Current approaches to improving self-esteem

Dr Reena Vohora

Monday, 13 June 2022


‘Self-esteem’ can be defined as the way that we perceive and evaluate ourselves (Fennell, 1999). Research suggests that difficulties with low self-esteem may also be associated with other mental health difficulties, such as anxiety and depression. Drawing on Beck’s (1976) understanding of ‘emotional disorders’, Fennell’s (1997) model offers a helpful conceptualisation of low self-esteem from a cognitive perspective. Research has documented outcomes from interventions to improve self-esteem with individuals presenting with a range of mental health difficulties and across a variety of clinical settings. In recent years, there has also been consideration of compassion based interventions in supporting individuals with low self-esteem. The session will also include consideration of adopting a transdiagnostic approach to improving low self-esteem.

The event will be equivalent to 5.1/2hrs of CPD.


This workshop will:
Define what we mean by ‘low self-esteem’
Consider how difficulties with low self-esteem may link with our understanding of depression and anxiety
Consider the cognitive perspective and Fennell’s (1997) model of low self-esteem
Consider compassion based conceptualisation of low self-esteem
Discuss examples of interventions to improve low self-esteem
Consider factors that may be relevant when working with individuals from diverse ethnic backgrounds

Learning Objectives

1. To be able to define and identify difficulties with low self-esteem
2. To be able to formulate low self-esteem from a cognitive perspective
3. To learn about interventions to improve low self-esteem
4. To have an awareness of compassion based ideas
5. To identify factors that may need to be considered when working with individuals from ethnically diverse backgrounds

Training Modalities

Didactic teaching, case examples, polls, Q&A.

Key References

Beck, A. T. (1976). Cognitive therapy and the emotional disorders. New York: International Universities Press
Fennell, M. J. (1997). Overcoming Low Self-Esteem, 1st Edition: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques. London: Constable Robinson.

Fennell, M. J. (1997). Low self-esteem: A cognitive perspective. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 25(1), 1-26.
Gilbert, P. (2010). Compassion Focused Therapy: Distinctive Features (CBT Distinctive Features). Routledge.

About the presenter

Dr Reena Vohora is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist and works on the doctoral course in clinical psychology at the University of Oxford as an Academic Tutor and Mentoring Lead. Reena is also co-chair of the race equality network at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.
Reena began working in the NHS in 2005 and has worked in a range of inpatient, rehabilitation and community based mental health services and settings. Her clinical roles have included work with individuals, couples, families and teams. Reena currently works with adults from a range of diverse ethnic backgrounds as part of her clinical work.
Reena teaches on a range of topics including issues relating to clinical skills and professional practice, compassion focused therapy, resilience, diversity and inclusion and evidence based psychological interventions. Reena’s work has included co-ordinating events, delivering presentations and providing training on cultural considerations in academic, clinical and media settings. She is also supervising a number of doctoral research projects in the field of clinical psychology.

Who should attend

This workshop will be suitable for CBT practitioners delivering interventions for patients in primary care presenting with low self-esteem.