The untapped potential of employees with a negative self-image

Author: Maarten Geers (Psychologist)
Many employers will recognize that while some of their employees hold appropriate positions, the employee’s existing potential is not being properly expressed.

We know that employees with a negative self-image evaluate themselves as negative and incompetent. The employee is uncertain about his or her own actions, is predominantly guided by avoidance of feared failure experiences, can handle little (work) pressure, and is unable to recognize or utilize positive traits. This employee is at increased risk of becoming stuck during the employment process or dropping out due to the effects of a negative self-image.

We would like to reflect on two developments in psychology that can help maintain or increase the sustainable employability of vulnerable workers with negative self-esteem.

EMDR as a counseling technique for realistic self-image
EMDR is a scientifically proven effective treatment for processing drastic and stressful past experiences. If the employee’s negative self-image is caused by previous negative career experiences, these can be quickly and effectively stripped of their influence through EMDR. This will allow the employee to evaluate himself more realistically and competently. This employee will be able to be used and addressed more diversely.

Performance Enhancement Psychology

An additional interesting development within psychology is the use of EMDR to improve certain employee skills. Performance Enhancement techniques that have long been used for elite athletes to bring performance to a high level are now accessible to business. EMDR is used to work toward an ideal version of a chosen skill. Like giving presentations with focus and confidence in front of large audiences. Or developing coping skills to deal with setbacks and difficult situations from calmness and confidence. The premise is that the employee identifies areas for improvement and works through EMDR to function optimally at work.

Specifically, what can you offer your employees?

It is important for an organization to be mindful of the effect of employee self-image. A relatively easily influenced factor associated with productivity and absenteeism within an organization. Short-term counseling (4 to 6 sessions) using EMDR can make a big difference. As described above, the outcome of this counseling can be a realistic and positive self-image of employees. Or the outcome may be the further improvement of the qualities and skills present. Using Performance Enhancement Psychology to make even better what is already good can, of course, also be of interest to executives.

Want to learn more about the possibilities and applications of EMDR?

If so, please contact us without obligation at or
085 – 4018200

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