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Low Self Esteem Counselling

Self-esteem is defined as a person’s inner self worth, which allows them to resist personal attacks and be resilient when faced with criticism. Self-esteem is one of the most important things that a person can have.  People who have low self-esteem lack the “armour” that is necessary to persevere through difficult times.

While the prevalence of low self-esteem in any demographic group is difficult to quantify, this is only because many people suffer from low self-esteem and never get help. If we could get an accurate count the numbers would be staggering. If you suffer from low self-esteem, know that you are not alone. The support of a counsellor or a psychotherapist can help individuals to identify the underlying cause(s) of their low self-esteem and learn strategies to improve it.

Low Self-Esteem Causes & Symptoms

Low self esteem can be caused by many things. It can originate during childhood or it can be developed as an adult.

Childhood Causes Adulthood Causes
Excessive criticism Unemployment
Physical/sexual abuse Financial problems
Traumatic events Health problems or psychological trauma
Unsafe/unloving home environment Marital difficulties/divorce
Problems with physical appearance/health Excessive weight gain
Bullying Bullying (happens to adults too)


If you have low self esteem, you may have self confidence problems and struggle with social skills which causes you to isolate, you may have difficult sharing your opinions or being assertive when needed. You may often judge yourself harshly, and constantly want to please others and maybe find it hard to say no to people. You might feel you always have to be perfect, be strong in order to be recognised and also struggle with criticism. It is not uncommon for low self-esteem and eating disorders or substance abuse problems to go hand-in-hand. If this describes you or someone that you know, it might be time to seek professional help.

Support & Treatment Options

It’s important for a person suffering from low self-esteem to have support when learning how to improve their own self-worth. Support can come from friends, family, religion, local support groups, colleagues (when appropriate), and others that make them feel comfortable, however its important to remember that this can also be detrimental at times because these people are not always objective.

Some sufferers may benefit from utilising self help books or self help MP3 files. Any of these options could be used separate from or in addition to the support of a counsellor or psychotherapist.

How can Low Self Esteem Counselling or Psychotherapy Help me?

The treatments a counsellor or psychotherapist will provide may be different based on the underlying cause of the client’s low self esteem. It is reasonable, however, to expect the counsellor to provide a safe and confidential environment where feelings, thoughts, habits, and triggers can be explored. They may suggest that journaling of thoughts and feelings to help identify patterns in those feelings and related behaviours. Be assured that while the counsellor may pose questions from time to time, they are never judgemental. Their questioning will be meant to provoke focused thought related to important events, feelings or topics with the ultimate goal being for the client to improve their self esteem and better understand themselves.

A self-esteem counsellor will help the individual identify, understand and explore the underlying cause of their low self-esteem and how their thoughts, behaviours, and feelings impact it. They will help the sufferer improve their assertiveness and communication skills. Counselling will help the person to put things into perspective and learn to live in the present. The overall goal will be for the clients to learn to show themselves compassion and make progress towards self-acceptance and self-love.