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Body Image/Body Dysmorhpia/Body Dysphoria

Are you constantly scrutinizing or criticizing yourself for your own appearance and the way your body looks? 

Do you find yourself doing the following:

  • Not liking aspects of you physical appearance

  • Thinking about the things you dislike about your appearance more than the things you do like

  • Worrying about what others think about your looks

  • Believing that your looks play an important role in determining your self-worth

  • Negative self thoughts play over and over in your mind

  • Avoiding people, places, and situations because you feel self-conscioius about your appearance

  • Trying to "fix" or "hide" certain parts of your appearance

  • Spending a lot of time trying to find the "perfect" diet, hairstyle, or outfit

  • Spending a lot of time trying to "cover up" flaws

  • Feeling like your physical appearance is getting in the way of accepting yourself

  • Feeling uncomfortable in your own skin

Do you also find yourself seeing yourself differently in the mirror? Do other people tell you look a certain way, but you don't see it? 

  • You see an overweight person staring back at you

  • Others tell you how great you look and how lean you are, but you don't see it and you know you've been leaner

  • Others telling you that you look "huge" and you've put on muscle, but every time you look in the mirror you see a scrawny and small version of yourself

The way we form our own body image is a complex process influenced by our own perceptions, beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. 

Body image issues and body dysmorphia can impact all genders and people of all ages. And can lead to:

  • Low self-esteem, low sense of self-worth

  • Interpersonal anxiety--feeling self-conscious and inadequate

  • Depression--hopeless, worthless, and helpless about how you look

Body image issues can often escalate to restrictive eating and over exercising. Over time, patterns of disordered eating can develop into eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. 

In the world of fitness, body image issues can begin to take the form of thoughts such as:

  • "I'm not lean enough."

  • "I'm not big enough."

  • "I'm not symmetrical enough."

  • "I'm too flat.

While many people are advocating and encouraging others to love the skin that they are in, that is easier said than done. Especially in a society where we place a lot of emphasis on what is and defines "beauty". 

In Therapy 

My aim is to support you in exploring your relationship with your body and the way you perceive it.

Through an 8 step process and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, I will encourage you to recognize specific emotions and body sensations that will assist you in becoming more comfortable with your own body. I aim to support you developing a love for the skin that you are in.

We will explore and achieve the following:

  • Body image strengths & weaknesses

  • Learn how you developed your own personal body image

  • Acceptance your body in the present moment

  • Identify ineffective thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, and thought patterns that are hurting you body image

  • Identify and challenge distorted thoughts

  • Understand and decrease avoidant behavior so that you can live the life you desire

  • Decrease behaviors that perpetuate your negative body image

  • Create a more positive, confident, and comfortable relationship with your body

Start with body acceptance, body love will come.
— Tegan Westra

It is possible to accept and love your body in every stage of the process. I'm here to help you work towards body acceptance and love. 

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Acknowledging The Males Who Are Struggling

I want to acknowledge the men who are struggling with body image issues and or eating disorders. When people think of these issues, they tend to think that women only struggle from them, and that's simply not true. It can sometimes feel as if males are the "forgotten strugglers".

Body image issues can also include not feeling "big enough". This can include scrutinizing and criticizing your body and mass, exercising when injured, neglecting other life responsibilities, and many others.

If you are a male at any age who is struggling with either of these issues or both, I'm here to offer my support and my help.