Self-esteem: how it can be treated in psychotherapy

Self-esteem is the fundamental basis of people’s psychological well-being. It is therefore one of the most important aspects of most psychotherapy processes.

In this article we will see how self esteem works from psychological therapy, And in what sense it benefits patients.

    The components of self-esteem

    Self-esteem is the evaluation we make of ourselves. We can summarize in these five “actions”, their components and constituent parts:

    1. Self-knowledge

    consists of know your characteristics, your weaknesses, your strengths, your needs

    2. Self-assessment

    Once you have clear characteristics, play see how valuesIn other words, whether positively or negatively, in the broad sense.

    3. Self-acceptance

    There are things we can and want to change about ourselves and others that we may not like and have to accept as they are.


    It’s the prelude to healthy self-esteem. This is seek our well-being, meet our needs and give us the love we deserve.

    5. Positive self-esteem

    It is based on all of the above points, and on the fact that we are looking for healthy self-esteem, that is, it is neither too low (underestimation) nor high (narcissism). ) nor conditional (wanting us if we get some success and despising otherwise). Good self-esteem is unconditional.

    What do we mean by balanced self-love?

    Healthy self-esteem can be defined as the positive attitude towards yourself, based on a realistic self-image that has to do with who we really are. It means accepting unconditionally, without this acceptance based on the achievement of certain successes or the appreciation of others and meet our personal needs and well-being. It also influences that if we establish a satisfactory relationship with the rest.

    It is necessary to differentiate it from a low self-esteem, in which we value ourselves in a distorted way in a more negative way than we deserve, and from a narcissistic self-esteem, in which the person tends to overestimate, or a conditional self. esteem, which depends on obtaining certain successes.

    One can imagine a healthy self-esteem as a balanced balance between our “real me”, more linked to the concept of self, that is to say in the way we see ourselves, and our “ideal self” referred to the way we would like to be.

    This “ideal self” responds to our “potential self” with which we must be careful, because it is important to have goals and the desire to improve, but it is not advisable to have too many personal demands. high because we will not reach them or, if we do, we will suffer when we stop doing it.

    Can self-esteem be worked on in therapy?

    Although self-esteem was largely forged in our childhood and youth, it is something that can be worked on in adulthood through psychological therapy. In fact, this is one of the main requests we receive in our consultation, Mariva Psychologists.

    When we work on self-esteem in psychotherapy, we do it by intervening on each of the 5 building blocks that we have mentioned, and by providing tools in these areas:

    1. Cognitive zone

    The role of thoughts is essentialBeing one of the main goals of therapy is the flexibility of self-imposed “shoulds”, ie personal demands, as well as distorted beliefs we may have about ourselves.

    This is reverse all those destructive and distorted thoughts that we have about ourselves in an act of dialogue that we are usually unaware of.

    2. Behavioral zone

    In this area we work, among other aspects, the practice of affirmed rights, social skills, we underline the importance of accomplishing pleasant tasks … In general, it seeks to teach the person to take care of himself and to experience a greater sense of usefulness.

    On the other hand, social relationships are very important to generate healthy self-esteem and, therefore, the quality of communication and expression skills are improved.

    3. Emotional zone

    It is important to cultivate self-compassion, to work on our emotions as well as to analyze how we see ourselves (the real me) and how we would like to know (the ideal self) by trying to balance this balance which is usually very uneven. .

    We will promote the emotions of kindness, because if we can be nice to others … why not to ourselves?

      So … could I improve my self-esteem if I go to the psychologist?

      The answer to the question of whether self-esteem can be improved in therapy is a resounding yes. In fact, as we mentioned, this is one of the main requests currently in our consultation in Valencia, because if self-esteem is low, the person does not feel well and considerable suffering is generated which can even lead to the development of anxiety, bad mood, social and / or relationship damage, etc.

      Working on self-esteem is a process which, despite a difficult part, is very rewarding for the person going through it and for the therapist who accompanies it. This process begins with an appropriate psychological assessment to know the specific problem of the person and the techniques which suit him best. It continues with the use of these techniques to end when a great improvement in self-esteem is achieved, which should remain neat, just as you would take care of your most precious possession.

      If you think about it it’s like any other love. You have to know how to love, eliminate toxic relationships, and when you find healthy love, you have to keep caring for it – why not do the same with self-love?

      Bibliographical references:

      • Baumeister, RF; Campbell, JD; Krueger, JI; Vohs, KD (2003). Does high self-esteem lead to better performance, interpersonal success, happiness, or healthier lifestyles? Psychological sciences of public interest. 4 (1): 1-44.
      • Marsh, HW (1990). Causal arrangement of academic self-concept and academic achievement: a multi-wave longitudinal trajectory analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology. 82 (4): 646-656.

      Leave a Comment