Counseling Center to tackle body image issues

January 31, 2013


Staff Reporter


Negative self body image issues is a growing problem in today’s American society.


The Counseling Center is now offering a support group on body acceptance from 4-5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Counseling Center.


The group is open to anyone interested and will continue to meet through the end of the winter quarter.


Jennifer Thibodeaux and Deborah Simpson, students in the counseling psychology doctoral program and Counseling Center interns, organize and conduct the group.


“The purpose of the group is to assist students in establishing an accurate self-mage, increasing their self-esteem, promoting an appreciation and desire for a healthy body and examining dietary concerns, eating behaviors and relationships with food,” Thibodeaux said.


According to the National Center for Eating Disorders, women experience an average of 13 negative thoughts about their bodies every day.


The counseling duo set out to alleviate issues with negative body images on Tech’s campus.


“This group has the potential to benefit students who are interested in improving their body image and acceptance,” Simpson said.


The counselors will implement evidence-based treatment techniques.


“We’ll be using cognitive behavior therapy methods to aid the students,” Simpson said. “The therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach that can be used to treat body image disturbances and is administered in a group setting with counselors, or the program can be more self-maintained by the patient through modest contact with the counselor.”


Melissa Woolworth, a sophomore health and nutrition major, said she plans on attending the support group.


“I believe that a huge part of body acceptance starts with what you put into your body,” Woolworth said. “In order for us to accept outside appearance we must take care of the inside health.”


Woolworth said she has struggled with weight issues throughout her life and knows how easily negative body images can affect life.


“Growing up I was called every fat insult you could probably think of,” Woolworth said. “As I got older I began having negative thoughts about my own self-image.”


Woolworth said she believes that mental counseling is the key when it comes to resolving negative body image issues.


“My high school guidance counselor was a huge part of my success and the counseling center will probably serve as the same medium in my journey to a positive body self-image,” Woolworth said. “I would encourage anyone to seek counseling for any problem they are facing.”


The counseling center specializes in providing a number of psychological health groups.


Females are not the only ones who experience issues with body image. Kelvin Spence, a sophomore marketing major, said he struggles with body image issues as well.


“Being a heavier set guy, I’m always conscious about how I look in my clothes,” Spence said. “A lot of people fail to realize that body image issues aren’t just limited to women. Guys have just as much to be concerned with when it comes to appearance.”


“This interest group is not just for women,” Thibodaux said. “Men and women face very similar body image issues. The need to be tall, dark and handsome weighs on them much like the need to be slim and beautiful does on women.”


Email comments to eae008@latech.edu.


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