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Self-esteem refers to a person's overall subjective evaluation of their own worth or value. It encompasses beliefs about oneself, including emotions, behaviours, and thoughts, and influences how individuals perceive themselves and their abilities. Self-esteem can significantly impact various aspects of life, such as relationships, work performance, mental health, and overall well-being.


In people, self-esteem plays a crucial role as it can influence the development and maintenance of various psychological issues. Symptoms of low self-esteem may manifest in several ways, including:


  • Negative self-talk: Constant self-criticism, harsh judgements, and pessimistic views about oneself.

  • Social withdrawal: Avoidance of social interactions due to feelings of inadequacy or fear of rejection.

  • Perfectionism: Setting unrealistic standards for oneself and feeling inadequate when unable to meet them.

  • Depression and anxiety: Low self-esteem often coexists with depressive symptoms, such as persistent sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest, as well as anxiety symptoms, such as excessive worry and fear.

  • Substance abuse: Some individuals may turn to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism for low self-esteem.


Several risk factors can contribute to low self-esteem, including:


  • Childhood experiences: Negative experiences such as abuse, neglect, or bullying during childhood can significantly impact self-esteem in adulthood.

  • Critical parenting: Overly critical or authoritarian parenting styles may lead to the internalization of negative beliefs about oneself.

  • Traumatic events: Traumatic experiences such as loss, failure, or rejection can undermine self-esteem and trigger psychological distress.

  • Chronic stress: Persistent stressors, such as financial problems or relationship conflicts, can erode self-esteem over time.


Certain life events can exacerbate low self-esteem; including job loss, relationship breakdowns, academic failures, or major health issues. These events may challenge an individual's sense of competence, worthiness, or control, leading to a further decline in self-esteem.


Mental health professionals at Catharsis can help patients address low self-esteem through various therapeutic approaches:


  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT aims to identify and challenge negative thought patterns and beliefs that contribute to low self-esteem. Patients learn to develop more adaptive thinking styles and build self-confidence through behavioral exercises.

  • Self-compassion practices: Therapists may incorporate techniques from compassion-focused therapy (CFT) or mindfulness-based interventions to help patients cultivate self-compassion and acceptance.

  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT): IPT focuses on improving interpersonal relationships and communication skills, which can positively impact self-esteem by fostering supportive connections and reducing social isolation.

  • Psychodynamic therapy: This approach explores underlying unconscious processes and early experiences that contribute to low self-esteem, allowing patients to gain insight into their self-concept and develop healthier self-perceptions.

  • Group therapy or support groups: Participating in group settings can provide validation, empathy, and social support, helping individuals recognise that they are not alone in their struggles with self-esteem issues.


Overall, our psychotherapists at Catharsis offer a supportive and collaborative environment where patients can explore and address the underlying factors contributing to low self-esteem, develop coping strategies, and cultivate a more positive self-image. Through consistent therapeutic work, individuals can enhance their self-esteem and lead more fulfilling lives.

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