Milly made my heart hurt.
She was so, so young. So bright and so full of potential.
And she had self esteem so low a worm couldn’t wriggle under it. (Which is pretty much how she saw herself).
I took a deep breath (carefully, so she didn’t see). What was I going to do? Where was I going to start?
Milly, now in her mid twenties, had not had an idyllic childhood. Her father was remote and cold, and rarely around. And when he was at home he spent most of his time telling her what she was doing wrong, and the terrible things that would happen to her if she carried on that way.
Her mother was angry and dismissive most of the time, too bitter about her failing marriage to notice her failing daughter.
Milly didn’t know how to get love, or where to get it from.
And as she matured, she started to get it in all the wrong places.
Now, after a string of failed and occasionally abusive relationships, she had come to me. She knew something was wrong, but she didn’t know what. She had a pervading sense of being ‘not good enough’, but didn’t know what to do about it.
She had been told over and over by well-meaning friends that she was a lovely person and deserved so much better, and it seemed to me, they were right.
But none of this had made any difference.
So as I sat there, listening, my mind raced. She needed help, desperately. I desperately wanted to help her.
But what to do?
So how should we help people with low self esteem?
Milly was a client many years ago, before I really understood low self esteem. I laboured for a long time, wondering how to get around the problem that words alone didn’t seem to help.
I encouraged her when she doubted herself. I told her she was clever and attractive when she told me she was stupid and ugly. But she seemed to not hear me. Or worse. She seemed to not trust me. Was I lying to make her feel better? That was, I think, what she felt about my positivity.
Thanks to Milly, and others like her, over the years I developed an approach to low self esteem that let me reach even the most ardent of self haters. After years of refining it with clients, and many in-depth discussions with colleagues, I knew what to do, and almost as importantly, why the usual approaches didn’t work.
But I wanted to get my approach out to the wider world. This was before the internet – it wasn’t as easy as popping something on social media!
The self esteem seminar that came to my aid
Happily, I was rescued by a major opportunity where I was asked to collaborate with a counselling psychologist and other practitioners to create a day-long seminar on treating low self esteem.
I presented this course to more than 20,000 health professionals over the next two years and later co-authored a book on the topic.
And now finally, with the help of the Uncommon Knowledge team, I’ve created this comprehensive course called How to Lift Low Self Esteem in Your Clients.
Over the 15+ years since my national lecture series, I’ve been able to further polish my approach to treating low self esteem with hundreds of clients so that now, when I see the self-searing signs of low self esteem, the way forward is almost always clear.
The clients who have taught me range from those whose self esteem has been all but destroyed by years of childhood abuse, to those whose poor self image is more situation-specific, like the businessman who had retrained as a therapist but thought he couldn’t tell stories, or the woman who had brought up 3 children but now felt she couldn’t hold her own in a boardroom.
The single most important learning I made about low self esteem
And at the root of my approach to any of these clients is one understanding:
Low self esteem is not a cognitive issue. It is an emotional one.
And more specifically, low self esteem is driven by emotional conditioning.
Just like Pavlov’s dogs, and especially when young, we are susceptible to being conditioned. A lot of this is useful (a red light = “stop”), but some is not (a mistake = “I am worthless”). Due to a child’s restricted ability to put things into context, they are much, much more at risk of being negatively conditioned by painful emotional experiences. And conditioning lasts.
Which is why, of course, giving compliments to a person with low self esteem doesn’t help. And, much worse, it makes them feel you don’t understand.
Just like in the volcano picture above, the things that people with low self esteem say are just the steam, smoke and rocks thrown out of the top of the volcano. The real driving force lies beneath – the chamber of molten magma – the emotional conditioning that just doesn’t fade.
Unless the problem is treated at source, then even if you succeed in stopping the rocks being thrown out for a while, it will only be temporary. Meanwhile, the pressure below builds.
A gentle, careful approach is essential
So my approach to low self esteem is to get rid of the emotional conditioning, and to do this in a respectful, careful and gentle way.
Not only is this more comfortable for the client, it has to be this way. Low self esteem makes people incredibly defensive, because their very self is sore and inflamed. Like a broken arm, their instincts tell them to keep people away from it at all costs.
So we need to be artful and gentle in our approach, but we also need to be purposeful. We need to know what we’re trying to achieve, and how to achieve it.
And the wonderful thing I’ve found about this approach is that it makes things simple. Because beneath all the beautiful intricate differences that make up a human being we’re all very similar.
And that’s where the problem lies.
What’s in the course How to Lift Low Self Esteem in Your Clients?
Instant access to Uncommon U – read, listen to, or download course materials, watch videos and gain access to the private commenting areas where you can discuss the course, clients and ideas with Mark and other course delegates.
16 video presentations with 25 client video clips from live sessions illustrating self esteem techniques in action.
Exclusive full session video of a client being treated for low self esteem.
2 free Access Passes to a professional in-depth online Big 5 Assessment, plus treatment guide on how to use it with low self esteem clients.
Bonus Storytelling Trainer therapeutic tales download (from our double CD worth $40). You will receive the CD in the post if you choose ‘Digital + Physical’ or as an audio download if you choose ‘Digital Only’.
100 page manual from our self help program ‘How to Build Solid Self Esteem’ with exercises and worksheets, plus implementation guides for each step.
Mindfulness meditation mp3 (plus the script version) that you can use with your clients to help them detach from negative thoughts and become more emotionally resilient.
Course support materials giving you an approach to lift low self esteem of all types – on memory stick if you choose the ‘Digital + Physical’ option, it contains all the audio and written materials from the course.
Comprehensive course notes – 178 pages in book format, sent to you by post if you choose the ‘Digital + Physical’ option, otherwise available for download in PDF format.
Monthly Live Question & Answer Session with Mark – join your fellow students from this and our other courses to ask Mark questions about the course and any therapy-related queries you have. You can ask your questions live on the call or submit them beforehand and if you can’t make the live calls, they’ll be available to download the following day (in mp3 format).
Your client questions answered – the collective Uncommon Knowledge brain will work on your single most pressing self esteem client problem for you, either in Uncommon U or in private by email.
Self test quizzes to embed your knowledge.
Certificate of completion – On successful completion of the course, you will receive a personalized certificate for your wall and a badge for your website.
Confirmation of 14 hours/points for your Continuing Professional Development.
How does it work?
We have made it as easy as possible for you to take the course How to Lift Low Self Esteem in Your Clients. Many of our delegates are novices with computers yet perfectly comfortable within our online training area Uncommon U.
To get started in the course it’s very simple. You simply click the Enroll Now button below, make payment, then log in to Uncommon U.
Once inside you will be able to say Hi! to Mark and your fellow delegates in the introduction thread and then progress with the course at your own pace.
At the end of each Session there is a short multiple choice test which you take to progress through the course, with a final test at the end if you’d like to earn a certificate for your wall. We recommend you do, because it helps you ‘know what you know’ and so improves confidence.
Then, once a month, we’ll let you know about Mark’s Q&A call where you can ask questions, or just listen in, or download the next day if you’re unable to attend live.
And the Uncommon Care team will be on hand in case you have any questions during the course.
Once you finish the course and the tests, you receive your certificate through the post from us and you continue to have access to the course materials online for at least one year.
Money back guarantee
We aim to over-deliver on our promises in order to provide you with an enjoyable and enriching training experience that will get you not only returning for more training, but recommending us to your friends and colleagues!
Part of that goal is our promise that you will find treating your next three clients with low self esteem to be a much more effective and enjoyable experience – for both you and them! If this turns out not to be the case, simply let us know and we will give you a full refund.
What will I learn in each Session of the course?
Self esteem essentials – back to basics
- What low self esteem is and where the low self esteem industry went wrong
- How to recognize low self esteem
- Common causes of low self esteem
- The Big Five Personality Profiling
How to dislodge a destructive ideology
- Understanding ideologies
- The importance of working around damaging beliefs
- How metaphor, analogy and storytelling can bypass resistance to change
- Demonstrations and examples of therapeutic stories
How to help clients have healthy relationships
- Forming relationships
- The dangers of over agreeableness
- Low self esteem and intimate relationships
- Finding healthy relationships and overcoming insecurity
How to help clients overcome past emotional conditioning
- Treating low self esteem at the level that drives it – the emotional level
Low self esteem, the Primal Human Needs and spare capacity
- Helping your client create a life that naturally maintains healthy self esteem
Tools, Video, Worksheets and More
- Exclusive full live video session of Mark treating a low self esteem client
- Two ‘Big 5’ access passes, plus guidelines on how to use the assessment with low self esteem clients
- 100 page workbook from the self help program 10 Steps to Solid Self Esteem
- 10 practical guideline worksheets, one for each Step of the self help program, plus two bonus worksheets
- Audio of all video presentations for easy listening on-the-go
- Primal Human Needs assessment tool
- Double CD and/or download of Powerful Stories therapeutic tales trainer
- Checklist of symptoms of low self esteem (“The Characteristics of Low Self Esteem”)