Befriending My Body: A Group Approach to Body Image Concerns in Adolescent Females

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Whitely, Jillian
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Body image concerns are plaguing the Western world, particularly adolescent females. These concerns directly impact an individual's self-esteem and ultimately their sense of agency and worth as they move throughout their lives. There are not enough early interventions to address issues of body image and self-esteem in adolescents. Treatment is typically targeted too late when eating disorders and mental health disorders manifest. Adolescence has been found to be a particularly ripe time for intervention as it is a period of rapid personal and social development and many experiences during this time can become rooted in later struggles or successes. A school-based girl's therapy group approach with a focus on intuitive eating practices offers a comprehensive approach to targeting these issues and mitigating future struggles. Intuitive eating involves essential practices of self-acceptance, rejecting diet mentality and connecting with oneself to find intrinsic motivations and goals for health. Group therapy gives members the opportunity to find commonality in their experience, support one another and flip "peer pressure" on its head for positive change. Schools are an appropriate setting for groups as this is where the children are, the structure of groups is analogous to the classroom and costs can be kept minimal through available space and personnel. This project includes a proposed 8 session group to be run in schools with girls aged 14-18 that focuses on intuitive eating practices as a tool to navigate body image distortions, gaining adaptive skills that will support them through many trials and tribulations to come.
group therapy , self-esteem , body image , intuitive eating
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess