Body Image

Body Image

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Self-Esteem

Self-Confidence

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Obsessions

Compulsions

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Interference

with Valued Living

How Can Psychotherapy Help?

Depending on individual clients’ needs and preferences, we utilize the following evidence-based psychotherapies to address negative body image.

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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): ACT coaches the client in actively pursuing a full, meaningful life despite any negative thinking about body image — to stop postponing or limiting one’s life while waiting to reach an ‘ideal’ body shape or weight. As a beneficial side effect,  clients almost invariably come to view their bodies more positively as well as spend far less time focused on body image.Recent research shows ACT rivaling CBT in outcome studies for body image  treatment.

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Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): The client becomes expert regarding the thought patterns maintaining his/her negative body image as well as about specific techniques to quickly negate this distorted thinking so she can view her body in more positive, balanced, realistic light. Research typically shows CBT to be superior to other treatments for negative body image.

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Interpersonal Therapy (IPT): As  a client resolves ongoing interpersonal difficulties (interpersonal role disputes, role transitions, grief reactions, or interpersonal deficits), concern with body shape and weight subsides. Working toward that ‘ideal’ body shape or weight loses importance in comparison to maintaining the deep, meaningful interpersonal connections that develop. Compared to CBT, IPT has been shown through research to be equally effective for body image issues.

Body Image Self-Assessment

If any of the following describe your relationship with your body, you would likely benefit from psychotherapy for negative body image.

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Your mood is strongly impacted in comparing your body shape or size with those of others.

For fear of feeling fat, you avoid activities you would otherwise enjoy (swimming, dating, etc.).

You isolate yourself from others when you feel down about your body shape or weight.

Worries about shape or weight hinder your success in school/work (i.e. – confidence in applying for a job).

You obsessively check your body shape or weight (with a scale or measuring tape, mirrors, etc.).

You avoid scales, mirrors, or other instruments you fear would reinforce your negative body image.

Your body image interferes with making everyday decisions (i.e. – you try on several outfits each morning).

Excessive focus on your body shape or weight is impacting your concentration or memory.

You devote an inordinate amount of time to efforts to improve your physical appearance.

Psychotherapy for Eating Disorders

To learn more about our psychotherapy services for body image, please visit our 

Eating Disorders page.

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