Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 163-171

First online:

The psychology of self-esteem: Promise or peril?

  • Richard C. EricksonAffiliated withPsychology Service (116), Prtland V.A. Medical CenterOregon Health Sciences University

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The psychology of self-esteem bypasses consequential issues of everyday behavior and moral responsibility in favor of pursuing a global goal of enhanced self-esteem on the assumption that happiness, success, and responsible behavior will automatically follow. The goal is vague and ways of achieving it are confused and conflicting. Greater attention to concrete tasks and challenges and sensitivity to moral issues could help make therapy more clear, effective, and socially useful.