Low self-esteem is also closely associated with the following conditions and experiences:
Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
Challenges to Self-Esteem
Young girl appears distressed as peers whisper in the backgroundSelf-esteem is learned in childhood, and certain experiences may interfere with its development, such as being subject to criticism or abuse from parents and caretakers; missing out on experiences that would foster a sense of confidence and purpose; receiving little or no positive reinforcement for accomplishments; being stigmatized for unusual appearance or behaviors, or for one’s race, class, or social identity; or having a learning disability or physical impairment.
In adulthood, even a well-developed self-esteem can be challenged by sudden life changes or perceived failures, such as losing a job or changing jobs, ending an intimate relationship, having legal or financial troubles, struggling with addiction or substance abuse, having children with emotional troubles, physical health concerns, or a host of other events that might cause us to question our worth or value. Therapy can help put such events in perspective and enhance strengths to increase resilience, social support, and hope.
How Psychotherapy Can Help Self-Esteem
Therapy sessions frequently address issues like low self-esteem and help people to gain a stronger sense of self. People with low self-esteem may work with therapists on becoming more assertive, confident, and self-aware. Finding a sense of accomplishment is a huge boost to self-esteem, and therapy can help people identify specific activities that boost confidence and competence. In addition, many therapists focus on helping people develop self-compassion so that they can develop more realistic, achievable goals for themselves and treat themselves with the same kindness and encouragement they would offer others.