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Self-Worth: A Cornerstone of Mental Health

June 21, 2023

Ama Owusuaa, MEd, LCMHC-S, Primary Therapist 


Self-Worth VS Self-Esteem 

In HopeWay’s self-awareness therapy group, we talk about the terms “self-worth” and “self- esteem” which are often confused. These two words are not synonymous, but they are related.


The American Psychological Association defines self-worth as one’s evaluation of self as a capable human being deserving of consideration and respect. It is an internal sense of being worthy of love.


Self-esteem is based on external factors, such as accomplishments and successes.

What Determines Self-Worth?

We talk about the many factors that impact self-worth, such as core beliefs, interactions with others, past and present relationships and childhood experiences to name a few. Many clients struggle with the core belief “I am unlovable” which can lead to low self-worth.

Low Self-Worth

Low self-worth means focusing on your mistakes and pitfalls, instead of your abilities and strengths. It means judging yourself in a critical manner and having a negative opinion of yourself. There is a correlation between low self-worth and depression and anxiety.

How to Improve Self-Worth

Increasing self-worth is certainly possible, and one of the most important places to start is with self-compassion.


Self-compassion is the ability to be kind to yourself and accept yourself in spite of your flaws, mistakes and limitations. Be cognizant of how you talk to yourself – your “inner critic” can be really mean sometimes.

Surround Yourself With Positive People 

Instead, surround yourself with people who encourage you instead of tear you down.

Self-Loving Mindset

Challenge your negative thoughts. Are they true? We all have them, but remember thoughts are not facts.

Discover Fun Activities 

Participate in activities you are good at and enjoy. This can provide positive reinforcement to remind yourself that you are capable.

Therapy for Self-Worth

Therapy can be a very effective tool to build self-worth and we regularly see clients increase their self-worth while in treatment. It takes practice and attention but is more than worth it in the end.

Ama Owusuaa is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor with over 10 years of experience. She is a Primary Therapist at HopeWay where she works with clients individually and facilitates group therapy. Her own personal story, after moving from Ghana to the United States when she was 11 years old, inspired her to go into counseling. The adjustment to a new culture, coupled with puberty, was overwhelming and anxiety-provoking, but through therapy, she learned ways to effectively manage her feelings.

Ama received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at UNC Charlotte and her Master’s degree in Community Mental Health at Winthrop University. Her fundamental understanding of various therapeutic techniques along with her life story makes her an effective and relatable therapist. In her free time, Ama enjoys exercising, trying new restaurants and traveling.  


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Editor’s note: This blog post is presented for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness. If you have any health concern, see a licensed healthcare professional in person.