Before we start to discuss this presentation of confidence it would useful to reflect on the meaning of the word. Confidence is described as:

having the ability to make our needs known in an appropriate way in all situations.So from there we can now deduct that lack of confidence means; going through life and on a daily basis being afraid of asking for what we need. Lack of confidence, self doubt, low self esteem, fear of failure,or performance anxiety all lead to unfulfilled needs and unmet goals and values. We can ask ourselves what have we missed out on, are we sitting in fear and watching our lives pass by without meaningful participation in it.

Many clients who I have met in my practice over the years have put life 'on hold' because they experience the following thoughts:

  • 'I can't do it'
  • 'I'm not good enough'
  • 'I wouldn't be able to do that job'
  • 'I will always fail'
  • 'I have no confidence in myself'

Using the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) model we describe these thoughts as 'unhelpful', however, when one has these thoughts and 'buy into' them they will have painful and distressing feelings, such as, low mood, sadness and anxiety. When we have these internal experiences we will then be more likely to avoid the people, places and things that cause us to have these in the first place.

Confidence is having the inner will to behave in life enhancing ways. Confidence is a behaviour, if we wait until we 'feel' right about doing or creating a behaviour we may have to wait a long time.


In therapy the client is encouraged to create behaviours that will take her towards her life values.Willingness is fostered so that unhelpful thoughts and distressing feelings can be 'brought' along the journey of life as the person moves in a valued direction. Confidence is fostered and enhanced by repeating value driven behaviours.

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