Body dysmorphic disorder is characterized by a preoccupation with a perceived defect or flaw in physical appearance that others cannot see. People with BDD perform repetitive behaviors in response to thoughts about their appearance. Some examples are mirror checking, excessive grooming, and reassurance seeking.
Using cognitive-behavioral therapy, you can learn to identify your maladaptive thinking patterns and relate to them differently. For example, those with BDD have extremely inflexible rules about how they should look, and only focus on negative aspects of their appearance. A variety of skills can be used to respond to these thoughts differently. Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is used to help you stop time consuming rituals, and reduce avoidant behavior so you can do what is important to you.
You will define the pace at which you will work on exposure tasks. When possible, ERP tasks will be practiced in the office so that you are coached through it. Practice between sessions is crucial to see good results. We may also take “Field trips” to complete ERP outside the office to wherever you experience triggers, including school, work, or public places.
Helpful Treatment Augmentations
Family therapy is often useful so that your family members have a plan to support you in ways that will help you reach your goals. We will address problematic behaviors that affect your relationships and interfere with your progress. Together, we will find alternative strategies that can help you.
Compassion focused therapy is useful for clients who feel guilty, are self-critical and lack self-compassion.
Medication can be a helpful addition to your therapy. If you are not currently taking medication for your anxiety, and we determine that it may be useful, a referral to a physician will be provided.