Counselling for Low Self-esteem & Lack of Confidence in London and Online
We all sometimes feel insecure and unconfident. We may feel like all the other people are somehow better and that we are intrinsically bad. Low self-esteem is often an essential aspect of numerous psychological issues such as anxiety or depression. It’s a common symptom that can appear in various contexts, and no one is immune to it.
Low self-esteem is synonymous with lack of self-confidence. These expressions describe the feelings of low self-worth associated with shame and guilt. We feel ashamed for some of the bad things we did in the past. But very often, we’re too harsh with, and unreasonably undervalue, ourselves.
Self-esteem treatment helps you interpret and understand low self-esteem and find practical solutions across various situations – for example, by becoming more assertive with your managers and family. Self-esteem therapies like CBT effect a broad behavioural change, in a relatively short time, by helping you tackle unhelpful beliefs and coping related to low self-worth.
You can find a therapist to help you treat lack of self-confidence here at Therapy Central. Contact us for a free 15-minute consultation, and we’ll see how we can work together to improve your well-being.
COVID-19 notice: Online Therapy & Counselling now offered for continued care
Discover Low Self-esteem & Lack of Confidence
What is Self-Esteem?
It is a psychological state characterised by feelings of satisfaction and happiness with yourself. We feel confident when our deeds correspond to our values and goals. Self-esteem provides a solid basis for having a stable and productive life. However, having a productive and, in appearance, successful life doesn’t necessarily mean you have solid self-confidence. Even very successful individuals have low self-esteem – numerous celebrities, for instance, suffer from low self-esteem despite all the fame and wealth.
It’s also possible to have, at least apparently, too much self-esteem, which is often the case with narcissism. Still, in this article, we’ll focus on low self-confidence and its consequences.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Lack of Self-Confidence?
Low self-esteem often manifests as:
- Obsessive thoughts and doubts about one’s lack of worth
- Intense guilt about minor mishaps and mistakes
- Feeling ashamed for what you are
- Overcriticising yourself
- Being overly preoccupied with what others think about you
- Having a negative self-image (Lack of body confidence)
Frequently lack of self-esteem comes in the form of unpleasant intrusive thoughts that simply don’t seem to go away. For example, you might be trying hard to fall asleep because you have to work the next day. Still, your mind is constantly returning to the fact that you made a mistake at work, even if minor. You may also tend to exaggerate minor personal flaws and overgeneralise. For instance, if you lack self-confidence, you’re more likely to misinterpret social situations (“Why is she looking at me that way? Do I look silly? Does everyone think I’m silly?”). You might be more critical about ordinary mishaps – missing a date, not being able to be kind to all your friends, being rejected by a potential partner, to mention only a few.
Lack of Self-Confidence and Anxiety
Several people who suffer from anxiety disorders can become too harsh on themselves, further lowering their self-esteem as a response to their anxiety issues.
For instance, if you suffer from Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), you might experience yourself as someone who is simply worse than others due to this diagnosis. It can be challenging also for OCD sufferers. Low self-esteem can provide fuel for obsessions. It’s not uncommon for people who suffer from OCD to experience intrusive thoughts relating to embarrassing memories. For example, constantly thinking about that one time when everyone laughed at you in high school or remembering a particularly unpleasant oral exam when your mind simply went blank.
Panic Disorder involves a belief that you are losing control and that you cannot get yourself out of a very unpleasant situation – this is not entirely the same as low self-esteem. Still, these two feelings are related. It is not uncommon for panic attacks to be characterised by extremely low self-confidence.
Social anxiety and lack of self-confidence very often occur together – this is when a person, on the one hand, has a negative self-image, while on the other, there’s intense anxiety about what other people think.
Low Self-Esteem and Narcissism
This may seem a bit contradictory, but narcissism indeed has two faces – one grandiose and the other vulnerable. It’s not unusual for narcissists to struggle with feelings of worthlessness, which are then overcompensated using arrogance, envy, and lack of empathy. These are known as more straightforward signs of narcissism.
Low Self-Esteem and Depression
Feeling worthless is one of the 9 main symptoms of depression. However, according to the DSM , depression can be diagnosed whenever 5 of the main 9 symptoms are present. In other words, while low mood can and does often include lack of self-confidence, having low self-esteem does not automatically mean you have depression.
Lack of self-confidence within depression can be related to other symptoms of low mood, such as the inability to stay focussed or concentrate. If you experience so-called “brain fog”, it’s just one step further to start feeling bad and ashamed about the very fact that you experience specific cognitive issues. Moreover, symptoms of depression such as brain fog (and any other signs of depression) may form a vicious circle with low self-esteem – feeling bad about your attention difficulties – worsening attentional problems due to low self-esteem – even lower self-esteem, and so on.
This brings us to our next topic:
How is Low Self-Esteem Maintained?
Lack of self-confidence maintains itself because it takes away energy and motivation from you, robbing you of the chance to see that you actually are worthy, just like everyone else, and that you’re not really a worse person than most other people.
It’s a vicious cycle or self-fulfilling prophecy. Because you think that others are better than you, you are constantly finding proof of this fallacious hypothesis. By changing this initial hypothesis, you will really start improving your well-being and becoming a more rational, thoughtful, and self-respective individual – this is the essence of CBT for self-esteem.
What Causes Lack of Self-Confidence?
There are two main groups of causes:
Early development is essential for the establishment of solid personality foundations. Children who grew up in dysfunctional families often develop low self-esteem because they weren’t given a chance to establish healthy bonds with people. Due to a lack of care, acceptance, validation and understanding, it’s easy to develop a negative self-view.
Fortunately, we can work with these early experiences in therapy and reinterpret them in more valuable ways. We can focus on how they can help us inform the present and the future in a way our light can finally shine.
Subsequent life events and environment
Changes in our lives can disrupt our psychological stability. Even when there are no extreme events (e.g. death of a loved one, violence, war, extreme poverty), normal development brings numerous challenges that can sometimes shake your self-esteem. Adolescence can be very stressful, and many adolescents feel insecure and unsure about their place in the world.
In adulthood, trying to keep up with professional and personal obligations (i.e. family) gets tricky at certain points. This is when you are more at risk of feeling insecure and for your self-confidence to plummet. On the other hand, older people might be more prone to feeling insecure about the physical and psychological struggles related to ageing.
Not all people who grew up in good-enough families will develop solid self-esteem. Although not the only cause of low self-esteem, genetic factors can play an important role here. Some people are simply more likely to feel more worthless than others, and genetics explain a portion of this variance .
Luckily, even people with a strong family background of depression and low self-esteem can work on their issues and become more assertive and self-confident. Personality traits are partially determined by genetics. One of them, neuroticism, acts as a predisposition for developing numerous psychological problems, including low self-worth.
When Should I get Counselling for Low Self-Esteem?
It’s one thing to feel somewhat bad about some of the mistakes you’ve made in the past, but when you start making harsh generalisations about your personal value as a response to minor mishaps (e.g. failing an exam; being criticised by your boss), it might be time to seek professional help. If you feel that your low self-worth, heightened self-criticism, or lack of confidence has started affecting your ability to enjoy work, relationships and even leisure time, this is an important signal that you should seek professional help.
Does Counselling Work for Lack of Self-Confidence?
We can treat low self-esteem in numerous ways. Various institutions and scientific organisations, such as the NHS , reassure us that lack of self-confidence can be successfully treated.
At Therapy Central, we combine different schools of psychotherapy to provide comprehensive and efficient counselling for low self-esteem. Our therapists are trained in CBT, third-wave therapies (for example, mindfulness-based approaches), psychodynamic therapy, and person-centred therapy, which can give you an opportunity to tackle your issues from different perspectives.
What’s the Best Therapy Approach for Dealing with Low Self-Esteem?
Although many treatment approaches can help you deal with low self-esteem, CBT has the most research behind it, being the primary choice of therapy recommended by the NHS .
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, as the name says, focuses on your cognitions – your thoughts and beliefs about yourself, others, and the world. Together with your therapist, you’ll use cognitive techniques (such as cognitive restructuring) to challenge your negative self-beliefs – finding logical, empirical, and pragmatic evidence that go in favour of a healthier personal belief (“I am not intrinsically bad.”) and against too negative beliefs (“I am inherently bad”). You will work together to break the vicious cycle of low self-esteem, maintained by holding on to and feeding negative personal beliefs.
Generally speaking, CBT and third-wave approaches such as DBT, ACT (and more) will help you address your low self-worth in various contexts. For instance, lack of confidence at work can be alleviated with the help of assertiveness training – learning how to say “no” without feeling guilty or threatened, communicating your desires and attitudes effectively, and solving conflicts effectively.Other times lack of self-confidence is more about performance anxiety, affecting even high-performing professionals such as pro sportspeople. This is when numerous relaxation exercises such as mindful breathing can be beneficial, coupled with the tackling of unhelpful behaviours and beliefs (e.g. “If I don’t deliver a perfect performance, others will laugh at me.” or “It is unbearable if some people think that my performance is poor.”) that are tied to performance anxiety.
What are the Benefits of Low Self-Esteem Counselling?
Therapy for low self-esteem can help improve your well-being in numerous ways:
- Finally feeling “at peace” with yourself
- No more obsessive thoughts about your perceived lack of personal value
- Greater emotional stability
- Increased motivation and productiveness
- Better interpersonal relationships
- Becoming more objective, realistic, and compassionate about your and others’ mistakes
- Improved career prospects
- Less frequent and intense anxiety and low mood
How Long does Treatment for Low-Self Esteem Last?
According to the NHS , the length of counselling, in general, varies quite a lot – 14 sessions, in general, are often enough to help you feel better. However, you may start seeing significant improvements even after just 6 or 7 sessions.
The same is true about counselling for lack of self-confidence, especially when it’s more of an isolated issue. However, therapy will probably have to be somewhat longer when low self-worth is a part of more pervasive psychological issues, such as depression, anxiety or a personality disorder. Extremely low self-esteem, which is often at the essence of intense depressive episodes, can only be tackled by a comprehensive depression counselling plan that might span over several months.
Does Online Therapy work for Lack of Self-Confidence?
As we are accumulating more and more data about the effectiveness of online therapy, we have solid evidence that online therapy, such as online CBT, is an effective approach in treating psychological issues . More specifically, online therapy can effectively treat low self-worth – whether as a sole treatment or in combination with more traditional in-person therapy.
Tips to get you Started Managing Low Self-Esteem
There are many things you can do to start feeling better even before starting therapy:
- Writing down all the things you’re good at (skills, abilities, knowledge)
- Keeping a daily diary listing the activities that made you feel good about yourself
- Listing all your good qualities as they are perceived by your friends/family
- Having a healthy lifestyle (good diet, enough sleep, exercise)
- Challenging yourself from time to time
However, keep in mind that these self-help tips cannot really replace therapy.
Our Therapists Specialised in Low-Self Esteem
All of our therapists are qualified psychologists, psychotherapists or counsellors registered with several professional bodies. These include the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), the British Psychological Society (BPS), as well as BACP, UKCP and BABCP.
Our therapists use CBT-I (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for insomnia) to help address the underlying causes of your sleep problems and offer practical tools to improve the quality of sleep and your overall quality of life.
Get professional help and Sleep Therapy in London or Online today. Contact us for a free 15 min consultation with an expert therapist to see if our help would fit your needs.
The Therapist l had was absolutely brilliant with me. He had patience with me and bit by bit l gained a little of confidence to try and get out and go on the buses.
He deserves an award and if l could l would in the beginning l thought how is this person going to get me back on public transport but he did he gave me the confidence l lost and now have back.
I will never forget him and what he has done for me. I wish him nothing but the best in his life.
My therapist was excellent. I highly recommend her and I am truly thankful for my sessions, I left feeling confident and positive.
The mental tools, systems and approaches I have been able to develop with her and use in my life have been hugely beneficial.
Thank you to all at Therapy Central.
The Therapist really gave me the space to talk and express my feelings and fears in a very comforting environment.
She was there not only to listen, but challenge my thinking, guide me during the uncertainty I was experiencing and give me useful and practical tips to improve my mental health and wellbeing. Highly recommended!
Working with the therapist has been a life-changing experience. Each session has been invaluable, helping me gain a good understanding of CBT methodology enabling me to incorporate ways to combat stress and anxiety in my daily life.
The Therapist shows that she really cares and has the ability to make you feel calm whilst discussing any personal issue.
Fees & Insurances
Therapy, Counselling and CBT sessions are 50 minutes long and are usually held at regular weekly time slots.
15 Minute initial
£105 - £120
Your Private Healthcare Insurance Provider
Get started with Counselling for Low-Self Esteem in London & Online
Lack of self-confidence is sometimes an enemy of treatment because it might discourage you from finding help. While we know that it’s tough to start searching for help when you feel helpless and worthless, we also know that might be the right time to start.
Start breaking the vicious cycle of low self-esteem by reaching out to a professional.
Contact us for a free 15 min consultation to address low self-worth right now. Let’s start working on this issue together and help you uncover your real value. You can also get in touch via email at email@example.com or call us at (+44) 020 348 82797.
What happens after I make an enquiry?
After receiving your enquiry we’ll contact you to organise a FREE phone consultation. You will be able to tell us more about your specific circumstances and needs and ask any questions you have. Then, if you want to proceed with therapy or counselling, we’ll match you with the therapist(s) with the best expertise to help you with your challenges and send you a list of their available appointment slots. If you’re satisfied with one of these, we can then go ahead and book your first appointment. You can also request to work with a specific practitioner and, depending on availability we’ll try accomodate this.
What happens at my first appointment with the therapist?
Your first session will likely be different than future appointments. You and your therapist will get to know each other and will begin to build a working alliance. It will be a chance to have the confidential space to express your circumstances, feelings and thoughts and being listened to with depth, attention, empathy and without judgement . Your therapist will likely ask you more about your reasons for seeking therapy, and any symptoms you’re experiencing. You may also be asked questions about your past and the history of your issues, as well as how they currently impact your life in the present. Finally, your first session may be a powerful place to discuss what you would like to achieve with therapy and agree on the length, methods and approaches of treatment.
Is online therapy effective?
If you choose online over in-person therapy rest assured that this has been proven to be just as effective as regular face to face therapy, and in some cases even more effective. In addition, choosing online therapy brings additional benefits, for example avoiding longer waiting times, greater flexibility with appointments and you won’t need to travel to our practice. You can enjoy online therapy from the comfort of your home.
How long the Therapy/counselling sessions last?
Therapy/counselling sessions last 50 minutes and are held at regular weekly time slots. On occasions we are able to allow some flexibility. This can be discussed with your therapist.
Do you offer reduced rates/concessions?
We offer low-cost rates at £60 per session to people with a low income, unemployed or students. Please highlight in your enquiry if you would like a concession rate and how you qualify for this. Depending on the availability of our therapists, we’ll do our best to accommodate your request.
Do you have a cancellation policy?
We have a 48 hours no-fee cancellation policy. However you will be charged for sessions missed without giving the full notice.
Our Practice in Central London
Our comfortable and confidential therapy rooms are conveniently located 3 min walk from Oxford Circus station, in Central London (see map below). Change starts with Talking!
 NICE (2022) Diagnosis. Depression
 Davies, P., Pearson, J., Cicchetti, D., Martin, M., & Cummings, E. (2019). Emotional insecurity as a mediator of the moderating role of dopamine genes in the association between interparental conflict and youth externalising problems. Development and Psychopathology, 31(3), 1111-1126. doi:10.1017/S0954579419000634
 NHS (2022). Raising low self-esteem.
 NHS (2022). Overview – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
 NHS (2022). Counselling.
 Derek Richards, Ladislav Timulak & David Hevey (2013) A comparison of two online cognitive-behavioural interventions for symptoms of depression in a student population: The role of therapist responsiveness, Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 13:3, 184-193, DOI: 10.1080/14733145.2012.733715