Montreal Psychologists Network

A therapy to increase self-esteem


Increasing one's self-esteem


We often hear about the benefits of increasing self-esteem. But in fact, what does it represent and how to define this concept?

What is self-esteem?


It's the feeling or belief of having value as a person. It is feeling that we deserve respect, success and happiness. This concept is a close cousin of self-confidence, linked to the feeling of being able to do things.


The feeling of being a valued person is influenced by a variety of factors, starting with genetic predispositions. The education we have received and the experiences we have had will also affect the development of self-esteem.


For one person or the other, self-esteem is more or less developed. In extreme cases, (ie undervaluation or overvaluation of oneself), can have significant consequences in life. In order to help the people with low self-esteem, therapy is a solution to increase it and to adopt a more constructive attitude towards oneself.


Increasing self-esteem often goes in pair with developing psychological well-being.

Why increase your self-esteem?

Self-esteem is associated with well-being. Scientific studies show that self-esteem can prevent certain disorders such as depression . or anxiety 3 and helps reduce some of the unpleasant or violent 3 behaviors. The benefits of self-esteem do not stop only at improving the mental health of the individual. It also contributes to improving the day-to-day life, especially in terms of working conditions 4 and the creation of a social network supporting 5 . In addition, self-esteem among young adults is associated with the development of lasting 6 relationships.             

Thus, the reasons to increase one's self-esteem are not lacking and a therapist can help you achieve this during an individual psychotherapy.

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How does self-esteem develop?

Self-esteem evolves throughout an individual's life and can develop in different ways. The factors influencing the development of self-esteem can be divided into two groups: external factors and internal factors.


External factors are those outside the individual: his or her environment, relationships or experiences. These are factors over which the person has no control. In contrast, internal factors are those that are influenced by the individual. It can be his or her thoughts, emotions, values, etc.

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External factors related to developing good self-esteem


The experiences in childhood, in the family and at school, are surely the most important external factors in the early development of self-esteem. That's when united parents (blog article; in French) (or at least cooperative) can provide emotional support. All these external behaviors will allow the child to develop the conviction that he is valuable, that he or she deserves to be loved and respected 7.

School experiences, whether academic success, acceptance of others, or success in extracurricular activity, are influenced by the child's sense of self-esteem. And subsequently, these successes can increase self-esteem further on 8. With adolescence, positive experiences, especially in love, are added to the external factors that can influence a good esteem.


There are articles that suggest programs that promote the development and maintenance of a strong self-esteem so that the child benefits from all the benefits it provides.


But what can be done, once an adult, when the education received or life experiences have not allowed to acquire a self-esteem sufficient to see the benefits?

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Increase self-esteem through internal factors


Although self-esteem is generally stable over time in adulthood, it can be improved 9,10.                Indeed, since this concept is defined as the conviction of having value, it is possible to "build" this conviction. To achieve this, Nathaniel Branden, a pioneer in the development and promotion of the concept of self-esteem, proposes to base his life on six principles or pillars:

  1. The Practice of Living Consciously
  2. The Practice of Self-Acceptance
  3. The Practice of Self-Responsibility
  4. The Practice of Self-Assertiveness
  5. The Practice of Living Purposefully
  6. The Practice of Personal Integrity

These principles are usually the tenets of individual psychotherapy . During therapy, the client is led to explore his or her past and present, to see and understand him- or herself other more.

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Increase self-esteem through psychotherapy


Through a therapeutic relationship marked by empathy, the client can come to better accept him- or herself, an essential condition to really take one's responsibilities and assume one's autonomy and authenticity. This sense of responsibility can come with a greater capacity to affirm with conviction who one is and what one believes in (assertion of oneself and one's values).             


The development of self-awareness also allows us to discover what are the goals that are meaningful and that allow us to make choices and direct our actions towards fulfilling our desires. Finally, awareness of oneself, of one's convictions and desires enables one to align one's behavior with that consciousness, in order to respect a certain personal integrity.             


Thus, psychotherapy can be an extraordinary vector for developing a healthy and robust self-esteem. If you want to start a therapy to increase your self-esteem, do not hesitate to contact Montreal Psychologists Network . All our professionals have the necessary skills to accompany you so that you find an inner well-being.

Cited Opus

  1. Orth, U., Robins, R.W., Trzesniewski, K.H., Maes, J., & Schmitt, M. (2009). Low self-esteem is a risk factor for depressive symptoms from young adulthood to old age. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 118, 472-478. doi: 10.1037/a0015922
  2. Sowislo, J.F., & Orth, U. (2013). Does low self-esteem predict depression and anxiety? A meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Psychological Bulletin, 139, 213-240. doi: 10.1037/a0028931
  3. Boden, J.M., Fergusson. D.M., & Horwood, L.J. (2007). Self-esteem and violence: testing links between adolescent self-esteem and later hostility and violent behavior. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 42, 881-891. doi: 10.1007/s00127-007-0251-7
  4. Kuster, F., Orth, U., & Meier, L.L. (2013). High self-esteem prospectively predicts better work conditions and outcomes. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4, 668-675. doi: 10.1177/1948550613479806
  5. Marshall, S.L., Parker, P.D., Ciarrochi, J., & Heaven, P.C.L. (2014). Is self-esteem a cause or consequence of social support? A 4-year longitudinal study. Child Development, 85, 1275-1291. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12176.
  6. Luciano, E.C., & Orth, U. (2017). Transitions in romantic relationships and development of self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 112, 307-328. doi: 10.1037/pspp0000109
  7. Harris, M.A., Donnellan, M.B., Guo, J., McAdams, D.P., Garnier-Villarreal, M., Trzesniewski, K.H. (2017). Parental co-construction of 5- to 13-year-olds' global self-esteem through reminiscing about past events. Child Development, 88, 1810-1822. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12944
  8. David A. Cole, D.A., Maxwell, S.E., Martin, J.M., Peeke, L.G., Seroczynski, A.D., Tram, J.M., Hoffman, K.B., Ruiz, M.D., Jacquez, F., & Maschman, T. The development of multiple domains of child and adolescent self-concept: a cohort sequential longitudinal design. Child Development, 72, 1723–1746. doi: 10.1111/1467-8624.00375
  9. Branden, N. (1995). Six pillars of self-esteem. Bantam:New York, NY.
  10. Jacoby, M. (1996). Shame and the origins of self-esteem: A jungian approach. Routledge:New York, NY.