Individual therapy is a deeper exploration into the strengths, vulnerabilities, insecurities, and dilemmas people feel. Low self-esteem or insufficient information about one's self and inadequate information of effective communication principles can lead to feelings of confusion, helplessness, and incompetence.
Problems are normal and usually cause anxiety. I listen for how people understand their own dilemmas and how, either by lack of information or by low self-esteem, people exercise strategies that too often backfire. We are a team. I reflect what I hear. By helping clarify murky, sometimes subconscious beliefs and fears I can shed understanding light on current distresses. I explain principles and skills that might better relieve anxiety. I coach and support people to build more tolerance for emotional distress while exercising more savvy with communication. I work sensitively. With my focus towards self-acceptance, self-compassion, and fostering a strong central self, we develop effective and realistic strategies for communication, especially in the context of conflict.
Individual counseling issues:
There are as many issues as there are people. Issues might include confusion, feeling stuck, depression, anxiety, anger, grief, compulsions, traumas, relationship problems, isolation, or problems with self-esteem. I help people to look for, and give voice to parts of themselves that are murky or unexpressed, yet significantly influence the individual's sense of self and how they react to and communicate with others.
I help people clarify their perceptual network--what they sense others are saying and meaning. Our goals can be a combination of pragmatic structural decisions, communication and negotiation skills, and, changes in the person's inner emotional and self-esteem world.
Fear is Self Protection in Action:
By shedding light on fears we clarify the protective purposes of the fears. We examine whether the original reasons for the protective strategies still apply today. Self-protective strategies that developed in childhood will often be limited in scope. They can be automatic and intense. Emotions do not know time. Fears can cause reactions today just like they did years ago. Can newer, more updated, and more realistic views and knowledge change the purpose or the need for the fears?
If you suffer from continually feeling inadequate, unworthy, unlovable, unacceptable, or incompetent, you are experiencing low self-esteem. Low self-esteem develops in childhood. It is the outcome of false beliefs about yourself to explain why you experienced distress and discord in your early years. Low self-esteem sufferers believe there is something fundamentally defective about themselves. Usually the negative ideas come from parents, siblings, or other caregivers. Sometimes, in an attempt to understand themselves and others, children invent ideas about themselves that negatively define their worth and feelings of adequacy. Often it is a combination of both externally and internally originating negative beliefs that form the core basis of low self-esteem.
There are four fundamental fears associated with low self-esteem:
- Fear of making a mistake or saying/doing something that is wrong.
- Fear of revealing one's inadequacies which could result in disapproval, criticism, rejection, or blame.
- Fear of losing what one has; fear that success cannot be sustained; fear of abandonment.
- Fear of re-experiencing feelings of humiliation, depression, devastation, or despair which might ignite a self-esteem attack.
Low-esteem sufferers experience self-esteem attacks. During a self-esteem attack a person is overwhelmed by fear and shame. Many distressing feelings, thoughts, and behaviors emanate from low self-esteem. A partial list includes; depression, anxiety, mood swings,and anger. Behaviors can include those that violate others such as lying, controlling behavior, manipulation, passivity, avoidance, unbridled emotional expression, and bullying.
Treatment focuses on low self-esteem as originating from primary misunderstandings about suffering and hurt. It is the negative beliefs (often unconscious), attached to fears that produce the horrible feelings and motivate people to behave in ways they often regret. In our work together, the untrue beliefs are replaced by truthful, realistic, and accurate beliefs that correctly define one's self as lovable.