Help techniques in counseling teens with low self-esteem

woman in solutude and depression image by Allen Penton from

Self-esteem -- your perception of your worthiness -- develops during your early childhood years and can have an enormous effect on you even into your late adult years. Low self-esteem can become a vicious cycle and can result in depression, loneliness, a lack of close relationships and even suicide. Since low self-esteem is such a difficult and deep-rooted issue, overcoming it may be difficult, but it is possible. There are many help and counselling techniques available for teens with low self-esteem.

Identify the Cause

In order to fix the problem, you first must identify the problem. What is it that causes some teens to have low self-esteem? It is often necessary to examine the teen's childhood in order to answer this question. Much of our self-image is developed at an extremely early age. Our initial relationships -- most specifically, with our parents -- especially influence our self-image. Were the parents neglectful, overly critical or abusive? These factors very frequently lead to low self-esteem. What about the relationships of the teen? Does the teen have many close relationships, or mostly just acquaintances? Loneliness or feeling isolated can also lead to low self-esteem.


Low self-esteem is an extremely deep-rooted, long-standing issue. Its development is very early on and therefore your self-image is something that tends to be very prevalent over time. Psychotherapy may be the best form of help for a teen with low self-esteem. A trained professional psychotherapist understands how to identify the underlying factors and which of the various counselling techniques should be implemented.

Think Positive Thoughts

Thinking positive thoughts: it might sound a little ridiculous, but it really is true that one negative thought perpetuates more negative thoughts, and one positive thought can turn it all around. When you have a negative thought about yourself, there are two things that you can do. First of all, either say out loud or in your head: "Stop!" The idea is to make you aware of your negative thought so that you can consciously decide to avoid that negative thought. The other option is the rubber band method. Wear a rubber band around your wrist and when you have a negative thought, lightly snap the band against your wrist. This is not meant to be self-destructive or overly painful. It is a well-received conditioning technique which helps you to realise when you are having a negative thought and avoid having that same negative thought in the future.

Get Involved

Doing things that we love or excel at helps to improve how we see ourselves. Write down a list of things that you enjoy -- hobbies or activities. Then, determine a few ways that you can get involved in these activities with other people. Teens generally have a great number of options for extra-curricular activities, such as joining a sports team, joining clubs in school or volunteering for a local charity organisation. Whatever it is that you choose, make sure that it is something that you enjoy. The more you enjoy yourself, the better you will feel, and the more likely you will be to meet and develop close relationships with people who are interested in the same things as you.

Other Tips

  1. Realise that when you make a mistake, this is not a reflection of YOU or your worth. Brush it off -- everyone makes mistakes!

  2. Exercise. Getting into an exercise routine is beneficial for both your mind and body.

  3. Realise that perfection is an unrealistic goal. Allow yourself to be proud of your accomplishments.

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