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by Dr. Becky Spelman on 11/08/2014

What is self-esteem?

The term “self-esteem” refers to your own personal assessment of your worth, and your attitude towards yourself. If your self-esteem is high, you are likely to consider yourself to be competent and worthy of love and respect. If you suffer from low self-esteem, you may feel that you are not worthy of consideration, love or respect, and you are likely to underestimate your own capacities and skills. For some people low self-esteem is more subtle and only triggered in certain areas of their life for example only in intimate relationships, group situations or public speaking.

Unsurprisingly, low self-esteem can have considerable repercussions in every area of your life, from work to romance. If you have low self-esteem, there may be some level at which you feel yourself unworthy of promotion or of being loved. You may find it hard to ask for help when you need it, feeling that an admission of need is just another sign of failure. When you are criticised, you are likely to overreact. You might find it difficult to make decisions, always worrying that you will make a mistake.

For many, problems with self-esteem are very literally stopping them from being as happy as they could or should be. This is why most psychologists recognise self-esteem as a basic human need; without healthy levels of self-esteem, it is very difficult for anyone to have a fulfilling life.

Treatment for low self-esteem

While issues with self-esteem can often be traced back to experiences of childhood and adolescence, someone who has problems in this area now really needs to learn a new way of seeing themselves, and their place in the world. This is where therapy can make a big, and very positive, difference, regardless of the origins of the issue.

If you have been struggling with issues of self-esteem, you may find it very useful to meet with a therapist who will be able to assess you and suggest a way forward. Depending on your unique situation, a psychologist, psychotherapist or psychiatrist can engage with you to find a treatment plan. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which focuses on finding practical, pragmatic solutions that will help you to think about yourself differently, and respond in a more conscious, positive way to the threats to your self-esteem in your environment, can help. Eye movement desensitisation reprocessing (EMDR) is another proven therapy that can provide real relief for the anxiety that is often present with low self esteem.

How can I get help for low self-esteem in London?

If you would like to talk to someone about counselling or therapy for low self-esteem, please get in touch with us at Private Therapy Clinic by telephone at: 020 38871738 or book online by clicking below.



      UKCP Couples and Family Psychotherapist / UKCO

      Individuals, Families & Couples


      Clinical & Counselling Psychologist

      Children, adults, parents & families