by Dr. Alex Yellowlees
Low self esteem is associated with a wide range of psychological problems. However, it is in eating disorders that the fundamental relationship between self-concept and dysfunctional behaviour is prominently displayed.
Low self-esteem is associated with a wide range of psychological problems. However, it is eating disorders that the fundamental relationship between self-concept and dysfunctional behaviour is prominently displayed. Good self-esteem and self-confidence are essential in living a healthy, successful and satisfying life. This resource will show you how to develop an individualized self-esteem growth plan as part of a personal development program.
Contents are divided into three sections
- Section One: Reviews the importance of self-esteem and provides a comprehensive summary of this important topic. It outlines the development of healthy self-esteem and presents the crisis of critically low self-esteem associated with eating disorders.
- Section Two: Explores and expands upon the relationship between low self-esteem and eating disorders. It presents activities which explore this territory more directly and personally.
- Section Three: Outlines a comprehensive strategy for developing self-esteem. Helping people to grow in self-esteem is a vital component in managing eating disorders. This section offers activities to develop an individualized self-esteem growth plan.
Sample ChapterThe Crisis of Critically Low Self-esteem
Some of the symptoms of abnormal thinking patterns and behaviour associated with eating disorders can be viewed as dysfunctional attempts to raise critically low self-esteem in order to enable the individual to function (see Handout 13).
This could operate as follows. An individual with critically low self-esteem possesses a poor self image and self concept and would be likely to have associated poor body esteem and body image. Their poor sense of self worth would be reflected in their perceived poor sense of body image and could lead to body dissatisfaction and body image distortion. Their poor sense of self worth would be seen in their 'mind's eye' and projected on to the image they perceive in the mirror when they view themselves.
This state of self loathing and body disparagement is a clear threat to the individual's functioning and mechanisms are immediately brought into play in order to alter it and raise self-esteem--to regulate self-esteem internally. Commonly cognitive distortion and thinking errors are brought to bear on the situation. Individuals will think: 'If only I become thinner then I will be a better person and feel more worthy.'
The aim of these congitions is immediately to raise critically low self-esteem in the short term. Understandable but unhelpful behaviours then follow, such as dieting, purging, laxative abuse and over exercising, in order to produce weight loss and alter the perceived body image.
When this is achieved the individual commonly feels a raising of their mood, sometimes to the point of elation, since briefly their self-esteem has been falsely boosted. However, this situation is temporary. Clearly, self-esteem transiently enhanced in this way cannot fundamentally alter a deep-seated sense of poor self worth. As a result, mood and self-esteem soon fall, resulting in the individual repeating the process in an attempt to boost self-esteem again.
In this way, weight is lost in a step-by-step process and the elusive goal of an adequate inner sense of self worth is fruitlessly pursued like the Holy Grail. Tragically, these mechanisms cannot produce the deeper change in self-esteem required for healthy functioning and this dysfunctional cycle continues, sometimes with fatal results.
Self-esteem cannot be permanently raised by dieting or weight loss; it is simply tackling the problem at the wrong level.
99 reproducable masters; 10 X 11 hard cover ring binder
Section 1: The Importance of Self-esteem
Section 2: Eating Disorders -- A Crisis of Self-esteem
Section 3: Growing in Self-esteem -- A Model for Self-esteem Focused Therapy
Questionnaires and Scales
Resources and Recommended Reading
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