There are many situations and experiences throughout life that tear down self-esteem. But the question is, can therapy improve self-esteem?
What Factors Damage Self-Esteem?
People first develop a sense of self and their own self-esteem during early childhood. Stressors and negative experiences during this time through the age of 10-11 can include:
- Invalidating parents – this can create difficulty trusting one’s internal experience
- Bullying in school – creates challenges forming and maintain relationships with others and self
- Vicarious fallout from divorce – being directly or indirectly targeted, fought over, or felt as not as important
- Medical challenges – can make someone feel like an ‘other’ amongst others
- Consumption of social media – seeing what others having
As someone moves into adolescents and their teen years, the same factors as above can influence self-esteem, however, other factors that can negatively influence self-esteem may also include:
- Use of substances – doing or acting in a way that is not congruent with values
- Being let go from a sports team – experiencing rejection
- A relationship partner cheating – can cause people to feel ‘less than’
- Failing or doing poorly in school – needing extra support from school staff can ‘other’ some people
Additionally, as a person moves through high school and into early adulthood, all of the above factors can still impact someone’s self-esteem. Other variable also come into play. These may include:
- Not being accepting into the desired college – feelings of rejection or being ‘not good enough’
- Losing social networks as people move away – feelings of loneliness
having a clear direction in life compared to others – feeling as though one doesn’t have meaning
- Seeing others after high school chase their dreams – can make us feel left out
At any point in life, we can experience factors and situations that can negatively impact our self-esteem.
How Can Therapy Help Improve Self-Esteem?
A therapist can help address self-esteem in multiple ways.
- Target thoughts that are not completely accurate to reshape to more accurate thoughts
- Increase awareness towards things done well in one’s life
- Utilize gratitude for the positive areas of life
- Teach mood and nervous system regulation skills for when challenges arise
- Target past traumatic experiences that continue to affect one’s life
Click here to read even more tips on how to positively influence self-esteem.
What is the Relationship Between Mental health and Self-Esteem?
How we feel about our self is correlated with our mental health and vice versa. If we have internalized messages from others or our own self-talk that we are less than or not worth
y of having the life we desire, then our behavior typically follows. This can become a worrisome spiral.
If our thoughts get stuck on thinking too much about the past or past mistakes, we can struggle to show up and do our best in the present-moment.
Additionally, when we feel different due to mental health symptoms or struggle to do the things others can because of, i.e. anxiety, then our self-esteem can become greatly affected.
The relationship between mental health and self-esteem can go either way and may shift depending on one’s own mental health, external stressors, and their internal sense of self that was established in childhood.
What Types of Therapy Can Target This?
A thorough assessment is needed to determine how, when, and what factors influence a person’s self-esteem. In general, the following mental health therapies can support increasing one’s self-esteem. These can include:
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – can help to distance one from mental health symptoms, pursue valued living, and learn ways to stay in the present-moment
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – targets cognitions and behaviors that impact one’s self-esteem
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)therapy – if trauma influences low self-esteem then an EMDR therapist can support internal healing
- Somatic Experiencing (SE) therapy – a SE therapist works by facilitating internal healing to allow someone who has experienced past trauma re-establish mind-body connection and discharge painful energy stored in the body
Find a Mental Health Therapist in South Denver
Finding a therapist near you can be a huge challenge. We offer a free 20-minute consultation to ensure we are the correct fit to support healing. Call us now at 720.295.6703, or submit a contact form to begin the process! We look forward to hearing from you!