For confidential support and advice

 0808 1000 900    Email us

Module 10. Self-talk

This module will help you to explore and develop an understanding of:

  • What self-talk is
  • The difference between negative and positive self-talk (negative and positive thinking)
  • How to change negative self-talk in to positive self-talk


What is self-talk?

It is what you say to yourself in your mind. It can have a really strong impact on your self-esteem and confidence. How you talk to yourself in your mind affects your attitude, feelings, self-image, behaviour and view of the world. We can talk to ourselves in both negative and positive ways. 


Negative self-talk

In order for people to allow themselves to abuse children they will generally be using a number of ‘self-justifications’ to persuade themselves that it is ok to do what they are doing. This process of persuading oneself that it is ok to abuse children or engage in appropriate sexual thoughts is called ‘self-talk’. Self-talk is the internal argument someone uses to give themselves permission to do something they know they shouldn’t be doing. There are two kinds of negative self-talk: 

1) the kind that justifies inappropriate or unhealthy behaviour, e.g.

  • I am entitled to look at pornography
  • They are just images it’s not really hurting a child
  • I can walk through the park on my own, I am in control
  • One drink won’t do any harm

2) the kind that makes you feel useless or insignificant, e.g.

  • What’s the point? No one cares about me anyway
  • I fail at everything I do, so why bother?
  • All my relationships end badly
  • I am bound to get it wrong

Frequently engaging in negative self-talk will make you angry, resentful and make you believe that you deserve bad things to happen to you. It can breed a sense of grievance and injustice and lead to negative and false assumptions including those that give you permission to engage in abusive and/or inappropriate behaviour. Most negative self-talk is irrational and based on thinking errors.


Positive self-talk

Positive self-talk is based on rational thoughts and beliefs. It reinforces what you know is right and helps you to think clearly. This kind of self-talk encourages positive thinking and motivation - it can stop destructive behaviours and be the trigger for healthy ones. Positive self-talk can reinforce other intervention techniques. There are two kinds of positive self-talk:

1) the kind that enhances your self-esteem, e.g.

  • I am really pleased with how I worked today
  • I am glad I helped that person
  • I can do it!
  • I deserved the reward I got

2) the kind that encourages healthy behaviour, e.g.

  • I have a number of positive qualities that my family and friends like such as patience, generosity and a good sense of humour
  • It’s normal to make mistakes but I will learn from them
  • I can control my drinking
  • I won’t let them bring me down

Positive self-talk is also helpful when you are engaging in interventions, as it will help you to follow through with your plans.


Continue to Changing negative self-talk to positive self-talk