Overcoming Self-Doubt and Boosting Self-Esteem: Comprehensive Guide for Therapists

Overcoming Self-Doubt and Boosting Self Esteem

Table of Contents

Anna is a friend of mine and we agreed upon and fixed a mutually convenient time for our Initial Consultation / Discovery Call after she confided in me about her recurrent spells of feeling under confident and incapable.

Overcoming Self-Doubt and Boosting Self-Esteem – Therapeutic Case Study

Initial Consultation

Therapy session for Overcoming Self-Doubt and boosting Self-Esteem

During the initial consultation, I encouraged Anna (name changed) to share her story that was the cause of her concern. Anna started venting out about certain patches of her life that were staring back at her and were a cause of distress and worry in her current life. There were a number of things bothering her. 

  • She was almost 35 years of age, unmarried and morbidly obese. 
  • She was also in an unsteady relationship with a man who was fluctuating in stability. 
  • It gave her immense distress to think of the way her life was shaping up on these fronts and was adversely affecting her self image and confidence, knowing very well that she was capable of much more than what she was turning out to be in her day to day living. 
  • Since this physical appearance was taking its toll on her self esteem, she found herself craving for validation from her partner, who would very casually walk out and into the relationship at his convenience. 
  • This would further bludgeon her self worth and send her spiralling down to greater voids within her which she would then fill with Binge Eating by ordering out. 
  • This entire cycle of Self Gratification and Validation vs Self Doubt and Self Loathing would keep draining her of a Self Assured & Confident Lifestyle aligned with her. 
  • As a consequence of her awkwardness with her self image, she was holding herself back from advertising and marketing her clinical practice on social media and also felt she was doing little to further her profession graph. 

After having heard her side of the story, I explained to her how my expertise in being a Cognitive Hypnotic Coach & Psychotherapist revolved around creating a structured plan that consisted of an eclectic mix of various techniques and processes that seamlessly integrated with each other helping in creating a sustainable and desirable transformation in her life. 

After hearing my words, she felt hopeful and curious to know more. I provided her with psychoeducation about THE MODEL OF THE MIND and several models of therapeutic psychology that explained the stimulus-response framework that is the crux of the kind of reality we create for ourselves subconsciously. 

I illustrated her current position to be point A and her desired outcome that she wanted to work towards achieving a point B. After this, I spoke about the objective of our comprehensive weekly therapy sessions to be undertaking this journey from point A to point B, part by part, every week. 

I then shed light on the ICHARS SOFT SEA model that I would be following for the facilitation of this process and help in identifying and addressing all the concerning issues and obstacles that show up in order to create the necessary change. 

 I asked Anna to think about what was her CURRENT SITUATION / CHALLENGE /point A in her life that she wanted to work towards. I gave her a sort of a fill in the blank template to ease her structuring her current situation. I told her that she could take all the time she wanted to search for the necessary words and let me know in case she needed any kind of facilitation in broaching the issue. 

I feel _ _ _ _ _ about _ _ _ _ _ when _ _ _ _ _.

Soon she said that she had many current challenges to which I replied that we can list them all to begin with. She was very forthcoming in structuring all her challenges of her current situation in the following sentences. 





After having jotted down all of this, I asked her which out of these would she like to work with first as a primary problem statement. I also explained to her that it is highly possible that once the primary statement is worked with the remaining problem statements may start getting resolved or minimised automatically. 

She decided to work with the following problem statement. 


I now asked her to define her desired outcome / point B of her journey by filling in the template below. 

I wish _ _ _ _ .

I again asked her to take as much time as she needed and encouraged her to let me know in case she feels stuck anywhere. However, she was quick to fill in the blanks as if a new vision of clarity had descended on her as a result of exploring her inner self. She said – 


After this there was a sense of purpose that Anna felt in this conversation that further motivated her to undertake the therapy process. She was quick to book her Session 1 as she said that she was now considerably clear about what she was wanting a solution for in her life. 

Session 1: Transformational Metaphor for Overcoming Self-Doubt

I started the session with a recap of the last session to understand if Anna had any doubts or questions. Anna was very clear in her understanding and keen to continue with the next step.

I asked Anna to re read the two statements a few times over in her head and see if there was something she wanted to change/ modify. She did so and was content with her statements. 

I decided to use the TRANSFORMATIONAL METAPHOR during the session that could provide deeper insights into the key differences between the life she had at the moment and the life that she was wanting to achieve.

The process went on smoothly and very effectively and enlightened Anna with a vision on the steps towards obtaining her desired future. She said that she was able to see her life metaphorically in terms of how it was currently and how she visualised it as desired . She felt that many steps were doable and had she known that such small baby steps were also significant in resulting in bigger outcomes, she would have done them before. She was feeling a bit empowered at her new insight.

After the completion of the process, Anna was happy to say the least that there were things that were on her task list that served as opportunities towards moving towards her desired future. 

We then drafted the tasks that she had had an insight into and went into understanding the tasks that she will be willing to start with for the upcoming week. We decided on at least 3 tasks that she was confident of doing in the upcoming week before her session 2.

Session 2: Visualize the Future for Boosting Self-Esteem


Meeting Anna after a week was like a “Step Ahead” in her words. She was happy at having accomplished her 3 chosen tasks. She had stopped binge eating almost entirely. She was not craving attention and calling up her boyfriend despite him not returning her calls and texts. She felt more in control of herself and was motivated to work towards her personal growth. She was surprised at these subtle shifts and equally motivated to work on the following sessions. 

Today we decided to talk about the desired outcome in a complete sensory specific perspective, something that we had not done earlier. Anna was just following the cues she had got from her session 1 through the transformational metaphor . 

It was now time to talk about the MIRACLE QUESTION – about how life would be post achieving the desired outcome. I explained to her the purpose of this future visualisation and how it impacted the subconscious in installing a new programme that will nudge her slowly, steadily and automatically on to her dream future that will manifest into her current reality. 

I started working with her on documenting her desired future, in present tense in a completely sensory specific language. We finished the initial ¼ and the rest was her homework for the week. The purpose of starting the visualised future documentation with her was to enable her with a complete understanding of how it needed to be done. 

Session 3: Working with initial tasks and creating sub tasks for Overcoming Self-Doubt

Seeing Anna in the third session was very interesting as well. She was full of excitement on her completion of her homework of the sensory specific future that she had drafted and was hopeful and curious at the same time of how her perfect visualised future would deliver her desired outcome. 

We worked on an exhaustive task list that was like a road map to achieve the desired outcome as was visualised in the future writing. Each task was further broken down into smaller bite sized sub tasks that could take baby steps towards accomplishment of the specific task it worked towards. Time stamps were delegated to each and every task and the corresponding sub tasks.

Stamping the tasks and subtasks with time created a sense of accountability and commitment on the part of the client, Anna. These time stamps were dictated by herself. After this Anna picked three tasks that she would complete for the upcoming week. 

Anna expressed a concern. As she was morbidly obese, her walk was not helping her much and even her diet was not giving her much result. Moreover, she was also diagnosed with PCOS from her early age, which was also in turn the cause and effect of her overweight body.

Exercising and Walking would impact her menstrual cycle and she would be badly affected as a result of the strain due to which she had to eventually take a break from her exercise routine, thereby bringing the chalked out routine to a halt. This was like a catch 22 situation and she was getting bogged down due to this loop. 

As a part of her next week’s task list, it was decided by Anna to get in touch with a weight management consultant, a gynaecologist. Apart from this she chalked out some other tasks for upscaling her physical space of her clinic and added a task to redesign her brand name.

The session was filled with Meta Model Questionings that enabled her to chalk out the above three tasks as her homework for the following week. Anna felt covered and confident of continuing into the next week with her task list. 

Session 4: Working towards additional tasks and overcoming Hindrances for boosting self-esteem

Anna was meeting me for her fourth session and was ready to share with me her findings and work of the past week. After a brief recap of the past week, Anna spoke about certain blood tests that the doctors had prescribed and the whole line of treatment that could be executed in tandem with an effective weight management coach.

She also managed to get in touch with a dear family friend who was working with a renowned wellness platform and was also successfully running her own practice. Anna knew it was a long journey of about a year as mentioned by the coach and doctor but was raring to begin her physical transformational journey.

She showed me her new architectural design for her clinic and I was actually marvelling at her creativity. Deciding to get some more work done and gather more professional opinion, Anna was happy and confident that her efforts towards her clinic had kick started. 

However, there was something that had been troubling her during the week. She confessed that despite her being on top of her tasks, feeling good about how she had started working around her current challenges, there was still something that would pull her down emotionally and she would land up not feeling too good about herself. 

I asked me to specifically address the event(s) that had caused her to feel this way. There were 2 main events that she spoke about . 

Event 1 was about the way her brother perceived her for her ideas and never acknowledged her point of view on anything, rather mocked her for it as a result of which she felt belittled and incapable.

Event 2 was concerning her relationship with her boyfriend. Her partner was otherwise the one who “loved her “ or professed to love her but would often behave with her in a way that demeaned her and made her feel ‘available” whenever he wanted but was never around for any kind of emotional support when she wanted. This was impacting her adversely. 

She had started getting feelings of “NOT BEING GOOD ENOUGH AND UP TO THE MARK ”. On this I asked her what kind of thoughts she would want to replace her current thoughts with ? to which she said she wanted the thought “ I AM ENOUGH”. I proceeded to the thought restructing aspect of the CHCP model, which is involved with the Reprogramming of the Mind. This was done by taking down notes from Anna about the current challenging thought and the trigger(s) that causes it.

Keeping the trigger as a constant, I then asked Anna for the new desired emotion and the new desired thought that the client would like as a replacement of the current thought. Having taken down all this information, a technique was used to restructure her current challenging thought by replacing it with her new desired thought. This was done with the trigger being the same with the old as well as the new thought and can be explained as follows. 

Her Trigger: Whenever anyone talks/behaves with me in a way that mocks me and makes me feel demeaned.

Her Current Thought: I feel I am not good enough and up to the mark of expectations of others

Her New Emotion: Confident

Her New Thought: I am completely clear about the way I think and feel and am enough for all that I stand for and that the mockery of others is of no consequence to my life.

Current Situation: 

Whenever anyone talks/behaves with me in a way that mocks me and makes me feel demeaned, I feel I am not good enough and up to the mark of expectations of others. (Current Thought) 

New Situation:

Whenever anyone talks/behaves with me in a way that mocks me and makes me feel demeaned, I realise that I am completely clear about the way I think and feel and am enough for all that I stand for and that the mockery of others is of no consequence to my life.

I asked her to repeat this new statement as many times as she could so as to check how well it resonated with her and made her feel empowered to counter any negative or undesirable mental state.

Concluding from her account, she also expressed her current emotion as FEELING INCAPABLE. On being asked, what would she like to experience, her replaced emotion was FEELING EMPOWERED & CONFIDENT. As a result, I decided to conduct the NLP aspect of the CHCP model on EMOTIONAL ANCHORING in order to release her unwanted troubling emotion of SELF DOUBT and replace it with her desired emotion of CONFIDENCE. 

As both the strategies of Thought Restructuring & Emotional Anchoring effectively enabled her to take better charge of her thoughts and emotional responses , the application of the learnings and insights earned through these techniques on possible future events with her brother, boyfriend or any other person who could trigger self-doubt made her feel EMPOWERED and CONFIDENT. 

At the end of session 4 , she picked 3 more tasks that consisted of taking charge of her diet, walking and starting a plan towards her clinic’s growth. The tasks instilled within her the joy of working on other aspects of her life that were also her challenges. 

Session 5: Complete Sequence 


She was visibly excited of having been able to hold her stand during family conversations and was able to put across her point of view very calmly yet emphatically. In fact she even reported her brother not getting into any kind of argument after she voiced her opinion with such confidence but on the contrary was silently observing her unexpected and confident input. 

Regarding her boyfriend, she was able to continue to say NO to his repeated calls and messages of wanting to see her at his convenience. She felt happy that she could draw boundaries and excuse herself on account of other important engagements in her life.

She had never done this and she as well as the others were noticing this change in behaviour. She spoke of her restructured thought and emotional anchors being her best tools to reach this state. 

Anna had written her future completely in sync with her sensory specific visualisation of her desired outcome and the life that she wished for after that. Meanwhile, Anna had started feeling much better on the clarity she was receiving from her gynaecologist and the weight management consultant, both of whom had charted out a customised plan for her.

She was excited about having written down that perfect future for herself and was kind of charged with all the sensory specific information she had packed it with. 

I conducted the complete induction process with Anna, eventually giving suggestions to her to reach her most relaxed and comfortable state. As she was comfortable in that space where she could visualise her future, I narrated her complete sensory specific future written in present tense , making sure she is able to live it totally in sync with her vision.I also audio recorded the entire process to be handed down to her for her to listen to the recording on a daily basis especially for the next 21 days so as to create the new neural pathway. 

I empowered her for future handling of any kind of hindrances by explaining the mechanism, process and tool of SELF HYPNOSIS. This consisted of MINDFULNESS leading to a deep relaxed state to get connected with her subconscious self . She would then be able to explore elements that she could navigate through towards a more constructive resolution and eventual sustainable transformation using appropriate tools that she had used in the past sessions. 

Anna was now an independent and confident individual and sought two more sessions to completely equip herself towards cultivating greater resilience. 

Session 6: Addressing the next tasks and hindrances

Anna had shown a marked improvement and change for the better as she was now confident in her thoughts, emotions and actions. She was successfully following her weight management programme and adhering to her doctor’s advice. She felt very equipped with her anchors and restructured thoughts that would enable her to address all her self limiting beliefs. 

However there were times when she experienced moments of feeling some stress. At this point I decided to conduct a process called THE VOID MANAGEMENT. The Void Management effectively works as a delayering technique to understand the underlying reason of the challenging emotion being experienced.

Along with this it also facilitates a release of this primary non-serving emotion along with certain other secondary ones as well, providing keen insights in the form of new learnings and the integration and application of these new learnings into her current state towards a more fulfilling life.

In accordance with this technique, Anna released the sources of her stress and distress that she was experiencing from the unknown spaces within her and acquired insights and learnings that were positive and functional replacements that would provide greater clarity of thought and purpose.

Anna felt remarkably better and rejuvenated after the process.

We then decided to meet next week on the same day at the same time for Session 8.

Session 7: Wrapping up Boosting Self-esteem therapy process with Timeline

Anna was on time for her session. She looked visibly confident and empowered in her mannerisms and I could not just help comparing her to the image of her from her first session. I definitely could perceive the shift in her persona and the icing on the cake was when she openly acknowledged the ways she was experiencing the conspicuous as well as subtle shifts in her routine and lifestyle. 

I began the session by informing Anna about a process called the TIMELINE, wherein she would be able to measure the shifts and the changes that had taken place in her life so far as a result of our sessions. 

She was given a choice to do this exercise physically in the space around her or imaginatively in her mind. She chose the latter. 

I explained to her that by means of this technique she would be able to imagine/ perceive her entire life as a line, the starting point being the point of conception/ her birth and the other end of the line being the present moment. The present moment represents the manifestation of her desired future. So the process begins by her starting to walk, moving along this line .

As she’s walking she is able to experience every significant moment of her life along with constantly noticing her desired visualised future manifesting at the end of the line, which we know is the present moment. . As she travels along this line she begins to realise a number of alignments that have taken place in her life as a result of the sessions that were concurrent with her desired future.

This was a good way to decipher what was remaining to be addressed in her journey from Point A to Point B. There were points on this line that could have been potential areas of discomfort but were now mostly aligned with her desired outcome. She was very confident of aligning the little that was left to be aligned and experienced no stress regarding that.

This turned out to be a very meaningful session with a process that actually gave a quantitative analysis of her progress. Anna and I knew what were the last few tasks that required attention on this journey and she was absolutely aware and capable of what needed to be done. After our parting takeaways and conclusive discussions, Anna and I bid goodbye to each other, wishing each other well.

Therapists Reflection

Working with Anna and helping her overcome self-doubt was quite a revelation for me as a therapist as well. 

While we often profess that one primary problem could be the root cause of many secondary problems, this session plan with Anna proved exactly the point. 

Once the primary challenge being faced by the client is selected and a solution worked out, it is fascinating how the other challenges start resolving sooner or later. 

Anna was a smart client who chose the largest canvas as her primary problem to find a solution for. 

It is just so obvious that sometimes all the problems are entangled with each other and could actually be mutually cause and effect in that maze. 

The takeaway from this session was to pull that one primary loose end that untangles the knot of all problems. 

Reference of Techniques used during Overcoming Self-Doubt and Boosting Self-Esteem Therapy Process:

The techniques employed in this case study draw from various methodologies, including 


All the above techniques were effortlessly woven into a customised and integrated plan for a complete, comprehensive and effective therapeutic process to achieve the desired result.

The concepts, approaches, techniques and processes are based on topics covered during the Cognitive Hypnotic Psychotherapy® Diploma.