Body Image Disorder - Eating Disorders - Psychotherapy & Counseling NYC, New York

Therapy: Body Image and Body Image Disorder

"Waging War Against the Body"

Body image is defined as the thought, perception and emotions involved in how one evaluates their physical self. Body image disorder is thought to develop when the mental picture of one’s body is so damaged that it affects all aspects of life resulting in a sense of inadequacy and unlovableness.

Although, research indicates that body image is consolidated by age 6, influences such as continued sexual and physical abuse, neglect, illness, puberty, pregnancy and post-pregnancy, injuries, relational abuse and cultural mandates in regard to beauty continue to shape how one thinks and feels about their body. Often, the body can become the target of family members’ projection about their own body or self-image promoting a systematic belief system that can become rigid and fixed. This can lead to the individual affected to become hopeless and helpless about changing these formulations and remaining unforgiving in the assessment and meaning associated with their body . These negative feelings and beliefs can have lasting effects on self-esteem and self-worth. Severe and persistent self-criticism of the body can impede intimacy, sexual fulfillment and achievement. Desperate measures to regulate food, for example, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa involving severe restriction of food, bulimia, marked by binging –purging cycles and compulsive exercise or dieting may ensue.

Psychotherapy can help one understand the self-hatred involved in body disorder and how, though unconsciously accepted, originated from interactional influences. . More compassionate appraisal and care of the self as well as regulating the relationship with food can be achieved . More complex ways of assessing others perception of themselves so that social risk, self expression and moves towards intimacy can be initiated and mastered.

Unhappy Woman Looking in the Mirror