An interactive art installation giving women an opportunity to metaphorically ‘burst’ their self-doubt has been launched as part of our new campaign.

Women were encouraged to write their feelings of self-doubt onto paint filled balloons and fire them at a large canvas, outside Battersea Power Station, in London.

Burst your self-doubt

Once the canvas was covered in paint, it revealed the message ‘Burst your self-doubt’, to create a prominent art piece which captures women’s issues related to self-doubt.

It’s part of our campaign to highlight the many self-doubt and self-esteem related issues faced by women and encourage those who share similar feelings to seek the qualified therapeutic support they need.

We've shared the campaign with media outlets and journalists.

Impact on self-esteem

Self-doubt can have a huge impact on self-esteem, and our survey of 1,000 women found close to half (49%) of women agree they struggle with, or are affected by, self-esteem issues.

Over half (54%) of the women surveyed agree their self-esteem impacts their day-to-day choices, such as what events to go to and whether to speak up at work. And nearly half (48%) say their self-esteem has been a barrier to seeking new opportunities.

Body image is the leading source of self-esteem issues for women (61%), followed by social comparisons (31%), career and professional life (29%), and romantic relationships (25%).

The final interactive art piece was a visual representation of these concerns, as the paint filled balloons are colour coded by each related issue.

Issues engrained at young age

Self-esteem issues can be engrained at a young age and BACP’s research finds they are most often experienced by women for the first time at around 10 years old (10%). According to BACP’s Public Perceptions Survey 2024, over a third (35%) of women who had therapy for the first time in the past 24 months cited ‘confidence, self-esteem and support’ as a reason. Nearly all (93%) of this group said they would recommend counselling to others.

We’re highlighting the importance of recognising and responding effectively to negative feelings of one’s confidence or abilities, so women don’t accept or normalise these feelings and see them as fixed or unable to change.

Dr Lisa Morrison Coulthard, our Director of Professional Standards Policy and Research, said:

Women experience self-doubt in many areas of life such body image, age, weight, workplace ability, feeling inadequate, personal relationships, motherhood and imposter syndrome. For any women experiencing issues related to self-doubt, I recommend seeking out a BACP-registered counsellor or psychotherapist who can help explore them with you in a safe and non-judgemental space.

Shift negative feelings

“In whatever circumstances women are held back by their own self-doubt, the right therapist can help to shift negative feelings into more positive ones shaped around peoples’ strengths and attributes. Nearly a quarter of women (22%) included in our survey agreed that therapy helped boost their self-esteem.”

Our member Nicola Vanlint, a psychotherapist and coach, said:

“Women often adopt a variety of views and beliefs about themselves, many of which are shaped by external influences such as family, peers, or societal context. Some of these beliefs can be negative and inaccurate.

Uncover the roots

“Seeking support from a qualified counsellor or psychotherapist can help women uncover the roots of their limiting self-beliefs, challenge their validity, and shift their focus to positive qualities, achievements, and beliefs.

“By overcoming self-doubt, women may find their energies liberated, enabling them to pursue opportunities that previously seemed out of reach.”

Public feedback

We've had great feedback from members of the public who've enjoyed taking part in the installation and bursting the balloons and been learning more about how therapy can help and how to find a therapist. Passers-by have been stopping to watch and reading the information boards.

Media coverage

Our campaign launch was reported by BBC London News, London World and featured in a BBC Radio London interview.

Find a therapist to help with self-esteem issues using our Therapist directory.