Showing posts from January, 2023

Time to Place the Concepts of Self-Esteem and Self-Worth on the Shelf Next to Hysteria and Lobotomies

  “ Doctor, I’m here because I don’t have any self-worth, and that’s the cause of all my problems. I need help getting some, after which I’m sure I will be much happier.”   Some version of this is the opening score of so many psychiatric consultations, and I am sure many personal conversations you have been involved in. Self-esteem, self-regard, self-worth and self-love are all synonyms in a psychological context and refer to a value judgement about one’s character. Self-worth has become so prominent as a concept, its deficiency is a diagnostic criterion in a range of psychiatric diagnoses, as well as a frequent topic of my children’s television shows. Maybe other therapists are great at dealing with it, but when I’m told “ my self-worth is at zero, please do something about it ”, I break out in hives.  Maslow inserted self-esteem into his pyramid of human needs in 1943, although when he published it, he had no empirical evidence to support it. The father of the self-esteem movement, h