Body Dysmorphia

Eating disorders helped by hypnotherapy
Body dysmorphia is a type of eating disorders and a subset of OCD, and it affects both genders

Psychotherapy and hypnotherapy to help overcome body dysmorphia

Body Dysmorphia is a subset of OCD, and it is considered an eating disorder which can affect both men and women equally. It can trigger if a person lacks self-esteem and believes their body is too big or small, or too muscly or not enough. It can lead to unhelpful behaviours such as gazing in the mirror for hours. Sometimes it can be lack of muscles which causes young men particularly to take steroids and over body build or it can be an obsession with a part of the body such as the nose or mouth, and even after cosmetic surgery they are never happy – sounds a bit like Michael Jackson!

To help change the cycle we need to lower the anxiety and help the person gain more control over the condition. We can help clients to move forward and break out of the cycle which is keeping them trapped by their obsession.

Solution focused therapy for Body Dysmorphia

Solution focused therapy can help people focus on the goal of leading a normal life. By looking at what their lives would be like if they didn’t have the problem they can come up with a set of goals to aim for and find solutions to overcome the setbacks.

Hypnotherapy for Body Dysmorphia

Hypnotherapy can address the subconscious response which triggers the behaviour. Focusing on meeting one’s needs and allowing the person to come up with ways they can control the habits allow the person to change and gain more control.

CBT for Body Dysmorphia

CBT can look at where, when, what and why they are behaving in that way. Small experiments can be created to test assumptions about their behaviour, which can help prove something is just the way they imagine it, or something else completely. It could be for example that they think everyone who looks at them is thinking negatively towards them, but by trying out different behaviour, such as smiling at these people, someone can realise they may not be thinking anything negative at all.

BWRT for Body Dysmorphia

If the body dysmorphia has been triggered by an event, such as an unkind remark by someone who means a lot to a person, then BWRT can help change the responce. Instead of perhaps running off to the bathroom where they will spend ages grooming, they can come up with a more preferred response to divert the cycle.

Mindfulness for Body Dysmorphia

Allowing ourselves to be present in the moment, to not let intruding negative thoughts upset us, we can gain more control over the habits employed. Learning different types of mindfulness can be helpful, as some (such as the body scan) may initially focus the attention onto the parts of the body which they were obsessed with. So we can turn the focus away from the body to the space around us.

Nutritional Therapy for body dysmorphia

Body dysmorphia is often caused by a person not being happy with their body, so they may also have other eating disorders such as anorexia or orthorexia and so someone may need nutritional advice to make sure they are eating healthily.


If you would like to read a case study, then please email me to request a copy of my free e-book “10 years on the couch”.

Penny Ling is a widely experienced hypnotherapist who has worked with everyone from top executives to stroke victims since 2007. She has been editor of Hypnotherapy Today Magazine and is a supervisor and mentor for members of the AfSFH and NCH.

Read Penny’s inspiring story How I beat all my phobias, or find out more how hypnotherapy could help your problem by downloading How Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help with life. Feel free to send Penny a message here.