New support group works to combat negative body image

Counseling and Substance Abuse Services interns create new open discussion group to increase self-esteem on body image perception (Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons via Charlotte Astrid).

Counseling and Substance Abuse Services interns created a new open discussion group to increase self esteem on body image perception. (Photo courtesy of Charlotte Astrid via Flickr Creative Commons)

Anyone can look in the mirror and dislike the image looking back.

To combat negative body image, Counseling and Substance Abuse Services clinical counseling interns Lauren Silver and Liz Waggoner created an open discussion group that focuses on body image. The new formed group will meet every Monday at 3 p.m. in suite 300 of Robert Scott Small. “It’s open to everyone. Males, females, everyone,” Silver said. “Basically what we do is have a topic of some of the ones we discussed. Have a discussion and possibly include some self esteem interventions.”

Each group meeting will focus on a different topic from the influence of social media on perceived body image to the difference between a diet and an eating disorder. “It’s not structured. It’s very informal. We have a discussion,” Silver said.

Originally Silver and Waggoner wanted to create a group that focused primarily on eating disorders. “But then,” Silver said, “when we thought about our clients, we wanted to make it broader. We decided we just wanted to speak about what [the students’] view of beauty is, what body image is and what is healthy.”

Waggoner adds, “Body image is something everyone is conscience of. It’s something you can discuss in an open forum. Influences on body image are an important topic to talk about.”

When asked about their goals with the creation of this group, Waggoner said, “I’d like to increase self-esteem in our clients and awareness about the pervasiveness [of the media and other factors].”

Silver said, “To be a critical consumer of media, advertisement. Just because you see it doesn’t make it real. Achieving that [image] won’t make you happy or fulfilled.”

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