Self-esteem, the self-evaluation of a person’s own competence, involves the accepting and approving of one’s own characteristics, and greatly impacts individuals’ attitudes, emotional experiences, future behavior, and long-term psychological adjustment. It actually influences the way in which each person experiences his/her world and his/her aspirations and decisions to be made during important life moments — such as the choice of occupation and life partner, his/her functioning in the workplace, and decisions to take certain risks to protect himself/herself against unnecessary threats.
Low self-esteem, and the problems which arise from it, often causes the basic problems leading to psychopathology. A low or negative self-esteem and related conditions form part of the root problems, which should be addressed by the psychotherapist. In psychotherapy, a patient’s self-esteem is not treated in isolation, rather, the “whole self,” including self-esteem, is treated. Related concepts such as “self-image,” “self-concept,” “self-understanding,” the “ideal self,” “body image,” “self-presentation,” and “self-actualization” are involved in the process within the context of a particular patient’s emotional problems, his/her expectations of therapy, and his/her personal history.