Body Image Counselling

Get Relief from Negative Messaging, Challenge Distortions and Rebuild Self-Compassion

Healing Body Image Through Counselling

It’s no secret that our society makes it hard to accept our bodies. Relentless advertising, social media expectations, and messages from the people we love about how we’re supposed to look, all affect how we think about ourselves. Body dissatisfaction is extremely high among both women and men, and it significantly impacts one’s quality of life. 

But if you’re one of the many people struggling with body image, you can heal from these negative thoughts. Body Image Counselling will help address the problem of body image at the source, understand the root of the issue and provide relief from negativity to see yourself in a more positive light.

What is Body Image?

At its most basic level, body image is simply what a person thinks, feels, and believes about their body. However, it’s also an important part of personal identity, so these simple facts become fraught with meaning, especially in a society that bombards us with harsh messages about bodies and how they affect our worth.

Body image involves an individual’s thoughts about the size and shape of their body, their perceptions of how others see them, the actions taken to care for their body, and the methods used to monitor, alter, or conceal it.  Body image, among other factors such as genetics and culture can also influence eating disorders. The feedback received from people in their social circle, the media, and social media plays a significant role in influencing these aspects.

Clearly, body image is complex. Modern society poses numerous challenges to cultivate a positive body image, and many individuals are raised in environments fostering negativity and anxiety regarding their bodies. The prevalence of such struggles might lead one to dismiss them as an inevitable part of life. Nevertheless, there are compelling reasons to actively counteract negative body image.

working with a therapist can help you get to the core of body image issues, challenge distortions, examine negative messaging and build self-esteem and compassion



Signs of negative body image, body image therapy, symptoms of body image

How Counselling Can Help With Body Image

The painful thoughts and emotions that come with a negative body image can feel inescapable. After all, your body is there for every part of your life, and persistent, damaging beliefs about it can colour your whole life.

But it is possible to make peace with your body. There are different therapeutic approaches you can use to help you see things differently, including supportive talk therapy, CBT, ACT, and EMDR Therapy. Here are some of the ways a therapist can help you free yourself from destructive messages and beliefs.

Examining Negative Messaging 

The first messages we hear about our bodies come from our families. Parents and other relatives speak disparagingly about their own bodies, giving children a negative association with being overweight or different in any way. These messages can also be directed at children. It’s not uncommon for family members to criticize the bodies of young children and warn them that there are consequences of not being vigilant about maintaining a certain appearance.

In therapy, with the help of your counsellor’s outside perspective, you can take a closer look at the internalized messages you grew up with. Are they true? Are they helping you or hurting you? Parents often pass along the beliefs they grew up with, not intending to cause harm, but their experience doesn’t mean you have to continue that cycle.

Challenging Distortions

Unrealistic images of bodies are nothing new. Ads and other media representations have long presented manipulated pictures, leading people to judge themselves by unattainable standards. But these days, those unrealistic images have invaded our lives in overwhelming numbers.

Social media sites swamp users with edited photos that make it look like everyone else has a perfect life and a perfect body. Especially for adolescents and young adults, this has been shown to have a negative impact on how they see themselves. In fact, research shows that simply reducing social media use significantly improves body image in this age group. 

In therapy, you can come to understand the motivations behind these images. Businesses flood people with negative messages about how they look because it’s an effective way to manipulate them to buy their products. Not only is it impossible for the average person to look like that, it’s not even possible for the people in the pictures to look like that. Filters and photo editing create pictures that are literally unreal. 

Therapy can help you change how you look at these images, and help you set up boundaries to protect you from the messages they promote.

Self-Acceptance & Compassion

A therapist can help you challenge the distortions in your thinking that make you believe that your appearance is unacceptable. There are many ways to think about our bodies and what is important about them. Learning to appreciate your body for what it does, how it works, and the sensory gifts it gives you is a powerful way to escape the message that your value lies in how you look. 

How Therapy can help with body image, body image therapy

Counselling can help you reframe the beliefs that tell you your body is unworthy of acceptance and love. You can let go of shame about how you exist in the world and truly appreciate the body you live in

Why is Body Image Important?

Although people tend to assume that women are the ones who struggle with this issue, research shows that it’s a significant problem for men as well. In developed countries, body dissatisfaction in children and adolescents is already astonishingly high. Studies vary, but it’s between 35% and 85% among girls and 16% and 55% in boys. 

This negative self-image is important because it can lead to a heightened awareness of perceived flaws, making people feel rejected because they believe others are judging them. It negatively impacts their mood, self-esteem, social functioning, and occupational functioning. It’s also a significant contributor to the development of serious and sometimes life-threatening disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, and body dysmorphic disorder. 

Individuals within the LGBTQIA+ community may encounter added challenges concerning body image. According to the NEDA, the onset of eating disorders in LGBTQ+ individuals may be shaped by factors like discrimination and bullying, discrepancies between an individual’s body and their gender, encounters with violence and subsequent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Our Therapists Can Help You Work Through Body Image Issues

You do not have to live under the burden of beliefs that were handed to you through your life experience and the media. Let the experienced professionals at Trillium Counselling help you overcome these challenges. To schedule an appointment for body image counselling, please contact us today.

Contact us to Book an Appointment or Consultation

Your First Step to a Path Made Clear

Picture of Katelyn Regier - MSW RSW
Katelyn Regier - MSW RSW

Katelyn is a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW). She holds a Master of Social Work Degree from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Hons) in Criminal Justice & Public Policy from the University of Guelph. Katelyn’s work and passion is centered around creating a safe space where you can feel supported and not alone in your healing journey. Everyone’s path to recovery looks different, and it is Katelyn’s goal to walk with you as you discover what this path looks like for you.

Our Therapists

Book an Appointment or Consultation With One of Our Certified, Trained and Experienced Therapists 

Local Therapist, Kitchener Waterloo Counselor, Kait Stamcos, MSW RSW

Kait Stamcos

Registered Social Worker,

Kait's commitment to tailoring approaches to each client ensures a personalized therapeutic experience, fostering growth and resilience

Therapist, Counselor, Megan Hendry, MSW RSW

Megan Hendry

Registered Social Worker,

Megan is deeply honoured and grateful to have the beautiful opportunity to walk alongside and support her clients as they face some of life’s gravest obstacles, and help to promote healing and lasting change within their lives

Therapist, Counselor, RSW, Trillium Counselling, Psychotherapist, Caroline Brousseau

Caroline Brousseau

Registered Social Worker,

I will help you feel proud to be who you are, and work towards a solution that is adapted to your own specific personality, values and dreams

Therapist, Counselor, Rosemary Victor, MSW RSW

Rosemary Victor

Registered Social Worker,

Rosemary believes that people are resilient, and that people can adapt and find hope in the most difficult of times, when they receive the support that they need.

Therapist, Counselor, Katelyn Regier, MSW RSW

Katelyn Regier

Registered Social Worker,

I strongly believe that everyone has the capacity for change already within themselves – I aim to empower individuals towards their unique goals in ways that are meaningful to the life they want to live

Psychotherapist - Bradley Vasquez

Bradley Vasquez

Registered Psychotherapist

Brad believes that people are capable for change and have the strength to do so within themselves. He is thankful for the opportunity to work with clients in achieving their goals and supporting them throughout their journey

Amy - Clinical social worker MSW RSW

Amy King

Registered Social Worker,

Whatever your goal for therapy, Amy’s down to earth, client-centered, collaborative approach will help you work through the changes that you want to bring to your life, while developing deeper insight and strengthening resilience.

Registered Psychotherapist, Counselor, Catherine Lynn Roach, RP

Catherine Lynn Roach

Registered Psychotherapist

My goal as a therapist is to help my client’s reach the goals that are important to them. I am passionate about helping my clients feel safe enough to explore their concerns and how together we can achieve their goals

Local Therapist, Kitchener Waterloo Counselor, Megan Pass MSW RSW

Megan Pass

Registered Social Worker,

It is an honor to be in a position to support and empower people when they are vulnerable by helping them recognize their own strengths and teach healthy coping skills

Local Therapist, Kitchener Waterloo Counselor, Melanie Baker, MSW RSW

Melanie Baker

Registered Social Worker,

My goal is to support the person you are today in the process of becoming who you want to be—and maybe, rediscovering who you always were. I believe that when we make space for difficult things, we create room for change, growth, and joy.

therapist - Michelle

Michelle Wikerd

Registered Social Worker,

I recognize how much strength and courage it takes to reach out for help in times of suffering. I’d be honoured to be apart of your journey towards wellness

Therapist - Devon Jorge

Devon Jorge

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist & Clinical Director

My passion for truly understanding people’s personal experiences, feelings and their challenges go back as far as I can remember, and allows me to provide the best support possible during times of need

Therapist, Counselor, Milena Urbanajc, MSW RSW

Milena Urbanajc

Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist

We all aim to live life to the fullest, but sometimes there is something that may be holding us back, and this is what we aim to work out in therapy