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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Rivera

Raising Self-Esteem with Integrative Psychotherapy

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

Healthy self-esteem is associated with better physical health and psychological well-being.

Raising self-esteem with Integrative Psychotherapy

Life's journey is marked by moments of change and loss. Be it the end of a relationship, parenthood, a significant loss, or the passage of time – these Junctions in life can cast shadows of uncertainty and self-doubt.

For most, these emotions are fleeting, but for some, they evolve into persistent challenges that may have roots in their past. When low self-esteem starts to impact other facets of life, such as work, relationships, and overall well-being, it's a signal to seek help.

Low self-esteem is a pervasive negative self-opinion, a harsh self-evaluation, and a devaluation of oneself. It's like viewing yourself through a perpetually grim lens (Fennel, 1997).


Why is self-esteem so important?

Self-esteem is a cornerstone of our personalities and decision-making. Healthy self-esteem is linked to better physical health, psychological well-being, greater achievements, and effective coping skills. Studies reveal that self-esteem generally rises from adolescence into middle adulthood but may decline with age (Brandon, 1995).

Low self-esteem can lay dormant until a triggering event activates a negative core belief, leading to Unhelpful thinking, biased expectations, and negative self-evaluations (Fennel, 1997).

The problems with low self-esteem

People with low self-esteem often hold deep-seated core beliefs about their identity as absolute truths rather than personal opinions (Fennel, 1997). This issue can surface as a part of broader problems, like depression, or as an isolated concern. Low self-esteem frequently coexists with other mental and physical health issues.

What are some of the signs of low self-worth?

| Observable and Concealed Signs of Low Self-Worth

Visible signs include self-criticism, difficulty acknowledging personal strengths, and excessive reliance on external validation.

Concealed issues manifest as self-blame, rumination, self-doubt, or even an inferiority complex. Some individuals develop maladaptive behaviours like perfectionism, unrealistically high standards, or avoidance of competitive situations and judgmental environments.

Other factors include attachment issues in relationships, inability to accept constructive criticism, feeling upset by disapproval, shyness, passive behaviour and people-pleasing. Some experience anger and aggression or attract abusive partners.

Integrative Psychotherapy: As a Way Forward!

In my private practice, I (Mel) work with individuals grappling with self-esteem challenges. Integrative psychotherapy, which can blend cognitive and behavioural approaches, emerges as a powerful tool for enhancing self-esteem.

When addressing low self-esteem, the therapy's cognitive-behavioural integrative approach aims to confront biased expectations. Through therapeutic sessions and self-monitoring exercises, clients gradually challenge their negative beliefs about themselves and prevent their reactivation.

Diving Deeper | Uncovering the Origins of Low Self-Esteem

Understanding the roots of low self-esteem is pivotal.

Was it early life experiences, negative core beliefs like "there's something wrong with me," unhelpful thought patterns such as "they didn't call, so they don't like me," or safety-compromising behaviours like people-pleasing or substance misuse?

Final thoughts

Low self-esteem can cause a lot of distress for people who struggle with it, which can impact their life on the whole. The good news is that with the help of a trained therapist, you can begin to alter your thinking and habits and raise your self-esteem.

To explore private therapy or find a therapist, reputable directories like the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) or Psychology Today can be invaluable resources. You can also schedule a free initial call with Mel, an MBACP registered therapist listed on these platforms.

Remember, the path to raising self-esteem can start with – seeking help!

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