Concerns about self-image or self-esteem are quite common and drive many people into psychotherapy.
From a Cognitive-Behavioral perspective, your relationship with your sense of self is developed through conditioning processes- countless interactions between you, others, and the world through the course of your life that have shaped the reflexive views that you hold of yourself. This insight provides a vital direction for you if you struggle with your self-image: to learn how to recognize these ‘mental reflexes’ while expanding your perspective beyond them and also developing healthier ones. This is what I will teach you to do in therapy.
HOW DO YOU RELATE TO YOURSELF?
In the search for self-acceptance, it is crucial for you to learn how to befriend yourself, and even your self-critical tendencies- to regard and treat yourself as you would others whom you respect, like or even love. If you find yourself unacceptable, then we may need to explore just how to cultivate a kinder relationship toward yourself. I can help you to do this by teaching you how to skillfully engage in practices that can expand and reform your awareness of your inner conflict.
A narrow self-image may lead you to regard yourself with excessive criticism, hostility, or even contempt. These kinds of interpretations are typically fixed, irrational and exaggerated, and often respond well to cognitive defusion exercises in which you will learn how to step back from and question your reflexive views of yourself, and therefore weaken them.
Although initially unfamiliar to the people with whom I work, the practice of cognitive defusion often brings substantial relief.
Mindfulness practices are another set of approaches that can help you to better tolerate your discomfort with yourself and to practice ‘stepping beyond’ your self-condemnations. In doing so, you will shift towards a greater present-focus, which can allow you to live more for your chosen values and less in conflict with your life. Overall, these changes can provide you with greater peace in seeing and dealing with yourself.
SELF IMAGE PROBLEMS THAT I ADDRESS INCLUDE:
- Low self-esteem
- Chronic sense of inadequacy or defectiveness
- Chronic guilt or shame
Do you need to improve your relationship with yourself but are not sure how?
I invite you to contact me for a free phone consultation to see if CBT can help you with your self-image.