Self-esteem therapy: how can it help with well-being?

Much has been said about the importance of having a good self-esteem , however, this is not always an easy process. So, many people have resorted to therapy as a way of learning to better deal with their own feelings and emotions.

Do you want to know if self-esteem therapy has beneficial effects and can change a person’s relationship with themselves and the world? Find out below!

Can you improve self-esteem in therapy?

Yes, it is possible to improve self-esteem through therapy.

Taking into account that self-esteem is linked to the way that the person sees himself, several therapies can help to improve it.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, for example, focuses on correcting dysfunctional beliefs that people have about themselves, the world and other people, and that includes self-esteem and self-esteem.

The absence of an external judgment, as in the person-centered approach, can also help.

When feeling accepted, the person tends to reach new insights about himself, being able to formulate a new vision of himself – preferably a more positive one

Finally, psychodynamic therapies such as psychoanalysis can also help to improve self-esteem, in view of their great potential for self-knowledge.

Self-knowledge is a big step towards discovering your greatest qualities, biggest defects and changing what you don’t like, thus allowing the construction of a healthier self-esteem.

What is self-esteem according to psychology?

Self-esteem can be conceptualized as a person’s view of himself , being able to see his own qualities and value himself .

It is not a question of being ugly when looking in the mirror; self-esteem is something much more comprehensive than that . It is about understanding your own value as a human being.

It is so important that it causes changes in the way we act in the world.

People with low self-esteem may find it difficult to speak, using a lower tone of voice and an inadequate posture, while people with good self-esteem are confident and can express themselves more openly.

This implies a series of consequences, for example, the person with low self-esteem may end up losing job vacancies because their posture during the interview is that of those who do not deserve the vacancy, while people with a healthy self-esteem can find employment more easily due to their assertiveness at the time of the interview.

Remember that self-esteem is not fixed . It varies according to the person’s time of life, and may be influenced by external factors such as frustrated dreams, problems in interpersonal relationships, divorce, grief , internal factors such as a more pessimistic personality or even by the presence of mental disorders such as depression and anxiety .

Read more: Self-esteem: what it is and its importance

What are the types of self-esteem?

There is no consensus regarding the types of self-esteem, but some of those that are discussed are the following:

Low self-esteem

People with low self-esteem are people who have a negative view of themselves, having difficulty seeing their own qualities or, even being able to see them, choose to devalue them, as if they were nothing much.

Low self-esteem is characterized by feelings of inadequacy, incapacity and incompetence. This implies difficulties in seeing their own qualities, an exaggeration in the defects, which can influence even the way that the person perceives himself physically.

In short, low self-esteem is not only in relation to aesthetics, but also about feeling inadequate in general, including physical appearance, but also in the work itself, in the attitudes it takes, in the relationships, among others.

Low self-esteem also makes it difficult to express your feelings and to impose limits on interpersonal relationships, which can greatly impair the quality of these relationships. Including downgrading proactivity and spontaneity.

High self-steem

People with a high (healthy) self-esteem are able to see their qualities and value them, but they are also open to constructive criticism, recognizing their mistakes and defects and seeking to change what they dislike.

It is common for people with a high self-esteem to be insecure, both in relation to their physical appearance and in relation to their abilities and skills, but this does not necessarily indicate a drop in self-esteem – it just indicates that the person understands that the human being has failures and that she is also prone to have them.

Inflated self-esteem

Inflated self-esteem is a higher type of self-esteem than it should. While such a high self-esteem may seem like a good thing, in reality it can be as serious a problem as low levels.

In this context, the person feels better than the others, devaluing them frequently. She may have difficulty seeing her defects and not assuming her mistakes, believing that she is capable of doing anything, not being open to criticism, among others.

In the end, an inflated self-esteem is also capable of significantly affecting a person’s interpersonal relationships, work, studies and other spheres of life.

Fragile self-esteem

Fragile self-esteem is characterized by being easily shaken by external events. On a daily basis, the person does not necessarily have a bad self-esteem, but in the face of certain situations, he may have feelings of inadequacy.

These people are sensitive to criticism and rejection, even those who are constructive or have a good reason to happen. They get hurt easily, they don’t deal with frustrations very well, they often seek approval from others, they want to please everyone and have a hard time saying no.

It is a very common type of self-esteem, frequently appearing in doctor’s offices, even if the person himself does not realize that it is a problem of self-esteem.

How to work on self-esteem in therapy?

There are several ways to work on self-esteem in therapy, regardless of the theoretical line that the therapist follows. However, in particular, cognitive-behavioral therapy brings some interesting techniques to address this issue, such as:

Cognitive restructuring

CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) works with the dysfunctional beliefs that a person has about himself, others and the world. These dysfunctional beliefs arise from the individual’s life story, influencing their thinking patterns later.

The idea of ​​cognitive restructuring is to refute these dysfunctional beliefs, showing that the person’s perception of himself, others and the world is often distorted and does not correspond to reality, replacing them with healthier and more realistic ones.

People with negative beliefs about themselves certainly have low self-esteem, but through cognitive restructuring they can develop new, more realistic beliefs, allowing for an improvement in self-esteem.

Radical acceptance

Radical acceptance refers to accepting that things are as they are, and that does not mean conforming to a cruel reality and bad self-esteem.

In reality, it is only by accepting things that change becomes possible, and therefore accepting the existence of these bad feelings of inadequacy and incapacity that comes with poor self-esteem is the first step in achieving balance.

By accepting that he has a poor self-esteem, the person can work to change this perception of himself.

Accepting that the world does not see you the same way and that the person who is always putting you down is herself can be somewhat painful, but important for the recovery process.

Frustration tolerance

Often, self-esteem is poor due to external factors, such as plans that do not work, frustrated relationships, lack of recognition, among others.

Although it is an internal factor, it is heavily influenced by the external situation. So ignoring that point is useless. Therefore, to improve self-esteem, it is also necessary to work on tolerance to frustration.

Therapists will teach a series of techniques and appropriate ways to act in the face of feelings of frustration and malaise, as well as helping the patient to face the automatic thoughts of self-invalidation that arise in those moments.

Support network

The human being is social and needs other people to survive. In this sense, a support network is extremely important for self-esteem.

The therapist will encourage the patient to keep in touch with friends who help to see the best side of themselves and who only make constructive criticisms when necessary, imposing limits on overly critical friends and family members who only reinforce the patient’s lowered self-esteem.


Therapy can bring different benefits to people’s mental as well as physical health . One of the possibilities is to work on self-esteem during treatment.

And along with the psychological guidance, the Healthy Minute helps you to understand more about well-being !

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