Hypnotherapy for self-esteem

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Does hypnotherapy work for self-esteem?

Research data suggest hypnotherapy can be a powerful tool for overcoming negative self-talk. From improved feelings of self-worth, to reduced levels of depression, studies include:

  • In 2004, researchers examined the effects that self-hypnosis had on 261 U.S. military veterans who struggled with substance abuse. The group that had used self-hypnosis reported the higher levels of self-esteem and serenity.
  • A 2008 South African study looked at hypnosis for improving the self-perceptions of college students. The researchers concluded that hypnosis was effective at improving self-esteem.
  • A 2011 report on Clinical Hypnosis and Cognitive–Behaviour Therapy in the Treatment of a Young Woman with Anxiety, Depression, and Self-Esteem Issues, concluded, “An important aspect of successful treatment of depression and anxiety includes ego strengthening and the development of a stronger sense of self which again can be greatly enhanced through the use of clinical hypnosis.”
  • Results from a 2013 study examining the effect that hypnosis could have on patients’ post-surgery, in particular in pain management and for improving self-esteem, suggest that hypnosis could be a useful tool for improving self-esteem after surgery.

What are the benefits of using hypnotherapy to improve self-esteem?

Self-esteem is how you perceive yourself; what you think about yourself and how much you value yourself. Your self-esteem is made up of your thoughts and your opinions, often formed in our early years, about who you are and what you’re capable of. These beliefs dwell in your subconscious mind. Hypnotherapy is very effective at making changes to your subconscious mind, dealing with negative thoughts, changing limiting beliefs and creating more useful thinking styles.

Benefits of hypnotherapy:

  • allows access to subconscious processes
  • allows you to regress and change learnt beliefs and behaviours
  • allows access to creative solutions
  • reduces unhelpful automatic, subconscious processes
  • empowers you to manage your emotions
  • enables you to develop a better sense of self-efficacy
Self-Esteem: The School of Life

How does hypnotherapy work for low self-esteem?

Hypnotherapy improves self-esteem in various way, including:

Hypnosis makes changes to your subconscious mind.

Some people, think they are great at what they do, despite other people telling them otherwise. Some people, have low self-esteem despite constant reassurance from others. This is because your subconscious mind holds a set of beliefs about you and what you are capable of. These beliefs are difficult to change, reassurance from other people doesn’t work. You need to make changes to the beliefs about yourself and your abilities at the subconscious level, by using hypnosis and techniques that work at a subconscious level. Hypnotherapy can improve self-esteem. The beliefs that drive how you feel (low or high self-esteem), are in your subconscious, hypnotherapy makes changes to your subconscious mind; You can use hypnotherapy to build you self-esteem and confidence.

Dealing with negative thoughts.

Your inner voice can feel like your biggest critic, causing you to feel bad about yourself, your thoughts, or your actions. But it is possible to overcome your negative thoughts, no matter how deeply embedded they may seem. Hypnosis can help to change your subconscious mind and help you to yourself in a kinder light. As well as being able to help improve your self-esteem, hypnosis can help improve your confidence and self-belief around specific areas, such as in work or relationships, or to boost your confidence around a specific goal such as taking a driving test or giving a presentation.

Hypnosis can change limiting beliefs.

Hypnotherapy can help you recognize limiting beliefs about yourself, and change negative limited beliefs to positive beliefs, increasing your self-esteem. Including:

  • Beliefs about how you look (self-image)
  • Beliefs about your worth (self-worth)
  • Beliefs about how you feel about yourself (self-esteem)
  • Beliefs about your ability to carry out tasks and roles.

Hypnosis helps you face your fears.

When certain situations trigger fear and anxiety, we tend to avoid them. And that can negatively impact self-esteem. Hypnosis helps get to deal with and release your fears.

Hypnosis can help you to change unhelpful thinking habits.

We tend to develop unhelpful thinking habits such as being too self-critical. Once identified you become more aware of unhelpful thinking patterns. Enabling you to challenge/change/distance yourself from the unhelpful thoughts and see the situation in a more helpful way.

Self-esteem metaphor

Hypnotherapy techniques for self-esteem

Ego-strengthening suggestions (ego-boosting)

Focusing on positive aspects of yourself or your life can reduce stress and anxiety and improve confidence and self-esteem. Recalling things, you have achieved, focusing on challenges you’ve overcome and the skills you are developed.

Cognitive Reframing

Cognitive reframing is used so you’re able to look at a situation, person, or relationship from a slightly different perspective. It can be helpful if you are caught in a negative, limiting thought pattern.

The idea behind reframing is that the frame through which a person views a situation determines their point-of-view. When that frame is shifted, the meaning changes and thinking and behaviour often change along with it. Like the picture seen through the lens of a camera can be changed to a view that is closer or further away. By slightly changing what is seen in the camera, the picture and the story it suggests changes.


Being able to imagine how you want to be, how you want to feel about yourself, and how you want to think about yourself. As your mind mental rehearses the situation, it learns to make changes.

Future pacing

Instead of focusing on the problem (your low self-esteem, feelings of ‘not being good enough’) the focus is on the solution (how you will feel when you truly value yourself). You imagine how life would be when you like and value who you are.


When your self-esteem is poor, it can be difficult to be kind to yourself. Self-compassion is a practice of developing the habit of being kind to yourself.


Low self-esteem is often related to negative or traumatic past experiences. When these experiences are left unresolved, they can leave you with a distorted view of your value and how you are perceived.

Regression can be used to resolve distorted beliefs by revaluating negative and traumatic events from the past. When we locate the root cause of a problem or symptom and resolve it in the mind, it can resolve many issues all at the same time, at a very deep level.


When two separate events happen together enough number of times such that one of the events happening reminds you of the other, the events are said to be anchored in your mind. The classical conditioning of Pavlov’s dogs is the simplest and the most famous example of anchoring.

What is self-esteem

Self-esteem is how you value and perceive yourself; your opinions and beliefs about yourself, and how much you value yourself. Your self-esteem is made up of thoughts and opinions, often formed in your early years, about who you are and what you’re capable of. You can think of self-esteem as your assessment of your own worth.

The difference between self-esteem and self-confidence

Self-confidence and self-esteem are usually linked; however, they are not the same thing. Self-confidence refers to the way you feel about your ability to carry out tasks and roles. Self-esteem refers to the way you feel about yourself – the way you look, behave, and think.

Those with low self-esteem generally have low self-confidence too. However, you can have low self-esteem and have confidence in certain areas.

Having confidence in your abilities does not mean doing everything perfectly. A part of having self-confidence is knowing that you can make mistakes, and how to deal with problems when they occur.

How many hypnosis sessions are needed to treat low self-esteem?

The number of hypnotherapy sessions required for lasting change is different for everyone. Whilst Hypnotherapy is not a magic wand, it does help you create positive change in a relatively short period of time. How long it takes to see results from hypnotherapy can vary based your individual goals and personal circumstances. Typically for anxiety and stress related issues, a minimum of 4 – 8 sessions are required to benefit.

What happens in a hypnotherapy session for self-esteem?

All treatments and therapeutic sessions are centred on your needs at that time. Although individualised to you a typical course of hypnosis treatment for low self-esteem will often include an initial assessment, several hypnosis sessions, and follow-up and support.

During the initial assessment a person may be asked questions such as:

  • How does low self-esteem affect your life?
  • What do you think about yourself?
  • How would your life be different if you were more confident and self-assured?

Working together we will then set achievable goals and formulate a plan to improve your self-esteem.

During the sessions, you will be guided into a hypnotic trance, and several therapeutic techniques may be applied. Some session may not require hypnosis, depending on what we are working on at that time.

Chess piece metaphor

Symptoms of having low self-esteem

Symptoms of low self-esteem may include:


  • feeling worthless, unwanted, or unloved
  • believing you’re not good
  • fearing failure
  • feeling like you don’t belong
  • feeling that you don’t deserve your achievements
  • negative self-talk
  • feeling like you’re a burden
  • always doubting yourself


  • trying to please everyone
  • difficulty learning new skills
  • difficulty making new friends or increased dependency on existing friends
  • avoiding conflict
  • not speaking up, not asking for what you want
  • slumped/protective postures
  • limited eye contact
  • social withdraw
  • social anxiety

Types of self-esteem issues

Self-esteem issue can include:

  • Feeling of security. If you feel secure within your environment (family, friends, colleagues etc.) if you feel loved and your needs are met, your self-esteem develops. Low self-esteem can mean that you don’t feel secure in your environment.
  • Identity. Identity is how you perceive yourself. It can be divided into several parts, including physical; how you perceive your body/how you look (self-image, body image), social; How you get along with different people and groups and which groups you belong too.
  • Feeling of belonging. The various groups you belong to allow you to feel understood and know that there are people like you. We also define ourselves by belonging to different groups, by the relationships we have with other people: feeling like part of a group, feeling solidarity.
  • Feeling of competence. To feel competent, you need to have different experiences, to experience success and failure, and to learn new things. Success results in a feeling of achievement and pride that builds self-esteem and pushes you to try new challenges.
Funny Young Woman Hiding Hands

Is low self-esteem a mental health problem?

If you have low self-esteem it doesn’t mean you have a mental health problem in itself, but they are closely linked. If lots of things affect your self-esteem for a long time, this might lead to mental health problems (for example, anxiety or depression).

Some of the symptoms of low self-esteem can be signs of a mental health problem, particularly if they affect your day-to-day life or last for a long time. For example:

  • feeling hopeless, worthless or not good enough
  • unfairly blaming yourself
  • disliking yourself
  • worrying about failing

Having a mental health problem can also cause you to have low self-esteem.

Recognising low self esteem

If you suffer from low self-esteem you may experience:

Imposter Syndrome: Imposter syndrome is the experience of feeling like a phony—you feel like you don’t belong and worry that you are going to be found out as a fraud. It can affect anyone no matter their social status, work background, skill level, or degree of expertise.

Rebellion: Rebellion is where you pretend that you don’t care what others think of you.

Victimhood: Victimhood is believing that, no matter want you do you are helpless; a victim. You often rely on others to save or guide you and may use self-pity to avoid changing your situation.

Self-criticism can include negative self-talk reflecting how you feel about yourself, including believes such as:

  • There’s nothing I truly like about myself.
  • I’ll never succeed
  • I’m not worthy of enjoying myself
  • Other people are better, more deserving than me
  • Nobody would ever be interested in me
  • It’s all my fault – things that go wrong, go wrong because of me

Over time, negative thoughts can become a habit, and with repeating them so often you can see these believes as facts.

A good looking businessman maze

What causes low self-esteem

The things that affect self-esteem are different for everyone.

Self-esteem is how we perceive ourselves; what we think about ourselves and how much we value ourselves. Our self-esteem is made up of thoughts and opinions, often formed by our past experiences, both positive and negative, forming beliefs about who we are and what we’re capable of.

Low self-esteem can be caused early in life by having disapproving parents or caregivers. If your parents were highly critical and judgmental of you, then that can cause the thought that it doesn’t matter what you do, it won’t be good enough. Or it doesn’t matter how good you are, it won’t be noticed.

Trauma (physical, sexual, or emotional abuse) may also cause low self-esteem. Experiencing trauma can make it very hard to trust yourself or trust others, which lowers your self-esteem. People who suffer from the trauma of abuse often take on blame for the abuse even though isn’t their fault.

The way you think, thinking style, can make a big difference to self-esteem.

For example, someone who is quick to find anything that fits with negative ideas or beliefs about themselves, and disregards anything positive which would contradict the negative.

When you do this, you focus on what you do wrong, and ignore what you do right.

As well as the way you think and perceive things, the beliefs you hold about who you think you are affects your self-esteem.

Other experiences which can contribute to low self-esteem include:

  • losing your job or not being able to find a job
  • problems at work or while studying
  • stress
  • relationship problems, separation, or divorce
  • worries about your appearance and body image
  • problems with money
  • physical health problems
  • mental health problems

How Negative Perceptions Form

Your subconscious wants to protect you. After a negative experience, the subconscious develops a defence mechanism which you experience as automatic thoughts.

For example, after that negative social experience, your subconscious mind might have started to tell you: You don’t like social situations. You’re not good at them. You are in danger of looking stupid; you should avoid them altogether.

And the negativity can then become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If don’t do anything to challenge this belief, then you can continually avoid more and more social situations.

Because we’ve allowed the subconscious to dictate how we should feel about ourselves and our abilities over a lifetime, we allow these thoughts to be continually reinforced.

Effects of low self-esteem

If who don’t feel a strong sense of self-worth you may struggle to connect with people. This can be a major setback because connection is essential.

You may avoid situations where you might fail or be judged.

Yet criticism and failure are an essential part to achieving anything.

But here’s the good news: You can improve your self-esteem. Hypnosis is a rewarding, accessible way to build self-worth, and self-esteem, regardless of what caused these negative traits in the first place.

Your self-esteem can affect:

  • Whether you like and value yourself
  • making decisions and asserting yourself
  • recognising your strengths
  • Whether you feel able to try new things, to challenge yourself
  • being kind towards yourself
  • Whether you blame yourself unfairly if you fail or make mistakes
  • taking the time that you need for yourself
  • believing that you matter, are good enough and deserve happiness
  • feeling self-consciousness
  • being overly sensitive to criticism
Green shoot

Self-help tips for low self-esteem

As well as using hypnotherapy for low self-esteem, there are several other measures you can take to improve your self-esteem, such as:

  • Taking care of your physical health by getting enough sleep, regularly eating balanced meals, and getting frequent exercise
  • Surrounding yourself with positivity and kind people who are accepting and supportive and that don’t cause you to question your worth
  • Hold on to the positives, acknowledge and take time to fully appreciate the good aspects of you and your achievements
  • Regularly challenging yourself, taking calculated risks and challenging the negative beliefs you have about yourself and your abilities
  • Allowing yourself to be in situations where you may fail
  • Setting goals for yourself and making it a priority to achieve them
  • Remaining true to your own values, even when it’s not popular or convenient, develop assertiveness, practice saying ‘no’ to people
  • Following through on your commitments and avoiding procrastination
  • Be more compassionate towards yourself

The perceptions you have of yourself are often based on false beliefs. These beliefs are learned, which means we can unlearn them. Your self-esteem is malleable and able to change, you can improve your self-esteem.

Recalling positive emotions/feelings and the creating an anchor for that resource, enable you to trigger those emotions/feelings whenever you want.

Side View Of A Man Imagining