News

No safety without emotional safety article

Professor David Veale, Professor Paul Gilbert and others are calling for a change of culture in institutions that prioritise physical safety over emotional safety. Their article ‘no safety without emotional safety’ has been published in the Lancet.

In the article they ‘explain how trying to control behaviour to increase physical safety in the short term can carry the unintended consequence of reducing emotional safety, which might in turn result in higher levels of stress and hopelessness.’

They ‘use examples from institutions with psychiatric inpatients to describe these processes…arguing that emotional and physical safety cannot be separated, and therefore that the absence of emotional safety compromises basic care either in an acute crisis or in the long term. Staff who fear being criticised, and so feel driven to take autonomy and responsibility away from patients, unwittingly undermine patients’ experience of being empathically understood and supported, adding to patients’ sense of emotional turmoil and lack of safety.’

They suggest that a change in culture and regulatory reform is required to bring psychiatric care more in line with the psychological needs of patients to achieve both physical and emotional safety.

Free link to the article is available for 50 days.

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Christmas Special Webinar!

This Autumn we are bringing you a new series of webinars covering new topics that we hope will be of interest and support to the BDD community.

Register your attendance for the live zoom webinar:

A lovely group of individuals with lived experience of BDD will be presenting a webinar on:

‘Managing BDD over the holidays’

With the holidays approaching (often a difficult time of year for anyone affected by BDD) we wanted to bring you a Christmas Special Webinar.

We have a wonderful group of people speaking about how they have managed (or not) during the holidays when living with BDD. They will share their experiences as well as discussing what helped them, what didn’t, and giving some hints and tips to family members about how best they can support their loved one.

We’d also like to recognise that not everyone experiencing BDD celebrates Christmas, and that depending on your background and culture there may be holidays or periods of time that involve similar pressures and triggers to what we talk about in the webinar. With this in mind, we hope that this webinar is still helpful.

Date: Wednesday 7th December

Time: 7-8pm GMT

Presenting: Andy Hall, Kim Booker, Mia Hill and Lawrence Baker.

To register your attendance please click on this link.


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Participants needed – Body Image & Ethnicity Study.

A new research study is exploring potential improvements to mental health education policy to prevent eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder in a more inclusive way.

This study is exploring the role of ethnicity and culture in body dissatisfaction and body image.

The study also will also explore how these types of difficulties (i.e. eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder) could be prevented in the future.

They want to talk to people who have the first-hand experience of body image problems and use their valuable insights and expertise.

Participants needed are: Young people who identify as female, aged 13-19 and from a South Asian background to chat with me about body image either in a focus group or a 1:1 chat.

The study is important because it could influence prevention strategies in the school environment which could stop young people from developing problems associated with body image such as eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder.

To find out more or to participate follow this link.

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Meet Robyn and hear her story

Robyn bravely shares her story. Starting with bullying in childhood, the development of the condition in her adolescence through to diagnosis and recovery.

“If you have Body Dysmorphic Disorder or if you have ever struggled with body image, I can’t emphasise enough, that you are more than what you see, you are more than your perception of appearance. You have other aspects of your life that make you up as a human being… There is help, there is support”

Meet Robyn Stern: She is a licensed clinical social worker in the United States specializing in treating BDD. She was formally diagnosed with BDD when she was 22 years old after several years of not knowing what was wrong with her, misdiagnosed with depression and anxiety and struggling to maintain day to day tasks and functioning.

“Life as a I knew it failed to exist, as my thoughts about my appearance consumed me and took away all the joy in my life; (family, friends, and school). The thoughts of my appearance being faulty, led me to feel defective, different, and just not sure how to navigate the world on a day-to-day basis.”

Robyn accessed evidence-based treatment and utilized Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy as well as more intensive psychotherapy with a licensed therapist:

“I have learned that BDD and my physical appearance do not need to define me and how I choose to live each day. The work while challenging has given me a place in recovery, which has allowed me to give to other people. I am extremely enthusiastic about understanding the complexities of this disorder because it took so much life from me, but most importantly, I want to help others.”

A day in the life with a person with Body Dysmorphic Disorder – Robyn’s story continues

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Participants needed – Research into Muscle Dysmorphia.

What does Muscle Dysmorphia mean to you?

University College London are looking to invite participants to take part in an interview to discuss their experiences living with Muscle Dysmorphia.

If you are a man aged 18-40, with an interest in taking part in the study please contact the principal researcher Omar: omar.aga.19@ucl.ac.uk

All information provided will be confidential.

Watch this video on the research project

For more information or to participate contact Omar: omar.aga.19@ucl.ac.uk

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Participants needed – Research into experience of video therapy.

Regent’s University are researching the experience of video therapy for clients experiencing body image dissatisfaction.

Contact Ema via email S18007279@regents.ac.uk

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New Autumn Webinar Series!

This Autumn we are bringing you a new series of webinars covering new topics that we hope will be of interest and support to the BDD community.

Register your attendance for the following live zoom webinars:

Robyn Stern will be presenting a webinar on:

‘Managing Social Media and BDD’

Navigating social media in an appearance focused world, having BDD.

Date: Wednesday 12th October

Time: 7-8pm GMT

Robyn is a licensed clinical social worker in the United States specializing in treating BDD. Robyn is a member of the BDD Special Interest Group for the IOCDF and conference planning committee for BDD for IOCDF. She was formally diagnosed with BDD when she was 22 years old after several years of not knowing what was wrong with her, misdiagnosed with depression and anxiety and struggling to maintain day to day tasks and functioning.

To register your attendance please click on this link.


Dr Sarah Sivers will be presenting a webinar on:

‘An Introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Principles for BDD’

This webinar introduces the six core principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and the concept of Psychological Flexibility. It is an opportunity to engage in activities to bring these principles to life and potentially discover a different way to approach interacting with BDD. ACT is a beautifully adaptable approach and it is hoped that some or all of the ideas will resonate and offer additional resources for managing day-to-day life with BDD.

Date: Wednesday 26th October Unfortunately we are having to postpone this webinar until January due to unforeseen circumstances.

Time: 7-8pm GMT

Sarah is a Child, Community and Educational Psychologist and a Chartered member of the British Psychological Society. She has been developing her skills using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), both personally and professionally, for a number of years. In recent months she has welcomed the opportunity to connect with an online BDD group and an in-person retreat day to share ACT principles and think with others about how these ideas might support their lived experience of BDD.


Arie Winograd alongside Dr Nicole Schnackenberg be presenting a webinar on:

‘The Neglected Trauma of Neglect: Considering Emotional Developmental Trauma in the Etiology of BDD’

Emotional developmental trauma is often neglected when treating clients with body dysmorphic disorder. Unlike tangible traumas, emotional developmental trauma is about what did not occur rather than what did occur. Most BDD sufferers have experienced at least some degree of emotional developmental trauma, and many are not even aware that something was missing in the first place. It is essential to work through this neglected trauma in order to achieve the best prognosis for long term recovery from body dysmorphic disorder.

Date: Wednesday 2nd November

Time: 7-8pm GMT

Arie is the founder and director of the Los Angeles BDD & Body Image Clinic. He has dedicated his entire career to the treatment of body dysmorphic disorder. In 1998 he initiated the first body dysmorphic disorder studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. These seminal studies were only the beginning of his many years of working extensively with individuals with BDD. As author of the book Face to Face with Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Psychotherapy and Clinical Insights, he regularly lectures nationally and internationally on the subject. His formal psychotherapy background includes graduate studies completed at Pepperdine University as well as six years of clinical experience at the UCLA Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Intensive Treatment Program.

Dr Nicole Schnackenberg is a Child, Community and Educational Psychologist, a psychothe­­rapist, a 200-hour Hatha yoga teacher and a certified Kundalini yoga teacher with extensive training in yoga therapy. She currently divides her time between her role as a psychologist at Southend Educational Psychology Service, her position as a trustee of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation and of the Give Back Yoga Foundation UK, and her facilitation of the Eat Breathe Thrive yoga programme for food and body image issues. In addition to her contribution to projects at the Minded Institute, she also works with the Special Yoga Foundation in London and is a director of the Yoga in Healthcare Alliance.

To register your attendance please click on this link.


Dr Amita Jassi and Dr Elif Gocken will be presenting a webinar on:

‘Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with BDD’

This webinar will explore how BDD presents in autistic people and discuss ideas for how cognitive behaviour therapy can be adapted for this group to optimise treatment outcomes. There will be a Q&As slot and an opportunity for discussion.

Date: Wednesday 9nd November

Time: 7-8pm GMT

Amita is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and lead for the National Specialist BDD service for young people at South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. She has worked with young people with BDD, OCD and related disorders since 2006. She has authored several books on OCD and BDD and published peer-reviewed papers in this field. Amita is also a valued and actively engaged trustee of the BDD Foundation.

Elif is a clinical psychologist working at National Specialist BDD service for young people at South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. She has experience in teaching on Doctoral Clinical Psychology and CYP IAPT courses as well as training NHS professionals in identifying and working with mental health difficulties. She has a particular interest in autism research in clinical and subclinical groups and has approximately 10 years of research experience in this area. She is a trustee for Autism Forward which is a charity supporting funding for specialist employment mentoring for individuals with autism.

To register your attendance please click on this link.


Scott Granet, Chris Trondsen & Robyn Stern will be presenting a webinar on:

‘BDD and Relationships’

BDD and relationships, yes you can have them. Navigating relationships with BDD.

Date: Wednesday 16th November

Time: 7-8pm GMT

Scott has been practicing adolescent and adult psychotherapy for over 35 years since receiving his Masters degree at New York University. He is known for his commitment to increasing professional and public awareness of OCD and body dysmorphic disorder. Author of Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Mine and Yours: A Personal and Clinical Perspective. He has also written various articles, presented at numerous U.S. and international conferences, and has appeared on national and local television and radio shows. He is a clinical social worker in private practice and in June 2008 opened the OCD-BDD Clinic of Northern California in Redwood City.

Chris is on the board of directors at the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF). Chris is also the vice president of OCD Southern California and is a leader of the IOCDF’s BDD and LGBTQ+ Special Interest Groups. Chris’s passions include expanding BDD awareness and education and addressing LGBTQ+ issues in mental health treatment.

Robyn is a licensed clinical social worker in the United States specialising in treating BDD. Robyn is a member of the BDD Special Interest Group for the IOCDF and conference planning committee for BDD for IOCDF. She was formally diagnosed with BDD when she was 22 years old after several years of not knowing what was wrong with her, misdiagnosed with depression and anxiety and struggling to maintain day to day tasks and functioning.

To register your attendance please click on this link.


Dr Rob Willson & Micky David will be presenting a webinar on:

‘Muscle Dysmorphia’

Sadly, George Mycock who was scheduled to take this webinar had to pull out.

We now have leading expert, Dr Rob Willson who will present on Muscle Dysmorphia in conversation with Micky David who has lived experience.

Date: Wednesday 23rd November

Time: 7-8pm GMT

Dr Rob Willson PhD is a cognitive behaviour therapist based in North London, with a special interest in OCD, BDD and Health Anxiety. He co-authored with David Veale and Alex Clarke the self-help book Overcoming Body Image Problems including BDD. He first became involved in research on BDD 20 years ago. Currently, he divides his time between private practice and conducting research on improving the understanding and treatment of BDD. He is currently the chair Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) Foundation, the world’s first charity exclusively devoted to BDD. Prior to building his own practice, Rob spent twelve years working at the Priory Hospital North London where he was a therapist and therapy services manager.

Micky is an actor and writer. His current project Bulking Up is a short film that follows the character of Danny as he embarks on a rigorous twelve week bulking regime in the hope of finally making peace with his own reflection. The film aims to raise awareness of muscle dysmorphia in men and the catastrophic consequences the disorder can have on men’s lives. The film is partly based on Micky’s own experiences and is set to shoot in early 2023. Micky’s most recent project was playing one of the leads in Battle Over Britain, a feature film about a squadron of spitfire pilots during the Battle of Britain. The film is due to be released late 2023.

To register your attendance please click on this link


Professor David Veale will be presenting a webinar on:

‘Olfactory Reference Syndrome (ORD)’

This webinar will give an overview of ORD, which consists of a preoccupation with a perceived foul or offensive body odour or breath (halitosis). The perceived body odour is either unnoticeable to others or appears very slight to an observer, so that the concerns are completely disproportionate to the smell, if any. An individual with olfactory reference disorder typically tries to check how he or she smells by repeatedly checking his or her body, changing clothes, seeking reassurance; attempts to camouflage the perceived odour by using perfume or deodorant, or prevent it by frequently bathing or brushing teeth, or by changing clothes, or by dieting or unusual food intake; or avoids situations or activities that are anxiety-provoking (e.g., being close to an another person). It is very distressing and can be very interfering in one’s life. ORD is uncommon but has a lot of overlap with the problems in Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Not a lot is known about the optimum treatment of ORD, but it is likely to be similar to BDD and OCD, namely Cognitive Behaviour Therapy that is specific for ORD and SSRI medication.

Date: Wednesday 30th November

Time: 7-8pm GMT

David is a Consultant Psychiatrist in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust and Nightingale Hospital London in Marylebone. He is a Visiting Professor at the Department of Psychology, King’s College London. He specialises in obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), health anxiety and a specific phobia of vomiting (emetophobia). I am also interested in the rapid treatment of depression using Wake and Light Therapy and nutritional psychiatry. He is also a long standing trustee of the BDD Foundation.

To register your attendance please click on this link

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BDD in the workplace

The BDD Foundation have teamed up with the charity Mind’s blog ‘Mental Health at Work’ to discuss the impact of BDD at work and how employers can make reasonable adjustments for those affected.

You can read the article by following this link.

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Beating BDD Podcast #27 – Eva Fisher

“When I had BDD, 90% of my self-worth was tied up with my appearance. Now, it’s 10%.”

Eva has been recovered from BDD for 20 years, so brings loads of wisdom and experience to this episode. (Which is number 27, not 26, as I say in the intro!)
It’s a little different from the others in that Eva tells us her story directly, in four parts.


You can download the transcript for this episode here:

Channel 4 – concerns over lack of support for those with BDD

This week Channel 4 highlighted the need for more support and specialist centres to help those with a Body Dysmorphic Disorder diagnosis.

Victoria Macdonald interviews a young woman with BDD and her mother about the experience of developing BDD through to diagnosis and then specialist treatment at the Maudsley Michael Rutter Centre.

The show also highlights the recent parliamentary inquiry and report into the impact of body image on physical and mental health.

Our wonderful trustee, Dr Amita Jassi, who is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Maudsley Michael Rutter treatment centre, was also featured. She explains what Body Dysmorphic Disorder is, some common symptoms and how treatment can help.

Watch the show

To find out more about how you can access treatment on the NHS follow this link.

For more advice and support you can contact our e-helpline: support@bddfoundation.org

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The Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation. Charity no. 1153753.