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CBT Treatment for Low Confidence

Low confidence often plays a significant role in both anxiety and depression. By not believing in our abilities, we tend not to take risks, or we complete tasks half-heartedly. After all, it’s hard to muster up the courage and energy to put your best foot forward if you’re convinced you don’t have what it takes to do well. This behavioral pattern results in underwhelming performance, and as a result, our lack of confidence in our abilities is reinforced. And the vicious cycle continues.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for lack of confidence involves a combination of changing dysfunctional thinking patterns, and altering ineffective behavioral patterns that keep us stuck. By altering the key components in lack of confidence, self-defeating thoughts and ineffective behavior, we are able to short-circuit the cycle of poor confidence. Learning to think and act more like someone who is confident results in feeling more confident in our own abilities.

CBT for lack of confidence may include the following interventions:

Cognitive restructuring: Cognitive restructuring is a method of identifying  unhelpful patterns of thinking, or untrue assumptions, and learning new, more helpful ways of thinking about difficult situations. Cognitive restructuring for lack of confidence generally targets assumptions of lack of ability or about others’ judgment, and helps people consider more helpful, realistic ways of thinking about things.

Systematic exposure: Exposure works on the theory that avoidance of situations we fear prevents us from realistically evaluating whether they are as bad as we assume. By exposing ourselves to situations we would otherwise avoid, we learn that they are not as bad as assumed, and our anxiety diminishes. Exposure for lack of confidence usually includes planning those activities we are not confident in, such as speaking up in a meeting, and doing so repeatedly, using coping techniques to make mastery more likely.

Mindfulness training: Mindfulness is a skill designed to help people contact the present moment, and not get so caught up in thoughts and worries. Mindfulness can help people be less hard on themselves and reduce second-guessing their own performance in difficult situations, thus improving confidence.

Problem solving: Problem-solving therapy helps people take a more active role in proactively solving problems, rather than feeling like a victim or passively allowing the unhelpful status quo to persist. Problem-solving can take the form of actively seeking to target factors that result in poor performance and remedying them. 

Click for more information about What CBT is and How it Works

Click for information about CBT for Improving Self-Esteem