• Lisa S. Larsen, PsyD

Ways to Improve Self-Acceptance

Updated: Jan 11


Little girl pointing at camera in black-and-white; improve self-acceptance
Let me help you realize how special and wonderful you are.

My goal is to help people love themselves and others unconditionally regardless of what has happened to them in the past. In psychotherapy, I help people who have undergone traumatic events, grief, depression, illness, and anxiety move from feeling horrible and stuck. I facilitate their transformation to higher-functioning people with greater life skills who can better enjoy their lives in the present.


Psychotherapy Helps Improve Self-Acceptance

I have been a licensed psychologist since 2003 and have worked in the San Francisco Bay Area until 2009, when I moved to Lancaster, California. In my work with people who had substance abuse and mental health challenges, I saw many people struggled to care for themselves because of low self-esteem. They knew the habits that hurt them but were not ready to give up short term comfort for long-term healing and happiness.


It has always been exciting to see people overcome being stuck in the past, and habits that hurt them. I get a thrill when they understand themselves and their stressors better. I have tools in my toolbox that support people in this, but I also share tools with my clients so that they can future stress better. Some of the tools I use are Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Clinical Hypnosis (also known as hypnotic psychotherapy or hypnotherapy).


EMDR Therapy Removes Blockages to Realistic Self-Esteem

I have been a Certified EMDR Therapist since 2008 through EMDRIA (EMDR International Association). I find this work very satisfying for helping to resolve traumatic incidents that hold people back from enjoying life in the present.


Traumatic memories often feel like they’ve just happened, which leads to flashbacks, nightmares, maladaptive thinking, and a way of seeing themselves in an outdated, dysfunctional way. The basic idea behind EMDR Therapy to is process upsetting memories more adaptively.


According to Dr. Francine Shapiro, the therapy allows the memory to be re-consolidated in the brain. This way, memory becomes part of the client’s history rather than dominating his or her present. This frees the client from the negative emotions and dysfunctional self-beliefs associated with the memory.

Woman with freckles daydreaming with hands on her face
In a state of focused relaxation, you can discover the power of your unconscious mind

Hypnosis Bypasses the Inner Critic

After receiving clinical hypnosis training at the Milton Erickson Foundation in Phoenix, Arizona, I have been using clinical hypnosis to aid people in overcoming self-limiting beliefs and habits. I really enjoy assisting people this way because they report feeling relaxed, refreshed, and with a new way of handling long-standing issues.


When people treat themselves poorly through overeating, smoking, negative self-talk, nail-biting, etcetera, I know that they want to change. Yet often the negative programming that the conscious mind has adopted throughout their lives prevents them from getting healthier.


It is my job as a hypnotist to enlist the power of the unconscious mind, which is much more creative and open to change. This part of the mind allows the client to overcome their negative habits and embrace an adaptive new perspective. I also help people access their true love for themselves that is hidden under layers of negative conditioning. Once people’s inner love for themselves is activated, they can make positive changes in their lives much more easily.


I also use Solution-Oriented Brief Therapy, which is derived in part from hypnosis and Dr. Milton Erickson's work. This approach emphasizes your strengths and successes, what's right about you, and enhances your ability to solve difficult issues without digging into the painful past if you don't want to.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is based on the idea that thoughts influence emotions and behaviors, and that by changing negative or unrealistic thought patterns, you can change how a person feels. I challenge clients with depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety (among other problems) to question whether the way they think is helping them or hurting them.

When clients can habitually stop themselves from thinking negatively about situations and themselves, they can perceive the world more realistically, accurately and healthily. This can greatly impact how a person feels. It is always wonderful to see people start to revise their old way of seeing themselves to be kinder, more realistic, and freer of judgment and harshness.


If self-love and self-acceptance are not solid and strong, people’s achievements do not always last. They might lose unwanted weight, but if their view of themselves is as a fat person, they might self-sabotage their successes. If they don’t know how to love themselves and others, relationships are not as deep and lasting as they could be, business opportunities slip through their fingers, and the happiness they crave is ever-elusive. Self-acceptance is the missing ingredient, and so I focus on building this foundation first.


Comparisons With Others Hinders Self-Acceptance

Self-acceptance and self-love lead to loving and accepting others, but how does one achieve this when so many influences in society make it so difficult? There is always someone with more money, prestige, a flatter stomach, a more active social life, a prettier, or more handsome partner.


People’s comparisons to themselves always lead to misery, even if they think they are superior to others. Why? Such comparisons are based on ego and fear, not on the realization that we are all equal. This idea may be hard to accept. Yet once a person accepts this idea, there is so much more that s/he can enjoy in life.


If people have problems with treating their bodies respectfully (i.e., they eat poorly, do not exercise, eat irregularly, or neglect themselves medically), I help them take responsibility for their self-care. You would be surprised by how many people who appear high-functioning actually disrespect their bodies and selves in hidden ways.


If you feel ready to improve self-acceptance and embrace a life filled with joy, passion and meaning, please call me at 661-233-6771. We can discuss how I can help you accept yourself and enjoy your life much more.


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