Hypnotherapy to Help with Self Doubt: by Dublin based hypnotherapist Ailish McGrath


Self Doubt

At one point or another, most of us will question whether or not we are doing enough, making enough money, looking well enough, making the best decisions, able to fulfil a role or task or if we are going to be “successful” enough. We may look at the outcomes and results that we are getting and wonder if we are optimising our time and capacities correctly.

Sometimes self-enquiry and taking stock can lead to productive and positive change. And we can use self reflection as a way to decide what limitations and beliefs we are going to release and where we are no longer going to hold ourselves back.

However when the self-enquiry feels more like self-criticism, when we are not able to move forward and choose an option available to us for fear of ‘getting it wrong’ or ‘ending up worse off’, when we second, third and fourth guess ourselves, when we worry about our capabilities, when we reach the point where there is an automatic assumption that we ‘don’t know’ what’s a good choice to make and ultimately when we avoid making decisions altogether or refuse to entertain possible solutions because ‘nothing works for me’ we have – at that stage – developed a problem with self doubt.

We can doubt ourselves to the point that we make decisions based on what others want of us, not what we want for ourselves. We can doubt ourselves so much we believe we no longer know what we want for ourselves and be constantly struggling with confidence and decision making.

The causes of Self-Doubt


  • Underlying self doubt is usually a tendency towards people pleasing – which can result in feeling disconnected from our own knowledge of what pleases us.

  • If we have made ‘mistakes’ or poor choices in the past and have not integrated any learning or resolved how bad those experiences felt we can fear feeling like a failure again and doubt ourselves.

  • If we have highly critical, negative or comparative ‘self talk’, low self esteem or perfectionist tendencies we can suffer a lot from self-doubt.

  • If we have suffered trauma and learned to dissociate from our feelings and our body as a coping mechanism we can doubt our selves.

  • If we don’t feel resourceful to adapt to change or ’get out’ of situations that no longer work for us then we will doubt ourselves as a way of not making choices that could result in any future sense of being trapped.

  • If we predominantly look outside ourselves for our sense of approval and have little self-approval we will doubt ourselves.

  • If we don’t have a strong sense of who we are, what we stand for and what our purpose and values are we can doubt ourselves.

    Self doubt can be a protective response attempting to protect us from something we consider emotionally worse like embarrassment, failure, mistakes etc or it can be an indication of low sense of self worth.

    Getting help for self doubt


    Anything that builds a sense of self worth, anything that helps you feel resourceful and adaptable to change, anything that shows you how to integrate past experiences in a way that is positive and purposeful will help alleviate self-doubt.

    Practising making choices and becoming self aware which builds body-mind feedback is also helpful.

    Mind training, emotional management, memory re-consolidation and hypnosis have all been shown to help with self-doubt.