Body Image Counseling in Palm Beach County, FL
- Do negative thoughts and feelings about your body cause you pain and suffering?
- Do you need constant reassurance from others about your appearance?
- Are you obsessed or preoccupied with flaws you perceive about your body that seem minor or insignificant to others?
- Do you spend an unhealthy amount of energy thinking about your body or experiencing body anxiety?
Negative body image (or body dissatisfaction) can often lead to major distress, impairment, and low self-esteem. Many things contribute to extreme beliefs about how we are “supposed” to look. This may include cultural standards, societal pressures, unhealthy messages from family, or Photoshopped images on social media. As a result, many people of all genders are affected by this to some degree. In fact, this is an issue that affects all cultures. It can lead to severe emotional suffering and debilitating mental health conditions. So, it is deserving of effective, therapeutic intervention. Our body image therapists are happy to offer support with body image counseling in Palm Beach County, FL.
Body Image Statistics
According to one study, almost 78% of university women were dissatisfied with their bodies. Another study found that approximately 37% of college students felt dissatisfied with their bodies. There was also a higher level of body image dissatisfaction among men. According to the National Organization for Women, more than 3 out of every 4 American girls are unhappy with their bodies by age 17. At the same time, about half of teens and women over 60 reported having considered plastic surgery. A survey done in the UK also showed that among teenagers, about a third felt upset or ashamed of their body image. Plus, a fifth of adults felt disgusted by their bodies, while 13% of adults had suicidal thoughts or feelings because of body image concerns.
Body Dysmorphia and Body Image Issues
Body Dysmorphia is a condition in which individuals are preoccupied with perceived defects or flaws in their physical appearance. Thus, causing them to believe they look ugly, unattractive, abnormal, or deformed. Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) represents a severe manifestation of this condition. It is present in 2.4% of the US adult population.
At some point in response to their appearance concerns, they perform repetitive behaviors or mental acts. These are often time-consuming and hard to control. Some examples of these behaviors include:
- Comparing their appearance to others
- Repeatedly checking their appearance in the mirror or other reflective surface
- Excessive grooming
- Seeking reassurance
- Excessive exercise or weight lifting
- And seeking cosmetic procedures
With body dysmorphia, some of the most common areas of focus include the face (nose, blemishes, complexion, acne, etc.) hair, skin, breast size, muscle size and tone, and being overweight.
Common symptoms of body dysmorphia include:
- Extreme preoccupation with a perceived flaw or flaws in appearance that others can’t see or that seem minor
- A rigid belief that this defect you have makes you look ugly, defective, or deformed
- A belief that others see you in a negative, judgmental way as a result
- Needing constant reassurance from others about your appearance
- Behaviors aimed at hiding or fixing the perceived flaw such as excessive grooming, skin picking, checking in the mirror, over-exercise, excessive styling or makeup
- Having perfectionistic tendencies
- Social isolation or withdrawal
Body Dysmorphia is a severe condition.
It can cause major problems for individuals and society. That being said, we must also take into consideration the vast majority of those who may not have symptoms severe enough on the spectrum to warrant the full “disorder.” Yet, they can still struggle in their daily lives with major mental health challenges related to how they may view their bodies.
Body Image Issues and Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses. They can also lead to significant emotional suffering. The relationship between eating disorders and body image is complex. Not all people with eating disorders experience negative body image. But, negative body image is the best-known contributor to the development of the eating disorders anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. As such, it is often important to address a client’s dissatisfaction with their body in the course of body image counseling.
Men and Body Image
Negative body image is stereotypically associated with women. But, this issue has a profound impact on men as well. They can often feel insecure about their muscular physique. In fact, an estimated 30-40% of men are anxious about their weight. Plus, approximately 85% are dissatisfied with their muscularity. Some of the recent terms coined for these issues in men, often concerned with thinness or muscularity, include “muscle dysmorphia” and “bigorexia.” These can lead to exercise addiction and poor mental health.
Unfortunately, the stigma associated with men and body image concerns causes many to avoid seeking body image counseling. For many men, there is just no safe space to talk about insecurities or feelings related to their bodies. So, this problem leads to a worsening of the problem. Effective body image counseling in Palm Beach County, FL needs to provide a sense of comfort and safety for men. By doing so, they can feel able to open up and discuss how they feel about their bodies.
Begin Body Image Counseling in Palm Beach County, FL
- Meet with a caring body therapist to begin developing a healthy and positive view of your body
- Read our article on treating Body Dysmorphia with EMDR Therapy