Building self-care and self-confidence with Dr. Carla Marie Manly

Apr 14, 2021

Why is it imperative for a clinician to practice self-care? How can practicing self-care benefit a clinician’s work ability? What is the difference between self-confidence, self-esteem, and how can you build on them?

I speak with Dr. Carla Marie Manly about building self-care and self-confidence and why it is important that we make this a priority.


Dr. Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist and wellness expert, makes her home in Sonoma County, California. In addition to her clinical practice, she is deeply invested in her roles as an author, consultant, advocate, and speaker. With a holistic, body-mind-spirit approach, Dr. Manly specializes in improving professional and personal relationships through mindfulness and communication skills.

With a focus on self-development as the foundation for optimal wellness, she builds teams by fostering individual awareness. Blending traditional psychotherapy with alternative mindfulness practices, Dr. Manly knows the importance of creating healthy balance, awareness, and positivity. Her motto is this: “A well-lived life is a journey of consciously crafting the best version of oneself. Wellness and joy do not occur by chance; they are fostered by manifesting one’s true light with courage and strength. Overall wellbeing occurs by creating a respectful, aware relationship with oneself and others.”

Dr. Manly’s highly acclaimed books, Joy from Fear and Aging Joyfully—plus her newest title, Date Smart, offer life-changing insights and wisdom-filled tips to help readers create positive, purpose-driven lives. As a clinical psychologist, advocate, and author, she’s been cited in top-notch media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Oprah, Reader’s Digest, Psychology Today, NBC, Parade, GQ, Women’s Health, and more.

Visit her website. Connect on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


  • Self-care can mean tuning out
  • Self-care for clinicians
  • How can clinicians boost their self-care practices?
  • Self-confidence and self-esteem


When we become wrapped up in the business and busyness of life we start to do this automatically, without consciousness and without awareness. We eat without tasting, we work without productivity, we see people without connecting.

As we begin to practice tuning out from this busy world and practicing tuning in to ourselves, we are creating a form of self-care by caring for how we perceive the world and making an effort to be conscious of the experiences we have.


Most physicians have a support team: receptionist, nurse, fellow doctors in the room and people to refer to. However, psychotherapists work on their own and give to their clients from their energy, wisdom, time and effort – not just from their expertise.

It is our responsibility actually, so that we can serve our clients, so that we can be in our best body, mind and spirit envelope: we really need … to engage in good self-care. (Dr. Carla Marie Manly)

Creating the conscious space to reset after a therapy session, after a day of work or after a day of caring for your family is important to be able to keep on going and function in a sustainable and enjoyable way.

Without taking and making the time to practice self-care, psychotherapists run the risk of becoming burnt out because the well of energy and effort is exhaustible.

What we draw on to give to clients, other clinicians and families is not an endless amount, and when we create space to replenish ourselves, we give ourselves the ability to keep on giving without running ourselves into the ground.

It’s important for a therapist to have a therapist often to have somewhere to download, and many therapists are under the impression – partly because of societal expectations, client and loved one’s expectations – that we … should have it all together, that we should be perfect, and that’s absolutely baloney. (Dr. Carla Marie Manly)

Practicing good self-care is not only important for the clinician, but also for the work they do.

When they give themselves the time, space and energy to replenish and work on their personal wellness they are better equipped to serve and help their patients because when you push yourself to your absolute limit, you risk letting your personal issues bleed into the therapy you conduct with your clients.


It is not always about not having the time, because often time is available. Mostly what happens is that we do not properly choose what to do in the time that we have and we end up wasting it, or not using it well.

If you have time to do one more client, or one more workshop, you certainly have time to take care of yourself because it is imperative to care of yourself as a therapist and therefore you must make time for yourself.

Self-care needs to be intentional and it needs to be that part where we carve it out so that the psyche hears “I am important”, “I am as important as all these other people and things that get calendered, “I am important”. (Dr. Carla Marie Manly)


When we are more mindful about prioritizing the self, the care of the self, our self-esteem will naturally grow because … now the body, mind and spirit are all saying “she/ he cares about us, I am important and if I am important, if I am prioritized then I must be valuable” and so thus self-esteem grows. (Dr. Carla Marie Manly)

Our self-esteem is more internal, it is how we regard ourselves and that is why self-care is incredibly important. Our self-confidence is more external and is developed and changed by the skills that we move in and out of, what we are outwardly good at.

By encouraging yourself to own your skills – what you are good at and also what you can work more at – it gives you the space to be real with yourself and others and set reasonable expectations for your goals.

Having self-confidence does not mean that you think you are the best at everything, it means that you know where your strengths lie, you are ready to learn in spaces wherein you can learn more and you enjoy your capacity and ability without relying on external validation.

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