Seeking Self-Esteem

Self-esteem plays an integral part in our daily lives and is a huge component of who we are. Self-esteem is also sometimes termed as a sense of self-worth, and it is analogous to other latent variables such as self-regard and self-estimation. Self-esteem is generally defined as an individual’s evaluation of his or her own value, strengths, weaknesses, capabilities and overall self-significance. The concept of worth is ascribed to how much an individual would consider that he or she is worth as a person. Whereas competence is ascribed to how successful and capable an individual would think of him or herself. Therefore it has been commonly postulated in self-esteem research that in order to feel a higher sense of self-worth, individuals need to attain their own perceived criteria of accomplishments and needs. In previous literature, researchers had summed up the definition of self-esteem as an individual’s attitude that is either disapproving and negative or approving and positive towards one’s self as an entirety.

Low self-esteem has been demonstrated to have significant correlations with a wide range of negative effects and other conditions including depression.

So in our world today where pressures can be overwhelming and stressful, how can one try to take little steps to improve low self-esteem?

  • Engage in more positive self-talk
  • Focus more on the things you can make changes to and not on the things that you cannot change. Remember that you cannot control everything
  • Do not strive for perfectionism. It is not wrong to want to do our best in our tasks but it is not always possible for everything to turn our perfect
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff
  • Celebrate your achievements
  • Don’t punish yourself when you make mistakes
  • Remember that mistakes are learning curves for improvement
  • Occupy yourself with activities that you enjoy doing
  • Surround yourself with positive and supportive people
  • Learn to appreciate spending time with yourself and getting to know yourself better. Self-discovery is one of the greatest journeys one can embark on. At the end of the day, you cannot defeat your own enemy without knowing him/ her.

Written by:
Dr. Felicia Neo

PhD(Clinical Psychology & Neuroscience)
PGDip(Clinical Psychology), BA(Psych & Mass Communications)
Clinical Psychologist, Neuroscientist
SACAC Counselling

When to Consider Psychometric Assessment for Your Child

Do you feel that your child is not reaching their full potential at school? Do they struggle with learning, attention or processing information in a way that you can’t quite pinpoint? If this is the case, you may want to consider a psychometric assessment for your child.

Psychometric assessments are used to determine a child’s unique profile of strengths and weaknesses. They can also identify core issues and the underlying reasons for a child’s struggles at school. These valuable insights assist in planning for how to best support the child to learn and develop to their full potential, including outlining individualised strategies and interventions that fit with their learning profile.

Indicators in children that may prompt the consideration of psychometric assessment include:

  • Difficulties grasping new skills or concepts
  • Difficulties with remembering or following instructions
  • Difficulty completing whole tasks or extended time needed to complete tasks
  • Rushing through work
  • Behavioural issues in the classroom e.g. work avoidance, disruptiveness
  • Child expressing dislike or disinterest regarding school
  • Child expressing low confidence in their abilities

It is important to note that these issues may appear from time to time in all children, rather it is if these issues are consistent, significant and impact on the child’s ability to engage with their learning. What on the outside may look like ‘laziness’ or poor behaviour at school or home may be a child’s efforts to cope with something that is hard for them. Understanding the underlying reasons for these difficulties can help parents and teachers address them more effectively. Furthermore, children with learning difficulties that are undiagnosed or lacking in support may be at greater risk of developing mental health and self-esteem issues. It is important that these difficulties are identified early so that appropriate interventions can be put in place.

For more information on the types of psychometric assessments offered at SACAC Counselling, please see our website

Written by:
Dr Thea Longman
DClinPsych/MSc, BPsych (Hons)
Registered Clinical Psychologist
SACAC Counselling


Preparing your Emotional Bags for the Holidays

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The holidays are coming. For some it is the end of the school year, for others it is the mid-year break.  The holidays bring a change from the usual daily routine. This change carries a whole mix of enthusiastic expectations and stressful anticipations, an emotional journey in of itself.

Let’s take a look at some helpful thoughts for preparing your emotional bags for the holidays:        

  • Be prepared for the PLACE.  Are you staying home?  Are you travelling to visit family or families? Are you travelling to a holiday destination with your nuclear family? Think of the place that you are going in terms of human interactions. The better prepared you are for the family dynamics (eg. meeting your extended family or for being with your nuclear family in the same place for an extended period of time), the better you will be able to handle the family interactions.          
  • Be prepared for the WEATHER.  What kind of emotions flare up when you are with your family members?  In others (extended or nuclear family) or in yourself? How can you deal with those emotions when they come?  Like the weather, emotions come and go.  As you take an umbrella during rainy weather or stay indoors during stormy weather, think of which steps you would need to take care of yourself or others during periods of sadness, anger and any other emotion.         
  • Be prepared for the UNEXPECTED.  Can you remember a time when no matter how well prepared you were, something unexpected happened?  During any kind of journey, unexpected situations happen. Whether they surprise or shock us, the first reaction is to gasp.  Think about what could be your first step after that gasp. A suggestion would be take some conscious breaths to calm down, and then decide what steps to take next.              
  • Be prepared to ASK FOR DIRECTIONS. Can you remember a time when you were lost?  Or either you or someone going with you faced the dilemma of asking for directions?  If anything gets out of control during the journey, it is important to ask for directions and support. Think about where you could find that support, it could be in trustworthy family members and/or professionals (either in person or online).

In summary, it is important to prepare your emotional bags in order to handle difficult emotions appropriately, and to keep enjoying the positive emotions with your loved ones, during your holidays.

Written by:                                                                                                                      Yana Ricart
SAC Registered Counsellor                                                                                      SACAC Counselling


Analysis Paralysis-The problem of overthinking and how to reduce it.

Overthinking or ‘analysis paralysis’ is one the main contributing factors to psychological distress. In many ways, it is the human mind just doing what it is supposed to do- analyze and think about potential threats in our environment. The mind is essentially a ‘don’t get killed machine’ and from an evolutionary perspective, it was crucial to the survival of the species. This evolutionary by-product is also the source of much human suffering. Here are some practical steps to help reduce rumination.

  1. Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is simply the art of becoming the ‘observer’ of our thoughts rather than an active participant. We can learn to become present and watch our thoughts without becoming entangled in them. We simply allow them to come and go like cars passing on the road. Mindfulness exercises can also help to balance activity in the right and left frontal lobes of the brain- a process called neuroplasticity, which can assist in the reduction of excessive rumination.
  2. Exercise. The benefits of regular physical activity cannot be understated. It is essential to increase mood and decrease cognitive ruminations. It also helps to deactivate sympathetic nervous system arousal or the ‘fight or flight’ response.
  3. Acceptance. Acceptance is simply the process of allowing something that you cannot change to be. It does not mean liking of agreeing with your thoughts, rather it is about acknowledging them without getting into a struggle. A willingness to accept our thoughts and emotions rather than struggle with them has been shown to greatly reduce overthinking.
  4. Live in the present moment. You can usually cope with what is happening in the ‘now’, however, it is impossible to cope with an issue that is a mental projection of the future and has not happened yet. If there is a problem that need to be attended to in the present moment, then by all mean attend to it, otherwise let it go! Getting present or ‘grounding’ is a very effective circuit breaker for overthinking.

Research indicates that up to 75% of our thoughts are repetitive with very little function or purpose. The preceding steps can provide a simple but effective means to break the cycle of incessant rumination.

Written by:                                                                                                          Ian O’Neill                                                                                                Registered Psychologist                                                                           SACAC Counselling