Identity Development

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We all feel a little lost from time to time.

With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, there is a certainty that we are far more self-obsessed with what we are doing than in who we are.

Happiness is not real unless it has been properly logged and hashtagged. We must always keep a record of where we have been and what we are doing to prove to ourselves and others that we exist and that our existence is pleasant and enjoyable.

How fake have we become? Perhaps that is unfair. Perhaps we have always been this self-obsessed but only now realize the depth of our narcissism as the mirror grows larger.

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Do you feel lost or alone? Trying to figure out who you are and where you fit into this thing called life? Perhaps working on your identity can help you to discover who you really are and develop the courage to grow and become your true identity.

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Ann Meripolski, MS, LPC, LCDC


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Jessie Hall, MA, LPC


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Kathleen Denison, M.S., LPC


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Jamia Woods, LMFT

West Houston

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Christian Hill

Christian Hill, MA, LPC


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Catie Lavelle, M.A. LPC

Catherine “Catie” VanDamme, M.A. LPC


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Elizabeth Crowder M.A., LMFT-Associate

Elizabeth Crowder M.A., LMFT


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Elaine LaBruyere

Elaine La Bruyère, M.Ed., LPC-Associate


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Kotia Whitaker LPC in San Antonio

Kotia Whitaker, M.S. LMFT

San Antonio

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David R. Buck, MS, LPC


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Becca Kern, MA, LPC

Fort Worth

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Christopher Hinds, MRC, LPC


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How Therapy Can Help You Overcome Low Self-Esteem 

There are many things you can do to improve your self-esteem and develop your identity. Taking an assertiveness class, making gratitude lists, monitoring negative self-talk and learning mindfulness meditation are just a few.

Exploring your identity in therapy can also help you overcome feelings of low self-worth. A caring and supportive therapist can encourage you to focus on the positives, take risks, guide you to a more realistic sense of self and ultimately overcome the grip of low self-esteem. 

Other potential benefits of self-esteem therapy include:

  • You can process past negative experiences in a nurturing environment: You can talk through traumatic experiences in a safe space to understand you deserve to be treated better.
  • You can receive help identifying and understanding the sources of low self-esteem: You can trace your feelings of low self-worth to a specific event and learn how it still affects you today.
  • You can learn to recognize critical voices that are not your own: The critical voices inside your head may not belong to you. This realization can lead you to separate from these voices and replace them with more compassionate ones.
  • You can notice “all or nothing” thinking patterns: When you start to identify and understand all-or-nothing thinking patterns, you can begin to manage them as they arise to honor your desires constructively.

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Finding Yourself After a Controlling Relationship

You may feel lost if you recently ended a controlling or codependent relationship. Codependency often involves building one’s identity around another person and sacrificing personal wants and needs.

It’s normal to feel as if you don’t know who you are or how to live without this person, but it doesn’t have to last. Therapy can help you develop a strong sense of self-worth and teach you strategies for having healthy, fulfilling relationships in the future.

Many different factors can contribute to someone developing codependent relationships. These may include growing up in a household that emphasized self-sacrifice or struggling with low self-esteem. A counselor can help you identify the factors leading to codependency so you can address them.

Therapy for codependency depends on its causes, but it may involve:

  • Building communication skills
  • Addressing traumatic experiences
  • Recognizing and changing negative thoughts
  • Developing self-esteem
  • Identifying and changing unhealthy relationship behaviors
  • Practicing assertiveness
  • Learning to say “no” and take time for yourself.
  • Setting boundaries
  • Prioritizing self-care

Your therapist will consider the unique causes of codependency and help you understand each one. You’ll then be empowered to address codependent behaviors to build healthy relationships with yourself and others.

Therapy for Overcoming Shame

Shame can impact your ability to build healthy self-esteem and, if left unchecked, shame can lead to depression, anxiety, loneliness or feeling unworthy of love. You might feel shame because of something you experienced, or you may not know the cause — and that’s OK.

Therapy can help you realize you’re not alone, no matter the reason for feeling ashamed. Through therapy, you can learn to embrace yourself at any age, leading to peace and healing. After all, shame is not deserved, and it only causes harm.

A therapist will not judge you for the causes of your shame but help you explore the thoughts and self-talk that lead to shame. Your counselor can help you:

  • Identify shame, its causes and triggers.
  • Break negative thought patterns and behaviors.
  • Learn ways to practice self-compassion and self-forgiveness.
  • Recognize your worth and embrace who you are.

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If trauma is at the root of the shame you’re experiencing, your therapist can help you process the traumatic experience and understand the related emotions so you can work through the past and heal from it.

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Identity Development in Adolescence

Developing and forming an identity is a crucial part of adolescence. Adolescent identity development involves teens learning how they want to express their unique personalities in a genuine way.

The stronger an adolescent’s identity, the more aware they can be of weaknesses and strengths and cultivate better self-esteem. This link between strong identity development and healthy self-esteem applies to anyone, regardless of age.

Conversely, the more diffused an individual’s identity structure, the weaker their self-esteem. While it’s completely normal to experience confusion from time to time, it’s best to seek help when self-exploration causes significant distress or disruption of daily activities. If thinking about your identity makes you want to avoid others, or coping with the issue takes up at least an hour each day, self-esteem therapy may be a beneficial option.


What Is Identity Development?

Identity development is the process of defining your lifestyle, beliefs and sense of self. While identity development can be fulfilling and exciting, it can also be a source of confusion, discomfort or even pain. It’s not easy to question what you believe and who you are, especially when the answers clash with familial, cultural or societal norms. 

When worry over your identity becomes persistent or disrupts your everyday life, it can lead to mental health challenges. In these cases, you have options for improving your self-esteem and developing a strong, healthy identity. 
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Explore Your True Identity in Therapy 

Identity development is never final and continues throughout every person’s life span. Learning about your true identity and living in alignment with who you are can reduce anxiety and depression while increasing self-esteem. 

If you’d like to work with a professional to develop your identity and build self-esteem, book an appointment with a Taylor Counseling Group therapist today.

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