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Improving Self-esteem in Young People

Self-esteem and Competence

Low Self-Esteem in Young People

It has been found that young people presenting to CAMHS often reported problems with ‘low self-esteem’.

Self-esteem can be thought of as the overall opinion or evaluation we have of ourselves, including the judgements we make about ourselves and the value we attach to ourselves. Questionnaires like the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale can be used to assess self-esteem.(1)

It is found that Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is an effective approach to supporting difficulties with anxiety and low mood.  Whereby challenges a young person’s beliefs about themselves and putting in place new patterns of behaviours, thoughts, and actions.

How we can help

To support you in establishing if a young person has low self-esteem, we have created fun versions of the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, some link nicely to the Lego Intervention, others follow the Bounce Scale.  Each give data on a young person’s belief system and a data baseline before an intervention are put in place.

Once you have established a baseline of data, then you know if the intervention you put in place is effective.  This takes time.  Our subconscious belief systems have been programmed over years of conditioning, so please be aware of that when you plan in the next assessment date.

Interventions need to be focused on establishing which beliefs a young person has, is causing them to think negatively about themselves and the world around them.

For example, if my low mood was because ‘everything I do always goes wrong’, my self-esteem is impacted because I think that ‘I’m always messing things up and failing‘.  Therefore, all my actions, thoughts, behaviours, and feelings will be focused around this.  Whatever action I do, my subconscious mind is waiting for it to go wrong – because that pattern feels safe to my subconscious mind.

And if it happens to go right?  Well, my subconscious mind might allow that – but normally, it will dismiss it as a fluke or worse – it will self-sabotage so that it remains a constant pattern.

Changing Patterns

We can only change patterns, when we are consciously aware of them.  So, help the young person to be aware of their subconscious thoughts about themselves.


Becoming aware is the first step.  Actively listen to what they are saying to themselves on a day-to-day basis.  What is their inner truth?   Write these down and begin to challenge them.

Our truth can be whatever we want it to be – we create our own inner and outer world.  So, if we have a negative thought/belief enter our mind.  Thank it for trying to keep you safe and in the same pattern of behaviour you always had and make a positive change – but not accepting it.

If your not sure what belief systems the young person has, simply print these out, cut them up and ask them to put the statements into piles.  What do they believe is true.  For example, do they believe the statement: ‘I am enough’?  The awareness of inner thoughts – is extremely powerful and shouldn’t be dismissed.   When you have this list, pile of negative beliefs – you have a starting point of understanding.

Become Responsible

Now, this one is tricky – because for a young person, nothing is ever their fault and it’s everyone else that’s to blame.  So, go slowly with this and be their ‘wingman’ through the process.  If they struggle to see that their actions, thoughts, and behaviours belong to them and no-one is forcing them to do it.  Then, encourage them to pause during these times – allow the question ‘what is my belief about this’?  And ‘who/what gave me this belief?’.   Sometimes, the best of intentions can become a negative belief.  For example, if a well intentioned adult repeatedly told the young person, that ‘they have to work hard in life to get what they want’.  Then, the young person may believe that life is hard, you have to work hard to be happy and, no effort is enough.

Create a Plan  

When you begin to re-wire the conditioning of poor self-esteem and belief systems in the subconscious mind.  You need a plan.  This amazing mood tracker, has been designed to systematically improve mood, self-confidence, and belief systems.  How?  Well, when you make a positive change to your physical health – you make a change in your mental health.  Add in some ‘wins’ … and you get a change of your belief system.

When you get a positive change in your belief system, over time, you re-wire your subconscious mind into seeing it as your new truth.

Final Re-cap

When you’re looking to support a young person with low mood and self-esteem.  Approach it systematically, initially do an assessment – to see if what you see, is actually a reflection of what is going on.

Then, put in place a positive intervention – to bring about a positive change.  But, remember – change comes when it’s wired into the brain over time.  Apparently, it takes around 30 days – but if you think of it as a habit for life, you can’t go wrong!  But, were’ talking about a young person, that has a poor belief system.  So, go with 30 days – of consistent use of the CBT Mood Tracker and you WILL see a positive change!

I’d love to hear how you get on!  So, please keep in touch with your success stories x