Confidence and Self Esteem

The prevalence of low confidence and low self-esteem is evident in the self-help section of any bookstore. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the books depends upon our ability to talk ourselves into more confidence and higher esteem, a method that many people find difficult to accomplish.  Hypnotherapy, however, is quite effective as treatment for both these issues. On the surface, these may seem to be related problems, but they are distinguishable.  While they are very personal and distinctive to each individual client, the causes, manifestations of the conditions, and impacts upon each client’s life are all very individualistic. Therefore, treatments will involve a thorough examination specific to each client.

Let's define and distinguish the ideas of confidence and self-esteem. Confidence deals with specific abilities or qualities in one's life. Self-esteem, though, is more of an overall sense or feeling about oneself. One who is low on confidence lacks self-assurance in a personal ability or quality. One who is low in self-esteem has a low overall feeling of self-worth or self-value. An individual may have an overall positive self-value, but may lack confidence in specific areas. For example, a high school student may be a star athlete on the field or court, but that student may suffer greatly in confidence when asked to read out loud, give a speech, or take a test. She may not lack the intellectual skills to perform well; she is simply lacking in confidence. The individual dealing with low self-esteem is generally impacted, to some extent, in all areas of life because she feels unworthy.

Confidence and self-esteem also impact lives in different ways. Lack of confidence stunts personal development. For instance, with our athlete example, although she may excel in sports and reap the rewards, she is limited by poor grades or by avoiding opportunities she may otherwise have. Ultimately, it might limit her choice of avocations. Of course, every one of these lost opportunities or avoided activities will impact her personal development. Low self-esteem can have an even more pervasive and damaging effect upon an individual. Since low self-esteem is considered a personality trait, it becomes practically a permanent aspect of a person's entire life. Thinking poorly of themselves, they may become socially reclusive, become depressed, develop social phobias, and even turn to alcohol or drugs to mask their insecurities.  

The causes of these conditions may start fairly early.  Events and relationships during early developmental stages may be the cause, or, as happens in so many cases with confidence and self-esteem issues, relationships and events during those early critical years in school. A therapist will determine early in the hypnotherapy sessions whether or not the exploration of causes is necessary. Generally, hypnotherapy is a forward-looking exercise. In other words, regardless of the cause of the lack of confidence or the low self-esteem, hypnotherapy will deal with future behaviors and feelings. However, having at least a general sense of the facts that initiated the conditions will be important.

The hypnotherapist will also be interested in the daily impact the low confidence or poor self-worth is having in the client's life. These facts are important because the therapist is always concerned with producing practical and immediate impacts on daily activities and attitudes. Once an inventory is taken of these various causes and manifestations of the condition, the hypnotherapist will work with a client to develop a plan that will be used both during the sessions of hypnosis and in real-world applications. As part of the hypnotherapy sessions, the client will spend short periods of time in hypnosis, time in which the plan will be implemented. This implementation involves taking the specific goals established in the therapeutic plan, and providing them to the client’s Middle Mind, or subconscious, in such a way that the client’s mind, the hero of every hypnotherapy story, goes to work doing a mental makeover. The hypnotherapist will take steps to strengthen the ego of the client in order to increase the his optimism, coping skills, energy, and positive self-talk.

When I was first introduced to hypnotherapy as a client for weight loss, my hypnotherapist helped me develop anchors for confidence that I use to this day, not only when dealing with eating issues, but also as I deal with other areas of life. With low confidence or low self-esteem, using anchors will give the client valuable tools for daily living.

One of the exciting elements for hypnotherapists who work with clients suffering from low self-confidence or diminished self-esteem is knowing that these clients will have futures that includes more joy and personal growth.  Hypnotherapy changes lives.