By Ilia Galouzidi, Existential and Integrative Psychotherapist

Body dissatisfaction occurs when a person has persistent negative thoughts and feelings about their body. Body dissatisfaction is an internal emotional and cognitive process that can also be influenced by external factors such as pressures to meet a certain appearance ideal.

Individuals with increased body dissatisfaction would go in and out of different diets and workout plans or through invasive or non-invasive cosmetic procedures to feel confident and content in their own skin. They may worry intensively about how their body may appear to others and can become preoccupied with certain aspects of their appearance that they consider “faulty” or “undesired”.

Therapy sessions can help individuals identify the internal emotional systems that may create a distressing relationship with one’s appearance.

Although improving one’s body dissatisfaction can be challenging, with the right techniques and within an open and safe therapeutic environment, it is possible.

Body Dissatisfaction and Distress in Illness

Body Dissatisfaction and Distress can also be present in individuals who have received a diagnosis such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) or have survived a Stroke. Such diagnoses and life incidents carry a significant burden for patients, their families, and carers. They may come to therapy emotionally exhausted from their recovery journey or from living in a body that they do not recognise anymore. The physical changes affect everything from their day-to-day life to how they see themselves in the future.

Going through physical Illness is maybe one of the most challenging human experiences. Therapy can provide individuals with the space and time to process their pain, loss and hardship. To redefine what it means to be themselves, to open themselves to new possibilities and new meanings. To meet their bodies anew.

Picture: Alexander Krivitskiy