Self Esteem We help our clients regain a sense of self -worth that is genuinely positive. We help clients change self defeating attitudes by helping them create and own successes that are in their own healthy self interst. Helping our clients deal with life challenges
ENHANCING AND REPAIRING SELF ESTEEM
The issue of both repairing damaged self-esteem as well as enhancing one’s esteem strengths is really a lifelong process, even for the most well-adjusted of us. As a therapist with 35 years of experience helping people feel better about themselves by writing a new life script to change the course of their life, Dr. Paul Standal knows it requires several important steps to restore and enhance self-esteem.
First is the willingness to come to terms with the reality of their early life, whatever it gave them or lacked. Acknowledgement of one’s early experiences is essential as a first step in enhancing self-worth.
Clients must allow themselves the freedom and self-acceptance to authentically express their feelings. Since real feelings were suppressed, it is a key stage of healing to allow oneself to feel, identify, label and fully express the primary feelings associated with their past. In most cases the surface feelings can be anger, but, below the surface, clients find the hurt and fear associated with their past. The courage to allow themselves to do this helps them loosen the straight jacket of maladaptive conditions of worth that had held them hostage.
For many, overcoming the ravages of an early traumatic life can never really be healed without letting go of the ongoing need for love and approval of the parents that has kept them feeling not good enough. It is like a mouse going down the labyrinth to get the cheese that is never quite there as they imagine it should be, but continues to go back and back without getting what it needs. It smells the “cheese,” but it never materializes.
Dr. Standal encourages and coaches his clients to identify behaviors that are in their “healthy self-interest” that are not selfish, but, rather, designed to enhance and solidify their self-worth. He also encourages his clients in “legislating wins” for themselves. In other words, choosing a goal and then persevering to its conclusion. An example of a goal might be to run a half marathon or take a class at the community college. At every stage of the process of preparation, Dr. Standal coaches and celebrates their wins. Allowing oneself the ownership of these feelings of accomplishment is a fundamental way of raising self-esteem.
An important step in raising one’s self-esteem is the redefining of past experience. It is true that traumatic experiences of the past happened. We cannot change the past. But what we can do is to see these experiences with new eyes and to be able to define them in a way that makes more sense to us and takes us “off the hook.” It is only when they are truly able to let go of their past that their self-esteem can change.
Dr. Standal helps his patients write a new script through self-awareness, new choices and new behavior. Redefining their life experiences as having done it right, that “they did it the only way they knew how,” is an example of redefining one’s life experience. He helps clients see that they worked with the information that they had at the time, but that they are accountable in a different way now as adults. He encourages his clients to process different information in a manner that they see that they have new personal choices and options. Assisting his clients in regaining their own voice and control in their world helps them reduce reasons or motives for their anger and self-destructive or other destructive behaviors.
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