Working on Self Esteem

by Dr. Linda Johnston, Clinical Psychologist

For anyone interested in beginning to work on improving their self esteem or sense of self, there are a number of excellent books available that you could use to read and begin working actively on changing aspects of yourself. Two very helpful books come to mind. The portion of “self” you feel needs improvement may be in the realm of the following six areas: Living consciously, Self-acceptance, Self-responsibility, Self-assertiveness, Living purposefully, and Personal integrity ; if so, consider reading “The Six Pillars of Self Esteem” by Nathaniel Branden. With exercises geared to each of these particular pillars, Brandon’s book allows you to choose which parts of Self you wish to work on. In contrast, other books focus on addressing self esteem from different approaches.

In the seventh edition of “Self Esteem”, authors McKay and Fanning focus on individuals who are self-critical, who have a litany of negative, judgmental, critical things they are telling themselves about themselves regularly. This classic and helpful book includes chapters on cognitive distortions and on the development of a fair self description. If you recognize that you have a lot of self-criticism and negative self-talk going on in your mind, this book can be very helpful.

So if you are beginning to work on your self-esteem, look at the resources available to determine if a book might be helpful. And of course, we are available for consultation or treatment as psychologists; come in for a session or two to further focus your work or come in for treatment if you need more specific help, if your learning style is not from books, or if you’ve gone as far as you can on your own.