matter who they are or where they come from. To the degree that people recognize their value, they give themselves permission to grow which then empowers them to make the changes that invite healing on many different levels.

— Cindy Purifoy, Marriage & Family Therapist in Overland Park, KS

If constant feelings of inadequacy and self-criticism are creeping in, it’s very difficult to feel any sense of self-confidence. Instead, feelings of defeat, loss of motivation, and lack of joy become the new reality. You can break free! What would life be like if you viewed your core self as unconditionally worthy of acceptance, compassion, and value? How do you think your life would change? Let’s start the journey together toward building a sense of self-esteem that truly enables you to thrive

— JaLeah Law, Clinical Psychologist in Los Angeles, CA

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

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