self esteem

Hypnosis and Self Esteem

In 2006, Thomas Herber conducted an interesting piece of research as part of his Masters program*.

His thesis begins, ” Enhancing self-esteem may have significant therapeutic value, but little research has been done on the application of hypnotic ego strengthening for this purpose. This study examined the effects of two procedures intended to enhance self-esteem: one in which ego strengthening suggestions were read verbatim to participants after a hypnotic induction (ES), and one in which the same suggestions were read to participants without a hypnotic induction (PT). Each participant attended two sessions one week apart. During the first session, participants (n = 33) were administered the Stanford Hypnotic Clinical Scale (SHCS; Morgan & Hilgard, 1975) to determine hypnotizability, and the State Self-Esteem Scale (SSES; Heatherton & Polivy, 1991) to determine a pre-test indicant of self-esteem.”

Herber concludess, ” These findings indicate that although ego strengthening suggestions alone can result in higher self-esteem, including a hypnotic induction with such suggestions increases the effect.”

Further evidence of how a skilled therapist using hypnosis can achieve significant improvements in cases of low self esteem.



by Thomas John Herber. M.A.
Washington State University
May 2006

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Hypnotherapy and Self Esteem

Self-esteem means regarding yourself as valuable and deserving, treating yourself with respect, and feeling good about yourself. Self love, or unconditional positive self-regard, is a hallmark of emotional health. Perhaps the most important quality a parent can demonstrate and impart to a child is self-esteem. People with high self esteem have the ability to bounce back from adversity and overcome setbacks in pursuit of their goals. They are the ones who, as the song goes, “pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and start all over again.” When others attack or abandon them, they tend to buck themselves up with reassuring thoughts rather than getting consumed with self-hate or anger at the other. Sure, they feel pain. They grieve. But they work through it and move on with their lives.

Low or no self-esteem is arguably the most common cause of social anxiety, fear of failure, and loss of motivation. Left untreated, diminished self-regard and limited self-worth can lead to depression, isolation, despair, and even suicidal thinking.

People with low self-esteem tend to self-sabotage. They lack follow through on their goals and tend to procrastinate. They often have a very negative, critical inner voice. (For a detailed discussion of self-sabotage, its many forms, and treatment with self-sabotage hypnosis, see my article “Understanding and Overcoming Self-Sabotage.”)

Low self-esteem is a form of spiritual impoverishment that children suffer when growing up in dysfunctional families where abuse and neglect are the norm. Since young children tend to model their parents’ behavior, it is not surprising that parents with low self-esteem raise children with low self-esteem. This is not to say, however, that such children are condemned to a life of low self-esteem. They can acquire good self-esteem with work on themselves. Hypnotherapy for self-esteem provides tools and procedures that can help.

Not every person with low self-esteem grew up in abusive or neglectful families. Your self-esteem can be derailed long after you leave a family nest in which you were nurtured and encouraged, supported and recognized. Traumatic life experiences can erode self-esteem. Consider the soldier who serves the country, fighting on the front lines in a war s/he may not really believe in, and then returns as an injured vet to face inadequate financial support, minimal health care provisions, and no job. Or a struggling single parent of a special needs child whose spouse left them shortly before they lost their job. Both might suffer loss of self-esteem. Even a series of minor setbacks in career, finances, or relationships occur over a relatively short stretch of time, can adversely impact a person’s sense of self-worth, causing them to question their abilities and second-guess their choices. As thinking about these occurrences becomes obsessive and highly self-critical, confidence plummets and resistance to moving forward intensifies.

Hypnotherapy is a relaxing, natural, and saf and highly effective form of therapy that involves an interactive process to redirect the attention of both the conscious and subconscious mind to where low self-esteem develops and festers.

A skilled hypnotherapist uses  a variety of hypnotic suggestions, visualizations, and other techniques to help the sufferer develop lasting positive attitudes, feelings and the beliefs and actions necessary for healthy self-esteem.

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Hypnotherapy and Self Esteem

Our self esteem can be a pivotal factor in many areas of our lives.

How we feel about ourselves can be and is assessed by others in many situations, both social and professional. It affects the way we think about and approach these situations.

In the case of a  job interview, if we are not confident, it can show in our body language, the words we choose and how elaborately we answer questions.

A skilled interviewer will pick up on these indicators and this can make all the difference when it comes to a final hiring decision.

Lack of self confidence can limit our social lives and may be a barrier to our forming lasting relationships.

Indeed, low self esteem has been shown to be what is called an Outcome Variable in how we deal with and recover from illnesses such as cancer and heart attacks.

Hypnotherapy is a highly effective, reliable and side effect free method of removing the barriers to a healthy self esteem

“Hypnotic techniques offer the clinician an abundance of options for enhancing self-esteem and self-efficacy. Their impact upon the core beliefs that characterise self-esteem may be direct, as in the case of ego-strengthening, or indirect, as in the case of a variety of interventions which enhance self-worth through the relief  of distressing affects, behaviours, and cognitions and the resolution of intrapsychic conflict.”

This quote is from a paper published in Hypnosis in Australia, Nov 1997, entitled, SELF-ESTEEM, HYPNOSIS AND EGO-ENHANCEMENT by Simon P. Stafrace Psychiatrist in Private Practice, Barry J. Evans Department of  Psychiatry, University of Melbourne and Graham D. Burrows AO, KSJ Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne Austin & Repatriation Medical Centre.

You can read the entire paper here.


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