Almost every counseling situation I have been involved in has had an element of self esteemcounseling in it.What I mean by that is that clients are struggling with a concern that they do not have the tools tohandle a particular external sitution, and for those folks, self esteem counseling begins withteaching them first where their reality exists, which is inside their heads, in the interpretationsand feelings generated after sensory perceptions.For those already aware of their feelings and cognitions, I begin to teach a model which allowsthem to challenge their thoughts.I usually start by asking them to imagine the best possible outcome, and stating their feelings asthey imagine that outcome.And then I tell them to change that thought to the worst possible outcome, and again state their feelings, and clients usually begin to get a glimmer that thoughts bring feelings, and thosethoughts exist inside themselves only, since they are in my office and not actively engaged inany activity related to the problem.So now we are stearing ourselves down the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) path whichinvolves challenging thoughts,particularly automatic negative thoughts.
But What is Self Esteem?
From the ERIC Digest."WHAT IS SELF-ESTEEM?Definitions of self-esteem vary considerably in both their breadth and psychologicalsophistication. From an intuitive sense we know that high self-esteem means that we appreciateourselves and our inherent worth. More specifically, it means we have a positive attitude, weevaluate ourselves highly, we are convinced of our own abilities and we see ourselves ascompetent and powerful-in control of our own lives and able to do what we want. In addition, wecompare ourselves favorably with others. We also know what it means to experience diminishedself-esteem--self-depreciation, helplessness, powerlessness and depression (Mecca, Smelser &Vasconcellos, 1989).It also may help us in better understanding self-esteem to differentiate self-concept from self-esteem. Self-concept is the totality of a complex, organized and dynamic system of learnedbeliefs, attitudes and opinions that each person holds to be true about his or her personalexistence (Purkey, 1988). Self-esteem is focused upon feelings of personal worth and the level of satisfaction regarding one's self. Another approach to defining self-esteem is to identify the