Body Image

While body image issues are sadly all-too-common in our culture (and, in fact, it’s often more rare to find people who have a truly positive body image), there are varying degrees of body image struggles that people experience.

For example, it’s normal for people to have a thought occasionally cross their mind about something they feel dissatisfied with about their body. Someone who isn’t struggling with body image issues can simply shrug that thought off and move on with their day, not fixating on that thought or attaching their sense of worth to their outward appearance.

On the other hand, if you’re struggling with body image issues, you may find yourself fixating on your body and being completely preoccupied throughout the day thinking about your perceived flaws. You may allow these insecurities about your body to hold you back from socializing or doing things you’d otherwise enjoy. For example, you might avoid swimming because you feel self-conscious wearing a swimsuit. Or…you might sweat your booty off in the 100+ degree Houston heat because you feel uncomfortable wearing sleeveless shirts or shorts.

Other difficulties you might experience include:

  • “Body checking”: Repeatedly checking the appearance of a particular body part you don’t like in the mirror, such as your stomach
  • Constantly comparing your body to others
  • Struggling to get ready or pick out an outfit
  • Feeling anxious about having your picture taken and feeling distressed when viewing pictures of yourself
  • Feeling distracted by your insecurities in social situations or at work or school

Body image issues commonly co-occur with other struggles, such as eating disorders, anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), depression, and low self-esteem. There is a specific type of body image struggle called Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), which is characterized by a complete obsession with a perceived flaw in one’s outward appearance that is either minor or non-existent to others. Many of my clients struggling with BDD first come in to counseling describing themselves as looking ugly, abnormal, non-human, or even monster-like.

People struggling with BDD often seek reassurance from others regarding their perceived flaw, but ultimately cannot be convinced that their perception of themselves in distorted. People with BDD often spend a lot of time comparing their perceived flaw to others. It’s also common for people to BDD to spend hours fixating on their perceived flaw in the mirror or in pictures of themselves or to completely avoid mirrors or viewing pictures of themselves.

If you can relate to any of this, the first step towards the freedom you seek is to simply reach out to a counselor. As a Houston therapist specializing in body image issues, I can absolutely help you work through whatever type of body image struggles you may be experiencing.

Through therapy, I can teach you how to:

  • Become comfortable (and confident!) in your own skin
  • Feel at peace with yourself and your body
  • Expand your identity beyond your outward appearance
  • Uncover your true hidden passions
  • Experience the rich and meaningful life you were made to live

If you’re ready for some relief, call me at 281-785-2273 or email me at kelley.dawson.counseling@gmail.com. I’d love to chat with you about what you’re going through and how I can help!