Self esteem: self-help books

An Introduction to Improving Your Self-Esteem
Author Melanie Fennell with Lee Brosnan, 2011

'Clear and accessible. Explains in a concise manner how low self-esteem develops and how it is maintained. A good introduction to the concept'. 

Suitable for Carers
Review:
This book is written in a concise and understanding manner and it brings clarity to the sometimes ambiguous meaning of 'low self-esteem'. The concise nature of the book makes it attractive and accessible to those who do not consider themselves "readers". The author makes the concepts and techniques in the book easy to grasp through her use of everyday language to describe complex psychological processes, her frequent recaps, and concrete examples given. In part 1 of the book the author begins with a comprehensive definition of low self-esteem, and continues by discussing how low self-esteem develops and how it is maintained. In part 2 of the book the author explains the treatment approach for low self-esteem using techniques from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), such as reviewing the evidence. Overall Part 1 of the book very useful in explaining the concept of low self-esteem. As the title suggests it is very much "an introduction" and many people may require a more in-depth treatment approach. It is a good starting point.

The Confidence Gap
Author Russ Harris, 2011.

'Practical self-help book based on mindfulness principles. It is engaging and very accessible with many real world examples'. 

Mindfulness approach
Review:
This book offers a pragmatic psychological framework to address low self-esteem and has many exercises throughout. It is written in an engaging and accessible style with many real world examples. The self-help approach espoused in this book is grounded in psychological research. Dr. Russ Harris draws on the techniques of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Mindfulness to explain how to transform your relationship with fear and anxiety. Rather than attempting to "get over" fear, anxiety or insecurity, the author shows how to relate to such thoughts differently using various practical tools and strategies. He suggests that it is only when we stop struggling to overcome our fears and anxieties that we gain freedom from them. One of the goals of ACT is to clarify our core values and commit to developing behaviours that move us towards rather than away from them. The techniques to do this are clearly explained and can be applied to any area of life - not just dealing with low self-esteem.

10 days to Great Self-Esteem
Author David Burns, 2000.

'Large structured book using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Contains information and practical exercises. Positive tone'.

Review: Written in a clear and understanding style'. this book helps readers to identify the causes of negative mood changes and to develop a more positive outlook on life. Following a cognitive approach, the book first explains how negative feelings like guilt, anger, and depression are usually not the direct consequence of adverse life events, but stem from the way that people think about these events. By changing their thoughts, therefore, the person is able to control feelings. The book focuses on the problems of people who doubt themselves, criticise themselves and have a negative view of themselves. The book contains a lot of information, but there are also many practical exercises, each one carefully explained. The book is structured in such a way that (as the title suggests) the reader who engages fully with the book may achieve, and learn how to maintain, self-confidence and an optimistic outlook in 10 days!

The Feeling Good Handbook
Author David Burns, 1999.

'Large but easy to read Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) book. Also covers panic, phobias, guilt, inferiority. Has demonstrated effectiveness in clinical trials'.

Review: The Feeling Good Handbook is a well established self- help guide that provides readers with straightforward cognitive therapy techniques for dealing with a range of emotional problems including depression, chronic nervousness, panic attacks, phobias, and feelings of stress, guilt, or inferiority. The book also addresses such everyday difficulties as test anxiety, fear of public speaking, procrastination and self-doubt. Self-assessment tests and a daily mood diary are used to enable readers to become aware of their own emotions and thought processes. Common thinking errors are described in such a way that they are easily understood, easily remembered and easily recognised. Writing exercises enable readers to recognise cognitive fallacies and examples of irrationality in their thinking processes. The overall aim of the book is to show readers how to change faulty thinking habits so that they can control their moods and come to judge themselves and others in a more realistic and positive way.