Presenting problem: Lack of Confidence and Low Self-Esteem
Treatment modality: BWRT
Number of sessions: 6
L is a happily married mother of two who, to the outside world, appears at ease with herself.
But, inside her private world, she holds deeply rooted beliefs of inadequacy; she feels child-like and not a ‘real’ woman.
Petite in stature, L looks young for her age and worries that people judge her when she’s out with her children. By the time she gets in touch, she is in the habit of avoiding social situations, and even shopping trips to the supermarket have begun to feel like an ordeal.
During our consultation, L reveals that her siblings have always teased her about her size, especially her very slim legs. She explains that, although it was dismissed as harmless banter, she was deeply hurt and became self-conscious as a result.
Now that her children are school age, L can’t help but unfavourably compare herself with the other mum’s waiting at the school gates every day. She tells me how she’s measured herself against other women for as long as she can remember.
However, her lack of self-esteem, and belief in generally not being good enough, increased after being introduced to her husband’s voluptuous ex-partner at a garden party a few years before.
Irrationally, she is convinced that her partner would prefer her to be more ‘womanly’, with a fuller figure, and decides that her therapy goals are to accept herself as she is – embracing the fact she is slim and looks young – and be confident enough to wear a dress; it has been a long time since she resigned herself to wearing only trousers to hide the shape of her legs.
Over the next few weeks we work to resolve L’s emotional attachment to her childhood memories, the insecurity and doubt she feels around her husband’s desire for her, as well as the constant self-critical comparisons on the daily school run.
As we progress through the tailored therapy programme, one particular day L recalls a long-forgotten memory – a birthday party where an ex-boyfriend made fun of how she looked.
She describes the outfit she was wearing, a simple Summer shift dress, and has a sudden revelation which causes her mouth to drop open as she throws both hands to cradle her face: this is the moment she determined never again to wear a dress!
This epiphany is powerful and allows an opportunity to reflect upon the experience differently, enabling us to resolve the hurt of humiliation so that she can leave it behind her, just a ghost of a memory.
The transformation in her presentation throughout the process is remarkable and I know that our work is complete when, following our final session, an email pops up with a photo attachment.
It’s a selfie, taken just now in a department store changing room, of a radiant L in the spaghetti-strap dress she’s about to buy, accessorised with the happiest of smiles.
To discuss how Claire can help with confidence and self esteem please get in touch, in complete confidence, today.