Self-esteem refers to how an individual is able to accurately understand themselves – their abilities, strengths, weaknesses, potentials and qualities. Self-esteem is established based on a number of factors, such as life experiences, family history, emotional or mental health, or relationships with others. Contributing factors to a person’s self-esteem might include their self-image (physical appearance), self-concept (personality, skills, intelligence) and self-worth (sense of value or purpose). An individual dealing with low self-esteem might have feelings of worthlessness, believe that they are incapable, feel unwanted or not loved, have negative thoughts or are drawn to harmful relationships. Maintaining healthy self-esteem is important to mental, emotional and psychological health, and can have an effect on a person’s relationship with others. Lowered self-esteem is often linked to depression, anxiety, withdrawing from others or body image issues, and counselling can address ways in which a person can build their sense of self.
Treatment for Low Self-Esteem
Client-centered therapy is one treatment approach for self-esteem. In this therapeutic approach, the psychologist works with the client to help them realize their potentials, gain a more realistic view of themselves, and interact in a more positive way with others.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy addresses the automatic negative thoughts that a person may have toward a situation and their resulting actions or behaviours.
Resources for Self-Esteem
University of Toronto:
Children and Self-Esteem:
Canadian Psychological Association