Self Esteem

Self Esteem2020-03-01T12:46:08+11:00

The Importance of Healthy Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is your opinion of yourself. So, someone with low self-esteem is unhappy and unsatisfied with themselves most of the time. A person with low self-esteem tends to speak to themselves in critical and harsh ways and has a negative self-image. Self-esteem influences all aspects of our lives since our self-image determines our faith in our own abilities, our confidence and resilience. This can make it very difficult for a person to make decisions and persist in the face of adversity. Low self-esteem can be improved but it takes attention and daily practice from the affected individual.


Some signs you may be struggling with low self-esteem are:

  • Being extremely critical of yourself
  • Focusing on your negatives and ignoring the positives
  • Thinking that other people are better than you
  • Ignoring compliments or not believe them
  • Feeling hypersensitive and are easily ‘wounded’ by others
  • Being withdrawn, quiet or shy
  • Describing yourself negatively
  • Blaming yourself when something goes wrong, even if it is out of your control
  • Feeling isolated socially or withdrawing from social situations
  • Experiencing fatigue, insomnia or headaches


There are many contributing factors in an individual’s life that can cause low self-esteem. Most often, low self-esteem is caused by stressful periods in a person’s life or due to unexpected events or changes. Other causes are:

  • An underlying mental illness
  • Stressful life events
  • Unhappy childhood where parents were very critical
  • Experiencing bullying e.g from a partner, carer, friend or work colleague
  • Struggling at work, school, with finances, or with parenting
  • Ongoing medical problems such as a physical disability or serious illness

This TEDEd Talk gives an interesting insight in to an individual’s self-esteem and what factors can cause low self-esteem:

Strategies To Boost Self-Esteem

There are several simple strategies you can practice to promote healthy self-esteem and build confidence

  • Talk to yourself in a positive way – treat yourself as you would a good friend. Acknowledge the positives about yourself, be supportive and kind.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others – understand that everyone is different and make an effort to accept yourself for who you are
  • Challenge your negative thinking – reflect on your negative thoughts about yourself objectively, even discuss them with a friend. You’ll likely find that most of these negative thoughts are unfounded.
  • Get active – Not only is exercise good for your body, it can be very beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing too.
  • Surround yourself with good friends – don’t hang around people who bring you down, it can be very damaging to how you see yourself.

Our Self-Esteem Practitioners

Deborah Hart
Deborah HartACT Therapist, Counsellor & Coach
I have spent the first three decades of my working life as a professional horn player with orchestras around Australia and The Netherlands. Most of that time […]
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Dayana Noor
Dayana NoorPsychologist
Dayana is a Registered Psychologist with the Psychologist Board of Australia. She is also a full member of the Australian Psychological Society and a member of the Association […]
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Patch Callahan
Patch CallahanClinical Psychologist
Josh Hobson is a compassionate and supportive psychologist who works with his clients to identify their inner strengths, and to draw on these strengths so that his clients […]
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Get Your Life Back On Track, Find A Way Forward, Experience Peace of Mind

We’re here to help you find the way into a life you love. You may be facing one of life’s everyday setbacks like separation or a relationship breakup, loss of a loved one, conflict at work or change of job, loneliness, family problems and so on. Or you may be experiencing a mental health condition like depression, anxiety, addiction or trauma. Perhaps you’re just trying to understand yourself, your thoughts, emotions, sexuality or relationships, or perhaps to understand and find purpose in your life. A skilled Melbourne psychologist expert in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and other scientifically supported therapies, will work with you, putting your strengths and new insights in the service of a more fulfilling life. Phone today to chat with one of our friendly psychologists, or complete this form and we’ll call you back.

Get In Touch

If you have any questions, please call our Intake Manager on (03) 9939 9437 or complete the form below and we can call you back.

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Commonly Asked Questions

Should I come in for my appointment? Are you still open? – COVID-192020-03-23T16:08:01+11:00

Yes. Until the authorities determine that we and clinics like ours should close, we are continuing to see clients in person at 203 High St, Northcote. (Updated on 23 March to take into account Victorian and Commonwealth Government instructions). However, we recommend that if you are able to attend a telehealth (videoconference or phone) session, that you do so.

What we are doing to prevent COVID-19 transmission

Since Friday March 13th our staff have been instructed to follow these safety measures to reduce contamination:

  • Ceased physical contact between staff and between staff and clients
  • Each hour, wiped with disinfectant, door handles and the EFTPOS machine
  • Routinely used disinfectant spray and wipes to clean pens, pencils, whiteboard markers, tissue boxes, light switches and tables and desks.
  • Asked clients not to touch any door handles or light switches
  • Stopped using the tablets for collecting data from clients
  • Increased the frequency of cleaning the bathroom and kitchen area

The number of people coming through our premises is quite low – about 20 per day, so safer than many other places you might routinely visit such as shops, cafés and most workplaces.

What you can do

You can help to keep you, us and the community safe by following the government recommendations on social distancing, hand-washing, avoiding touching your face and sneezing or coughing into a tissue that you immediately dispose of.

We would also appreciate your cooperation in:
  • cancelling your appointment if you are unwell, and especially if you have early symptoms of cold or flu such as:
    • high temperature
    • shortness of breath
    • cough
    • runny or blocked nose
    • sore throat
  • likewise cancelling if someone in your household or with whom you come into regular or prolonged contact shows these signs or has recently returned from or through a country experiencing a COVID-19 epidemic, or if that person is being tested or has been tested for COVID-19, or is self-isolating. Cancellation fees will be waived in these situations during the crisis.
  • not touching door handles, light switches or any devices or objects that you don’t absolutely need to
  • using the plastic cups for drinking water that we are providing. Please don’t touch the water jug, the practitioner will pour the water for you. Ideally, bring your own water bottle. We are also for the duration of this crisis, no longer providing hot drinks. When you are finished with the water cup or if you have brought a takeaway hot drink, please dispose of the cup in the bin in the counselling room or the bin marked ‘Waste’ in the kitchen.

If you would prefer not to attend for an appointment, we can arrange a telehealth consultation.

What are my options if I don’t want to come in or am in isolation? – COVID-192020-03-20T16:27:21+11:00

Medicare psychology items during COVID-19

Eligible clients with a Mental Health Care Plan under Better Access can now attend telehealth psychology sessions which are bulk-billed (no gap payable). Eligible clients are people who meet any of the following criteria:
(a) the person has been diagnosed with COVID-19 virus but who is not a patient of a hospital; or
(b) the person has been required to isolate themselves in quarantine in accordance with home isolation guidance issued by Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC); or
(c) the person is considered more susceptible to the COVID-19 virus being a person who is:
    (i) at least 70 years old; or
    (ii) at least 50 years old and is of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent; or
    (iii) is pregnant; or
    (iv) is a parent of a child under 12 months; or
    (v) is already under treatment for chronic health conditions or is immune compromised; or
(d) the person meets the current national triage protocol criteria for suspected COVID-19 infection.
If you meet these criteria and already have, or can get a Mental Health Care Plan, you can receive up to 10 of these sessions this calendar year. Note that these counselling sessions are not in place of regular Better Access sessions (items 80100 and 80110), but complementary to them. So if you have had 5 ‘regular’ in-person Better Access sessions, you can now have 5 bulk-billed telehealth sessions. This initiative has a 6 month limit from March 13, so may not be available after September 13. On the other hand, the government may decide at that time to extend it.

Other telehealth options

Many of you may meet these criteria, but if you are not eligible and feel it would be safer to do a telehealth rather than in-person consultation, that is still an option. Just contact your regular psychologist, or if you are a new client, complete our contact form, and we can arrange an appointment with your preferred practitioner.* The normal fee will be payable.
*Subject to availability.
Are there Medicare rebates for telehealth sessions? Or private health rebates? – COVID-192020-03-25T18:12:22+11:00
Yes. The government have made a special range of items, just like the regular Medicare items 80110 and 80100, but these COVID-19 telehealth sessions are bulk-billed.
In addition, in 2018, the government made telehealth psychological counselling available to clients in rural and remote Australia. To see if your area is eligible, search for your town/location here and click on “Modified Monash Model” in the filter on the left. Zones 4-7 are eligible for these telehealth items. Find out more about these items here: These sessions are not bulk-billed.

Medicare Bushfire Recovery initiative

If you have been affected by the 2019-2020 bushfires, even if you don’t live in one of the above rural or regional areas, you may also be able to claim Medicare rebates for telehealth sessions with our psychologists in Melbourne. More information on this initiative is here: These sessions are available until 31 December 2021 and do not require a Mental Health Care Plan or GP referral. These sessions are not bulk-billed.

Non-Medicare sessions

Regular non-Medicare sessions can also be conducted by telephone or videoconference. Check with your health fund as to whether they will provide a rebate for these sessions.
What is a telehealth session? How do I set one up? – COVID-192020-03-23T15:56:35+11:00
A telehealth session is simply a counselling session conducted by phone or videoconference. Most of our practitioners have experience using the software and hardware involved. We can’t set your equipment and software up, but we can make sure that things are working properly on our end.

What you need

A reliable internet connection (can be mobile, but a video session may use a lot of data – check your plan), so broadband is recommended.
A quiet room where you will not be interrupted. Just like a session at our rooms, we recommend you turn your phone off unless that’s the device you’re using.
A headphone or earphone set with a microphone. You can use your computer’s speakers and microphone, but we find that this configuration sometimes leads to people talking louder than normal and depending on who is around, might make your session a bit less private than you’d like.
Some of our practitioners use platforms like Skype or which mean that you may have to install an app or download software to connect with them. Our psychologists’ personal pages show what kind of telehealth services they offer and which platforms they use. If you need them to explain any details just call them directly on the numbers on their page. Note that most of our practitioners work part-time and all are busy at this time, so please be patient – we make take a day or two to return your call.

Making a Telehealth appointment

You can make an appointment in the normal way by calling our landline, emailing us or using one of the contact forms on our website. Some practitioners will have a direct link for making a telehealth appointment with them on their webpage.

Security and privacy

Our psychologists will all be taking steps to ensure as usual that your health information is secure and your privacy and the confidentiality of your sessions is respected. The ethical guidelines and privacy principles that govern in-person sessions are the same ones that apply to these telehealth sessions.
What Is A Psychologist?2020-03-20T15:14:24+11:00

The term “psychologist” refers to a person professionally-trained and certified to provide psychological assistance to clients ailed by a wide variety of conditions that range from mild to more severe issues. The psychologists at Act of Living are university-trained and have professional training and skills allow them to deal effectively with various psychological issues.


What Is Therapy And Counselling?2020-03-18T23:09:34+11:00

Counselling is the professional service psychologists offer that is designed to help individuals deal with issues and concerns in life that may be affecting them emotionally or mentally. Unlike simply giving advice, counselling allows psychologists to apply particular techniques and strategies that are specifically designed to deal with concerns of mental and emotional health.

When Should I Get Counselling?2020-03-18T23:12:36+11:00

There is no set rule for when someone should seek counselling. People seek counselling for many different reasons and at different points in their life. Common reasons are to help manage symptoms of a mental illness such as anxiety or depression, to provide clarity, support or motivation. Counselling provides an opportunity for you to talk freely with an empathetic and non-judgmental professional that can help you work through your everyday experiences and issues. For more information on how our practitioners can help you click on the ‘our team’ tab to see our different practitioners. Alternatively, you are welcome to call or email the clinic.



Is Counselling Private?2020-03-20T15:19:26+11:00

All counselling sessions at the Act of Living are private and exclusive only to you and to your psychologist. As our psychologists and therapists are accredited and licensed, we make sure all correspondence during sessions are kept confidential. The only exception to this is if your information is specifically requested by the courts, or if you request this data yourself.

What Should I Expect For My First Session?2020-03-20T15:22:32+11:00

For your first session, you can expect this to be something that will help you and your therapist zero in on your particular concern or issue. This means your psychologist will more or less begin the session by asking you about things that are happening in your life and about your particular issue. How much you open up about your issue is up to you. From this session, your psychologist should be able to plot out a basic overview of the approach they will take throughout the course of your sessions together, in order to get your desired result. Your first session is important as it allows both you and your therapist to identify aspects of the problem that need focus. It also marks the beginning of the therapeutic relationship and will allow you to feel more comfortable when discussing issues with your therapist.

Can I Stop Seeing My Therapist?2020-03-20T15:22:58+11:00

As much as we’d feel sad seeing you go, you are allowed to cancel your sessions with our team and your psychologist. Do clarify with our customer service representatives regarding the specifics of your cancellation of our service. However, remember that our team will always be here should you want to start seeing us again, as we understand that our customers also tend to exit their sessions because of a wide variety of reasons. Our doors will always be open to accommodate you and help you find the best solutions in order to solve your particular concerns.

Is Counselling Effective?2020-03-20T15:23:28+11:00

Yes, over 80% of people who see a counsellor experience improvement, and generally fewer than 10% will be worse off after effective counselling. At The ACT of Living we measure the outcome achieved for each client and publish our aggregate effectiveness. In fact we’ve been certified as effective by the Center for Clinical Informatics.

What approach do you use?2020-03-20T15:24:00+11:00

We mainly use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, but we are trained in other methods such as humanistic and existential counselling, cognitive-behavior therapy, solution-focused therapy, functional analytic psychotherapy, positive psychology, motivational interviewing and more.

How Much Does It Cost?2020-03-20T15:24:29+11:00

See the fee and rebate details for each practitioner by clicking on the ‘Practitioners’ menu above and choosing the practitioner you’re interested in.

How Long Does It Take?2020-03-20T15:24:52+11:00

That depends on many factors. Most people achieve a significant benefit by around 6-10 sessions. The average client who achieves any improvement with us does so in around nine sessions. This varies a lot though from one client to the next.

To understand more about our approach to counselling and therapy email or call us today!