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Low Self-Esteem/Low Confidence

Low Self-Esteem/Low Confidence Counselling, Therapy and CBT in St Albans/Hertfordshire and Online

It is common for individuals to experience moments of self-doubt and a lack of confidence in certain situations. However, for some people, low self-esteem and confidence issues can significantly impact their daily lives across multiple situations. These challenges can hinder their ability to engage in meaningful activities, leading to emotional distress, stress, and anxiety. If you find yourself facing these issues, it is important to know that you don't have to accept them as a permanent state. There are strategies and techniques available that can help you address and overcome your low self-esteem and confidence issues, empowering you to move forward without being held back by them.

What is Low Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem refers to our self-perception and the value we attribute to ourselves. When someone has low self-esteem, they hold a negative overall view of themselves. This is often accompanied by self-critical thoughts, such as:

  • I am not capable enough.

  • I am a failure.

  • I am not worthy.

  • I am inadequate.

  • I am unlovable.

These self-critical thoughts are deeply ingrained and are often believed to be absolute truths. Individuals with low self-esteem may also worry that others hold the same negative perceptions of them. Moreover, they have a tendency to compare themselves to others in an unfair and biased manner. For instance, they may excessively admire the positive qualities of others while disregarding their own positive traits. They may also selectively compare themselves to individuals perceived as highly intelligent, attractive, or socially adept. In this process, they overlook the flaws of others while magnifying their own perceived flaws. Compliments are dismissed and their own achievements are downplayed, often attributing them to luck or considering them unremarkable.


Situations requiring decision-making can trigger anxiety in individuals with low self-esteem, as they fear making poor choices and being negatively judged for them. When things go wrong, they tend to take full responsibility and blame themselves. These thinking patterns associated with low self-esteem can have a detrimental impact on various aspects of life. They can contribute to emotional difficulties such as depression, anxiety, and anger. In work or school, individuals with low self-esteem may exhibit extreme behaviors, either working excessively hard or putting in minimal effort due to a fear of failure. In relationships, they may be passive, fail to assert themselves, tolerate mistreatment, and prioritise the needs of others over their own. They may quickly perceive criticism from others and react emotionally, potentially lashing out. Enjoyable activities, such as hobbies or sports, may be avoided due to fear of performance evaluation or a fear of failure. While they may face feared situations, they often rely on safety strategies to cope, such as spending excessive time preparing for a presentation at work.


What Causes Low Self-Esteem?

Our self-beliefs are shaped by our life experiences, particularly those from earlier stages. While these beliefs may have been logical and reasonable based on the conclusions we drew from those experiences, they may no longer be helpful or accurate as we grow older. There are several common experiences that can contribute to the development of low self-esteem, including:

  • Frequent criticism: Receiving consistent criticism, especially when mistakes were made, can lead to the belief that one is inadequate or not capable enough.

  • Bullying: Being subjected to bullying, whether it be verbal, physical, or emotional, can significantly impact self-esteem and foster negative self-perceptions.

  • Feeling different: Feeling different from others, such as having a unique physical appearance, struggling academically, or facing challenges that set one apart from their peers, can contribute to feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth.

  • Neglect and abuse: Experiencing neglect or abuse, whether it is emotional, physical, or sexual, can deeply impact one's self-esteem and lead to a negative self-image.

  • Lack of praise and affection: Growing up in an environment where praise and affection are scarce can hinder the development of a healthy sense of self-worth and diminish one's belief in their own value and lovability.

These earlier experiences play a significant role in shaping our self-perception and can contribute to the formation of negative beliefs about ourselves. It's important to recognise that while these beliefs may have originated from valid experiences, they do not define our worth or potential as individuals. Therapy can help challenge and reframe these negative beliefs, allowing for the development of a more positive and accurate self-concept.


When Should I Get Help for Low Self-Esteem/Low Confidence?


If you find yourself grappling with low self-esteem, experiencing difficulties in finding joy, relaxation, and engaging in meaningful activities, and feeling overwhelmed by emotions such as sadness, stress, or anxiety, it is crucial to consider seeking support. Regardless of the degree to which low self-esteem affects your life, counselling for low self-esteem can provide significant benefits and support for your well-being. It offers a safe space to explore and address the impact of low self-esteem, regardless of whether its effects are mild or severe.


Does Counselling/Therapy Work for Low Self-Esteem? What are the best approaches?

Low self-esteem is a prevalent issue that I frequently encounter in therapy, and I have witnessed numerous individuals make remarkable progress throughout the therapeutic process. The effectiveness of therapy in addressing low self-esteem is well-established and supported by research. There exist various therapy approaches that can be beneficial for tackling low self-esteem, and I will tailor the therapy to suit your specific needs and considerations. Taking your preferences into account, I may propose incorporating Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is widely recognised as one of the most effective approaches for addressing low self-esteem, into your therapy sessions.

What are the Benefits of Counselling/Therapy for Low Self-Esteem?

Therapy for low self-esteem offers a range of benefits, including:

  1. Cultivating a more positive self-perception and overall self-view.

  2. Reducing self-critical thoughts and fostering self-compassion.

  3. Enhancing mood and emotional well-being.

  4. Decreasing anxiety and stress levels.

  5. Encouraging engagement in meaningful and fulfilling activities.

  6. Improving overall quality of life.

  7. Enhancing satisfaction with life and personal achievements.

  8. Minimising avoidance of feared situations and promoting personal growth.

  9. Strengthening and improving interpersonal relationships.

By addressing and working through low self-esteem in therapy, individuals can experience significant positive changes in their self-perception, emotional well-being, and overall quality of life.

What Does Counselling and Therapy for Low Self-Esteem Involve?

Therapy for low self-esteem typically starts by identifying and understanding the thinking and behavioral patterns that perpetuate your low self-esteem. The focus of therapy is then to address and challenge these patterns. I can assist you in challenging unhelpful thoughts and developing a more balanced and positive self-perception. Keeping a log of positive experiences, such as accomplishments, positive qualities, and compliments received, can be beneficial. It is also important to prioritise your own needs and engage in self-care activities. These are just a few examples of the many strategies that you and your therapist can explore together to improve your self-esteem. Throughout therapy, you will develop a toolkit of various techniques and approaches to effectively address your low self-esteem.


Exploring past experiences in therapy can be valuable in understanding how they have contributed to the development of your low self-esteem. This exploration can be empowering, allowing you to let go of negative self-perceptions and cultivate self-compassion. By integrating these therapeutic approaches and insights, you can gradually enhance your self-esteem and develop a more positive and compassionate relationship with yourself.

How Long Does Therapy Last for Low Self-Esteem?

The duration of therapy for low self-esteem can vary depending on individual circumstances. While some individuals may experience significant improvements in as few as six sessions, others may benefit from a longer duration of therapy, typically ranging from six to sixteen sessions. The additional sessions provide an opportunity to delve deeper into your difficulties, gain a more comprehensive understanding of your self-esteem issues, and further develop strategies and techniques to effectively address and manage low self-esteem. By allowing for this extended timeframe, you can build upon your toolkit and acquire the necessary skills to not only overcome low self-esteem but also maintain positive self-perception in the long term.

Helpful low self-esteem/confidence resources:

If you would like therapy for low self-esteem/low confidence in St Albans/Hertfordshire or online please email me at or complete the webform below.


St Albans Rooms

21 Victoria Street

St Albans



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