Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for bulimia nervosa (BN). However, among patients with BN, symptom improvement is more pronounced for behavioral eating symptoms (i.e., bingeing and purging) than for body image disturbance, and the persistence of body image disturbance is associated with relapse. The need for more effective body image interventions led to the development of mirror exposure, which focuses on encouraging patients to view themselves in a holistic, nonjudgmental, mindful fashion. Behavioral manifestations of body image disturbance-body checking and avoidance-are also targeted in order to reduce and eliminate such behaviors and their associated preoccupation and distress. A preliminary trial of Body Image Exposure has shown promise, but it has not yet been tested in the context of CBT for BN. The case of "Sara" illustrates the application of this targeted treatment for body image disturbance. Central clinical issues around the perceptual, cognitive, and behavioral components of body image are delineated as they arose in treatment, as are issues of motivation and compliance. Treatment was associated with improvement in eating symptoms, body image, and mood.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology