What do you think you look like? Body image is the mental representation one creates, but it may or may not bear close relation to how others actually see you. Body image is subject to all kinds of distortion from internal elements like our emotions, moods, early experiences, attitudes of our parents, and much more. Nevertheless, it strongly influences behavior. Preoccupation with and distortions of body image are widespread among American women (and, to a lesser extent, among males), but they are driving forces in eating disorders, feeding severe anxiety than can be assuaged only by dieting.

Recent Posts on Body Image

Common Anti-Depressants Do Cause Weight Gain

By Temma Ehrenfeld on May 06, 2015 in Open Gently
Wellbutrin causes less weight gain than other common anti-depressants.

Think Twice Before Getting Knee Surgery

Accumulating evidence now proves that much of arthroscopic (keyhole) knee surgery may be unnecessary because the results are no better than placebo. This is an especially startling finding because this is the second most common surgical procedure in the world (after cataract surgery).

Neuroscientists Confirm That Strangers Can Become Ourselves

Your brain has the ability to transfer your sense of self into the physical body of a stranger.

Bruce Jenner, You Are Not Alone

If you've ever felt like a human being imprisoned in the body of a human doing, say "Aye"

Aerobic Activity vs. Weight Lifting: Which Burns More Fat?

A combination of strength training, aerobic exercise, and reducing caloric intake is a winning formula for weight loss. However, there is one important caveat.

What to Tell Your Daughter about Her Weight

How do we keep our girls from being weight obsessed in a culture that values thinness?

A Dream of Decapitation

By Robert J Landy Ph.D. on April 20, 2015 in Couch and Stage
Two drama therapists discuss a dream about a beheading and an attempt to restore life. In doing so, they recount two mythological stories, one about the Golem of Prague and the other about a simple journey home. Through their dialogue they seek to understand the meaning of healing.

Lovely Me

Amy loses weight by squarely facing her emotional eating patterns and envisions living the life in the body of her choice.

I'm Having An Impossible Time With A Break-Up

Breaking Up in The Age of Social Media

What To Do About a Small Penis

If size is an issue, the trick is to find ways to make up for the lack in volume. Penis extension devices, such as Andropenis, and penis extension surgery carry with them significant inconvenience and risk. In most cases choice of sexual position can make up for a lack in size.

Does Thinking You Are Fatter Make You Fatter?

By Alexis Conason Psy.D. on April 16, 2015 in Eating Mindfully
Many adolescents misperceive their body size; it is not uncommon for normal weight adolescents to categorize themselves as overweight. What is the effect of this misperception of body size?

Overweight as a Hollywood Character

By Ann Goebel-Fabbri PhD on April 14, 2015 in Weighty Matters
This partly satirical essay uses a mainstream Hollywood film as a subtle example of weight stereotyping.

10 Things To Do Instead of Cheating On Your Diet

By Gregg McBride on April 11, 2015 in The Weight-ing Game
We all do it: Eat something we really didn’t want to avoid boredom, avoid stress or to get through a difficult moment. Next time you hit a food mood that really isn’t about hunger, try one of these 10 food substitutes to get through the angst, calorie-free.

Big Love

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on April 09, 2015 in In Excess
Macrophilia appears to be an increasingly popular sexual paraphilia in which individuals derive sexual arousal from a fascination with giants and/or a sexual fantasy involving giants. But what do we know about it from a psychological perspective?

Skinny Shaming

By Alexis Conason Psy.D. on April 07, 2015 in Eating Mindfully
Sometimes I feel like I'm living in the Goldilocks fable. This one is too fat…that one is too thin…is anyone just right? While the media has continued to bombard us with the usual fat shaming messages, I’ve also been noticing a lot of skinny shaming recently.

Would you want your brain transplanted into another body?

By Jenni Ogden Ph.D. on April 05, 2015 in Trouble in Mind
The announcement that a human head transplant may be as close as 2017 raises many fascinating issues, quite apart from the technical feasibility of the surgical and medical problems inherent in such a procedure. Who are you—your body or your head (with face attached)? Would a brain transplant be less traumatic for families than a head (with brain inside) transplant?

Mental Health Debate in the Wake of the Germanwings Crash

The recent tragic Germanwings plane crash has sparked heated conversation about the intersection of mental health and homicidality or other proclivities toward violent behavior. As this debate heats up, it is important to shed light on some commonly believed MYTHS about mental illness.

All People With Eating Disorders Are Underweight, Right?

By Cortney S. Warren Ph.D. on April 02, 2015 in Naked Truth
In today’s society, most people have been personally affected by someone who has struggled with an eating disorder. Yet, our image of the typical person struggling with an eating disorder is often incredibly narrow and often inaccurate. We must broaden our view of what a person with an eating disorder “looks like” to honestly understand their experiences.

The Attractiveness of Personality Traits

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on April 02, 2015 in A Sideways View
Some traits are more attractive than others. But there are downsides to all extreme scorers. Is there a downside to being a sociable extravert or a highly agreeable person?

Helping Clients Reconnect with Their Bodies

Clients with histories of physical and sexual abuse or neglect are often chronically disconnected from their bodies. Therapists should be mindful of the fact that survivors of abuse and neglect are likely to live in this state of physical detachment. Helping clients safely reconnect to their bodies is vitally important.

Shaping Women's Lives: Our Bodies, Ourselves

"Our Bodies, Ourselves" is listed in the Library of Congress "Books That Shaped America.” Since its original publication more than 40 years ago, the book set a foundation for evidence-based, culturally appropriate information on women’s health, sexuality, and reproduction. Co-author Judy Norsigian says, “Gatekeepers no longer have the control they had in the past.”

Changes in the Family: Impact on Sexual Development

In modern times, the family unit has been dramatically reconstructed. Regardless of the family’s formation, the behaviors observed by children of both single and two-parent families significantly impact children’s sexual development.

You're Okay . . . That's All You Need to Remember

The desire and expectations you have for your own personal growth should be tempered by the acknowledgement that you are okay and that you, alone, know yourself best.

Do You Feel Sexy on the Inside?

By Rick Miller LICSW on March 23, 2015 in Unwrapped
Expanding the ways in which we feel “sexy” is good for everyone (yup, except maybe for the beauty industry that sells just one way).

The 5 Secret Reasons We Don't Lose Weight

We all hear so many contradictory messages about the most effective route to weight loss that it is easy to feel confused. Although fads will come and go, there is concrete science to guide our weight loss efforts. One of the most important things is to avoid common pitfalls.

6 Reasons Smart People Don't Diet

Most men and women have been on a diet—at least one, if not many. We have because we’re tempted by the promises that inundate us. Lose a pound a day. Get a flat belly. Increase your metabolism. Be “thinspirational.” What’s not to like about this? The problem? These diets don’t work!

How to Completely Change Your Sex Life and Relationship

It's normal for a couple who has been together for a few years to fall into a stale and boring pattern. Our brains crave novelty. Stability and security is nice and comforting, but it’s not exciting. Instead of taking each other for granted and then going on Facebook looking up someone you dated high school, try being open and honest with each other. Hit the reset button.

Eating Disorders, Body Image and the Women’s Rights Movement

By Nancy Matsumoto on March 12, 2015 in Eating Disorders News
Twenty years after the Beijing conference on women's rights and gender equality, we still have work to do.

Using Art to 'Touch' Someone in a Juvenile Detention Center

Guest blogger and artist Elise Lunsford describes a unique and creative approach to promote reconnection and healing with a difficult client in a juvenile detention facility. In forensic settings, clinicians are warned not to touch the inmates. She demonstrates that art can allow us to reach out and touch those who therapists would otherwise hesitate to touch.

Do Sex Surveys Pose Any Risk of Harm to Participants?

Surveying college students about their sex lives is often presumed to pose risks to participants, such as psychological distress. However, research finds that sex surveys appear to hold no more potential for harm than general psychological tests.