Hypnotherapy for Poor Self-Image

Definition of Poor Self-Image

Having a poor self-image means thinking of yourself as inferior, inadequate, or flawed. It destroys your self-esteem and promotes obsessive negative self-criticism. A poor self-image acts as a distorted, destructive lens through which you see yourself.

If, in your own mind, you fail to measure up to your standards of intelligence, success, attractiveness, or whatever qualities you value, you are likely to project a poor self image to others as well. How can you enjoy healthy relationships with family and co-workers, make and keep good friendships, or attract a desirable mate and sustain a satisfying marriage if you don’t feel good about yourself?

People who harbor a poor self-image tend to compare themselves unfavorably to others. They suffer from social anxiety, fear of failure, lack of initiative, poor performance, and various forms of self-sabotage such as perfectionism, underachieving, or second guessing themselves. Left untreated, a poor self-image can lead to unhappiness, depression, isolation, despair, and even suicidal thinking.

Causes of Poor Self-Image

Growing up in a dysfunctional family where there is neglect or abuse (emotional, physical, or sexual) can cause a child to form a poor self-image. The child takes on the responsibility for the bad treatment, as if it were their fault, thinking that if s/he were better in some way (smarter, prettier, more athletic, or thinner) they would be treated better.

Often the problem is passed down from generation to generation. A parent with a poor self-image raises a child with the same affliction; and that child becomes a parent who does the same. The cycle can be broken. People can develop a better self-image through therapy and work on themselves. Positive self-image hypnosis provides tools and procedures that facilitate this development.

Not every person with a poor self-image grew up in an abusive or neglectful family. Some were teased by other children for being culturally, racially, or physically different. Others, whose families moved often, perhaps to different states or countries, had a difficult time fitting in, making friends, adapting to new environments, and learning new languages.

Traumatic experiences later in life can damage a person’s self-image by suddenly forcing the person to cope with disastrous, often unanticipated dire consequences. But even a minor series of career, financial, health and/or relationship setbacks and losses, over a relatively short stretch of time, can adversely impact a person’s sense of self-worth. These events can trigger
them to question their abilities and second-guess their choices. If such thinking becomes obsessive and highly self-critical, confidence can plummet and resistance to moving forward may intensify.

Symptoms of a Poor Self-Image

The following list includes common signs of a poor self-image. If you exhibit some, many, or all of these more than rarely, you likely suffer from a self-image that needs improvement.

  1. Comparing yourself unfavorably to others
  2. Feeling self-conscious about your appearance in the presence of others
  3. Being dissatisfied with your appearance, performance, or other behavior
  4. Withdrawing from social contact or taking a back seat at social functions
  5. Experiencing episodes of anxiety, panic, high stress, or nervousness relating to others
  6. Expecting to fail or to disappoint yourself or others
  7. Dwelling on what went wrong and why you were responsible
  8. Apologizing profusely for your mistakes
  9. Feeling responsible for things going wrong
  10. Feeling chronic shame or guilt
  11. Uncomfortable when receiving compliments or praise
  12. Minimizing ones own accomplishments and attributing results to good luck or others’ efforts

Negative Effects of Poor Self-Image

The following list includes common negative effects that having a poor self-image contributes to or causes. If you exhibit some, many, or all of these, a poor self-image could well be the cause and self-image hypnosis could very likely help.

  1. Low self esteem
  2. Loss of purpose and motivation
  3. Loss of will and determination
  4. Fear of failure
  5. Avoiding taking on responsibility and commitment
  6. Loss of sexual desire and function
  7. Emotional paralysis: inability to feel joy, excitement, enthusiasm
  8. Depression
  9. Self-medicating with alcohol, marijuana, or prescription drugs
  10. Harmful addictions to sugar, cigarettes, shopping, gambling, etc.
  11. Nervous habits such as nail biting, jaw clenching, hoarding
  12. Damaged personal relationships
  13. Financial problems
  14. Career stagnation
  15. Mental or physical illness

Building Self-Image with Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy is a relaxing, natural, and safe, brief-term form of therapy that involves an interactive process to redirect the attention of both the conscious and subconscious mind where a poor self-image develops and festers. Self-image hypnosis can create positive changes in the way a client thinks and judges him/herself, creating a more positive self-assessment and greater self-acceptance. The client must really want to make the changes, must believe that they can make positive changes, and must be open to using the tools and techniques.

The first step in using hypnotherapy for developing a positive self-image is to gain understanding of the client’s problems and goals through conscious cognitive inquiry and to determine whether they have the appropriate motivation and openness. Next I induce in the client deep relaxation and inward focus. This calms their emotions and allows access to their subconscious mind. Then I present a variety of hypnotic suggestions, visualizations, and other techniques that nourish and support the positive attitudes, feelings, beliefs, and actions on which a positive self-image can be based.

From a digital recording of the hypnosis portion of each session, I provide the client with hypnotic reinforcement in the form of either an audio MP3 file or CD for use in between sessions. The clients who get the quickest and best results are those who use these reinforcements.

Treatment Plan Using Hypnotherapy for Poor Self-Image

For each client, a treatment plan is established. The treatment plan for a poor self-image must be tailored to each individual client’s particular case. There is no “one plan fits all.” The approach I take to each case, however, is outlined below.

  1. Identify components of poor self-image
    1. Triggers
    2. Issues
    3. History/Causes
    4. Symptoms
    5. Negative effects
  2. Set initial goals
  3. Develop a strategy using specific tools and techniques
  4. Provide self-image hypnosis
  5. Track progress
  6. Set new goals
  7. Revise strategy
  8. Implement revised strategy
  9. Repeat steps 5 through 9 as needed

Self-Image Hypnosis Tools and Techniques

The following list includes some of the tools and techniques I use in self-image hypnosis:

  1. Deep Diaphragmatic Focused Breathing
  2. Progressive Relaxation
  3. Post-Hypnotic Suggestion
  4. Self-Image Visualization
  5. Interactive Image Building
  6. Guided Imagery
  7. Inner Child Work
  8. Resource State Creation
  9. Negative Trigger Desensitization
  10. Positive Memory Revival
  11. Positive Trigger Association
  12. Negative Self-Talk Redirection
  13. Positive Suggestions for Self-Image Enhancement

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