Self esteem and identity development in therapy
When I first began working with clients as a therapist, I was so struck by the stories each client had to share. As an avid reader, it dawned on me that each client comes to therapy with their own narrative filled with main and minor characters, climaxes and plot twists, and it was my job to join this story in the middle and see where it would take us, as if we were living out one of those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, albeit with infinitely more options. I love this part of therapy, and it fills me with excitement and hope each time. In fact, neurobiological research has even found that having a coherent personal narrative is one of the essential parts of healing. Certain elements can play an important role in filling in and completing the narratives that clients have to tell, so I’ll describe some of them below.
Identity Development and self esteem
Ever felt like you were going through an identity crisis? Or wonder “Who am I”? Like you don't know who you are anymore? Or, feel like you've lost yourself? Do you do what other people want you to do, without stopping to think about what's important to you?
I sure have! Multiple times, as a matter of fact. I think these sneaky little crises can pop up at different points throughout our lives—maybe as a twenty-something or thirty-something, maybe in middle age. Going through a life change or transition can also cause these questions to rear their heads.
Women’s self esteem and identity
I especially love working with women around struggles related to gender. These issues may also encompass identity, self esteem, family or gender roles, and self-awareness. I think we receive a lot of messages in our society about what women should and shouldn't be, not to mention a ton of conflicting and unrelenting expectations! Add in the values you learned from your family or broader culture, and things get even more confusing.
Therapy can be a place where we begin untangling this web together to help you create a life that is honest and true to who you are, whether it pleases everyone else or not.
Do you feel stuck? Are you wondering why you keep making the same mistakes? Feel like the family you grew up in might (or definitely) has something to do with why you keep acting this way? Do you just want to figure out what the heck is going on?
Several psychological theories point to insight and self-awareness as the first steps toward healing. Frequently, this increased desire to understand oneself arises for twenty- or thirty-somethings, but it can also come up at any point in life. Sometimes gaining such insight involves delving into the present moment, and sometimes that awareness stems from deeply exploring our pasts, including how our family, friends, community, culture, etc. may have shaped us. I believe strongly that the more we understand who we are, how we got to be this way and why we do the things we do, the more we can play an active part in keeping the parts we like, altering those that don’t quite fit us and altogether changing the parts we can’t stand.
building self esteem and understanding in therapy
I've been through identity crises too, and I’ve sought to understand myself and the how and why of who I am and what I do. Consequently, I love working with clients on these kinds of issues. The good news is --there's so much hope! You don't have to keep living this way—feeling stuck, confused, overwhelmed, uncertain, maybe even anxious or depressed.
In counseling, we can work together to unfold the story of who you are and to explore who you've become and begin developing our stories. We can support you in building your self esteem in therapy. As you start to understand yourself better and to recognize those pesky tendencies or patterns that cause problems, you can take charge of your life and begin setting goals, practicing new skills and making active, involved choices about the path you want your life to take starting right now, today.