Feeling Good about the Way You Look: A Program for Overcoming Body Image Problems
Publsher: Guilford Press
Description: From Guilford`s website: "In a society where a blemish or "bad hair" can ruin an otherwise perfect day, and airbrushed abs dominate the magazine rack, many people feel ashamed of their bodies. Whether they’ve stopped socializing because of an imagined defect or spent thousands on skin care, hair growth products, or plastic surgery, Feeling Good about the Way You Look helps men and women with exaggerated concerns about their appearance break free from the mirror and get their lives back on track. Self-assessment tools help readers understand their problems and decide whether they should be evaluated for body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a severely distressing level of dissatisfaction with one’s body. Step-by-step guidelines teach them to overcome discouraging thoughts, curtail obsessive appearance rituals, and see themselves realistically. With a chapter for friends and family members who suspect a loved one may be struggling with body image issues, this is the perfect starting point for those who want to help themselves or someone they care about make peace with their looks."
Book Review: Please accept my nomination for Dr. Sabine Wilhelm’s self-help book entitled, “Feeling Good about the Way You Look: A Program for Overcoming Body Image Problems”, to be included on the ABCT Self-Help Books of Merit list. I believe the ABCT Self-Help Books of Merit list does not currently include a work involving Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) or body-image. Dr. Wilhelm is the Director of the OCD and Related Disorders Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She is also the Founder and Director of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Clinic and Research Unit. She is a leading researcher in OCD and BDD, publishing numerous articles, reviews and chapters on these disorders.
BDD has been relatively understudied and underrepresented as compared to other anxiety-related disorders. The goal of this book is to aid individuals who worry about the way they look and have a desire to decrease these worries. The target audience is aimed at individuals who fall anywhere along a continuum from mildly dissatisfied with their appearance to those suffering from BDD. However, it is also a useful clinical tool for clinicians in that cognitive restructuring and exposure exercises are covered in detail, and several worksheets and questionnaires are included which may be reproduced for use with individual clients (see copyright page).
This book includes a number of important sections. First, Dr. Wilhelm describes body-image concerns and BDD and provides a number of vignettes to help individuals clearly identify these problems in their own lives. She then discusses the program included in her book and how to conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine the importance of change. How to understand which problems are the most problematic for each individual is then covered and a number of self report assessment tools are provided. Next, Dr. Wilhelm highlights it is the manner in which individuals perceive and evaluate their appearance which is maintaining their body-image problems and leading to negative feelings. A number of tools to manage one’s thoughts are also provided. The next section in this book includes an in depth rationale and thorough instructions regarding the use of exposure exercises to reduce avoidance and change behaviour. The final chapters of this book include instructions on how to maintain gains, as well as information regarding medication and how to help someone else suffering from these problems.
This book will likely have a positive impact on those suffering from varying degrees of body-image concerns, including BDD. I hope it will be a welcome addition to the ABCT Self-Help Books of Merit list.
Please note that I obtained the book description, author biography and photos from the Guilford Press and MGH websites to accompany this nomination. Please let me know if you require any further information.
Corinna Elliott, M.A.
ABCT Student Member