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Research into the use of Virtual Reality in the treatment of BDD

Have you had CBT for Body Dysmorphic Disorder? If yes, then Kings College London would like to hear from you about using virtual reality in the treatment of BDD.

King’s College London aims to find out whether people with BDD think using Virtual Reality (VR) in treatment would be useful, whether they have concerns with such methods, and the effects of specific VR features on treatment. The information gathered will go towards investigating new treatment pathways and improving existing treatments for BDD.

You can take part in this study if:

  • You have had CBT for BDD
  • You are over the age of 18
  • You are fluent in English

What will you be asked to do?

If you choose to take part in this study, King’s College will invite you to a focus group with a small number of people who have BDD. You will be asked to discuss your thoughts and opinions with other participants on questions asked by the research team. The focus group session will last up to an hour and will be online on Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

If you are interested in participating and would like to find out more about the study, please contact the team using the contact form:

Contact form

Please note that enquiring about participating and registering your interest does not commit you in anyway.

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Cosmopolitan interviews Dr Rob Willson & Kitty Wallace from the BDDF

Have you had CBT for Body Dysmorphic Disorder? If yes, then Kings College London would like to hear from you about using virtual reality in the treatment of BDD.

The article covers the signs and symptoms of BDD, the experience of living with the condition, treatment, recovery and how to access help via the Foundation.

Dr Rob Willson, Chairman of the BDD Foundation shares his expertise:

Explaining the first signs and symptoms of BDD to look out for, Dr Willson tells us they usually see the “person spending more and more time thinking about, being distressed about and carrying out behaviours related to their appearance.”

Kitty Wallace, Head of Operations, shares her experiences:

From the moment I woke up, to the moment I went to sleep, my mind whirred with the same thoughts over and over. I worried that people would judge me for how I looked, but I was equally as worried that they were judging me because I cared about how I looked. I really couldn’t win. Some days the thoughts were so overpowering, I couldn’t leave the house. Everyone around me just thought I was going through a phase. Something I’d grow out of. I didn’t.”

To read the full story click on this link

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Raise money for us by taking part in Nightrider

Have you had CBT for Body Dysmorphic Disorder? If yes, then Kings College London would like to hear from you about using virtual reality in the treatment of BDD.

Nightrider gives you the rare chance to explore the capital in the dark, on two wheels! You have the choice of a 50km or 100km route which will take you past the best sights in London, including Tower Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace. There’s full support along the route and regular breaks are provided. You’ll also be rewarded with a well-earned breakfast and medal at the finish.

Professor David Veale has signed up to cycle the 100km through London on Saturday 11th -12th June. Will you cycle with him to raise money for the BDD Foundation?

You can choose to cycle either 50km (takes about 3-4 hours with stops) or 100km (6 to 8 hours).

It will cost you £58 to register. For this you will receive free water and snack stops, mechanical support and marshals along the route. You’ll also be rewarded with a well-earned breakfast and medal at the finish. You’ll make friends and hopefully lifelong memories. It begins and ends in the Velo Park in Stratford. Highlights include cycling through Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, the Royal Opera House and the London Eye.

The charity will help you make a fundraising page and agree minimum target for you to raise with lots of tips.  A lightweight road or hybrid bike is recommended. The minimum age for participants is 16. Those under 18 will need to provide a letter of consent from a parent or guardian.

To ride for the BDD Foundation, email fundraising@bddfoundation.org

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Crowdfunding – ‘Strength in Numbers’ film

Have you had CBT for Body Dysmorphic Disorder? If yes, then Kings College London would like to hear from you about using virtual reality in the treatment of BDD.

Ben McLaughlin is a filmmaker from Philadelphia who has experienced body dysmorphia for 5 years now, and who now hopes to make a difference within the BDD community. He believes that the best way to do that is through a PSA campaign, titled ‘Strength in Numbers’, that shows the daily experiences of individuals that also deal with this condition.

“I have suffered from a hyperfixation on my body for years and it’s something that, at points, has dominated the state of my mental health. My goal with this project is to tell individual stories to broaden our communities’ knowledge on Body Dysmorphia and how it affects specific people. Your experience is unique to who you are, but you are not alone.”

McLaughlin and his crew of filmmakers are currently crowdfunding for the first PSA that showcases the stories of individuals with body dysmorphia. The film will tell John’s story- Ben’s best friend who inspired the campaign. It will follow his journey with muscle dysmorphia and the obsessive tendencies that come with it.

Not only are Ben and his team crowdfunding for the production of the piece, they are also donating 20% of each donation to the BDD Foundation.

This production is through Typo Film House, a start-up production company based in Philadelphia that McLaughlin has co-founded with four other passionate creatives. They need your help to share this important message with the world!

Please support the PSA by following this link and donating.

You can also stay up to date with the PSA and their other upcoming projects on Typo’s Instagram @typofilmhouse

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Parliamentary Inquiry on the impact of body image on mental health

Have you had CBT for Body Dysmorphic Disorder? If yes, then Kings College London would like to hear from you about using virtual reality in the treatment of BDD.

MPs are examining the relationship between people’s perception of their body image and their physical and mental health. They will consider how far people’s perception of body image can hinder access to NHS services and whether NHS training and Government messaging should be altered.

As a charity we are incredibly supportive of this inquiry and we believe it could be the start of real change.

We are proud to say that four individuals associated with the BDD Foundation provided witness evidence for this inquiry.

Kim Booker has bravely shared her experience of Body Dysmorphic Disorder and how idealised images in the media as well as cosmetic treatments have played a part in the development and maintenance of her BDD

Watch her brave testimony.

Dr Georgina Krebs, who is an Honorary Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor of Young People’s Mental Health and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, at University College London. She speaks on eating disorders and Body Dysmorphic Disorder including Muscle Dysmorphia in her evidence.

Watch her evidence here (go to around 10:47 minutes)

Nyome Nicholas who was involved in our Monki campaign on Selfie Love and petition calling for transparency on altered images online, James McVey from the band the Vamps and others also gave evidence on this.

Charlie King, an ambassador for the BDD Foundation gave evidence on his experience of BDD, bullying in childhood and plastic surgery that went wrong. You can watch his evidence here.

Sign our Petition on Change.org

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The Mirror shines a light on BDD

Have you had CBT for Body Dysmorphic Disorder? If yes, then Kings College London would like to hear from you about using virtual reality in the treatment of BDD.

Danny told how a crippling mental health issue caused him to drop out of school and become housebound for several months as he was convinced he looked like a ‘monster’.

The condition caused him to perform a number of daily rituals, including scrubbing his skin, spending hours in front of the mirror and taking endless photos of himself in an attempt to look perfect.

Danny, who is now studying towards a PhD in mental health policy, told the Mirror: “I couldn’t leave the house because I was worried that people would be terrified of me, and that prevented me from engaging in anything.

“Because I was a man, I didn’t think I could suffer from a body image disorder. But I’m lucky that I got the help I did when I did. It enabled me to get my life back”

Danny believes that the lack of awareness around BDD has also led to an increase in common misconceptions – the main one being that the condition is born from vanity.

34-year-old Kitty Wallace, who developed BDD in her late teens and since turned her struggle towards campaigning as Head of Operations at the BDD Foundation, said that the condition dictated every decision and movement she made growing up.

“I would spend eight hours trying to get ready, and still wouldn’t feel like I could leave the house and be seen. I felt so grotesque, so unusual. It was really scary.”

On the BDD Foundation Kitty explained that “we’ve got people visiting our website from all over the world because we are the only charity and website fully dedicated to it.”

Kitty points to the importance of specialised treatment for those who are diagnosed with BDD.

“The recommended treatment for BDD is specialised cognitive behavioural therapy. The reason I highlight specialised therapy is that a lot of people are just referred for generalised CBT for anxiety or depression.”

To read the full story click on this link

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We are hiring!

Have you had CBT for Body Dysmorphic Disorder? If yes, then Kings College London would like to hear from you about using virtual reality in the treatment of BDD.

About the role

We are looking for a remote admin assistant to work 1-2 days a week, over a 5 week period (mid-June to mid-July).  One week of that will be training alongside our Head of Operations.

The main responsibilities will be fielding general email inquiries (media, fundraising, volunteering) whilst our Head of Ops is on leave. There will be some miscellaneous tasks such as overseeing social media posting and scheduling and website updates.

We invite applications from people with lived experience of BDD or OCD, or of caring for someone with BDD or OCD.  Applicants should have excellent written and communication skills as well as experience of using Outlook, Word, Instagram and Twitter.  Knowledge of Canva and Mailchimp preferable.

There is the potential for this role to be extended beyond the 5 week period.

How to apply:

Please submit your CV and a personal statement which highlights the following to info@bddfoundation.org :

  • Your (direct/indirect) experience with BDD/OCD
  • Why you would like to apply for this position
  • Your relevant experience
  • What relevant skills and qualities you have

Deadline for applications is 16th May

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Fempower Health Podcast on BDD

Have you had CBT for Body Dysmorphic Disorder? If yes, then Kings College London would like to hear from you about using virtual reality in the treatment of BDD.

Fempower Health is a podcast offering frank conversations with women’s health experts investigating important, often misunderstood women’s health topics empowering women to become the CEO of their health.

In this episode, the following elements are covered:

  • Body Dysmorphia Definition, including how similar or dissimilar it is to anorexia and bulimia
  • Body Dysmorphia Test
  • Body Dysmorphia Symptoms
  • Body Dysmorphia and Social Media
  • How to help someone with Body Dysmorphia

The relationship to the routines that I had was an issue and nobody caught it. The meaning I made was an issue and nobody caught it. I believed what I believed internally. – Rachel Koutnik

Listen Now

About Dr. Amita Jassi

Dr Amita Jassi is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the National and Specialist OCD, BDD and Related Disorder Service for Children and Young People (South London and Maudsley NHS Trust). She has worked with this client group since 2006. Amita is the lead for the BDD branch of the service as well as the research lead for the clinic. This is the only specialist service for young people with BDD in the UK.

In her clinical role, she develops and delivers individually-tailored treatment packages, including intensive, home-based and inpatient treatment, as well as offering consultation and joint work with clinicians around the country.

Amita has taught and trained nationally and internationally on child and adolescent OCD and BDD. She is the author of several books including ‘Appearance Anxiety: a Guide to Understanding Body Dysmorphic Disorder for Young People, Families and Professionals’ and ‘The Parents’ Guide to Body Dysmorphic Disorder’. She has She has over 35 publications in peer reviewed journals on OCD and BDD and engages in media work to increase awareness and understanding of these conditions. Amita is also a trustee for the BDD Foundation charity.

About Rachel Koutnik

Rachel Koutnik, LCSW is a therapist in private practice in Los Angeles, California. Rachel has been a practicing therapist for 12 years with a background in community counseling with children, adults and families, and emergency room crisis work. She currently works with teens, adults and couples providing outpatient therapy, as well as part time work with adults in an intensive outpatient substance abuse recovery center. Rachel identifies as a wounded healer and has also been in recovery from Body Dysmorphic Disorder and other mental health struggles for the past 20 years. Her own healing journey has led to her integrative approach of evidence based and holistic healing methods.

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Living the Exposure Life

with Elias Marchetti

My name is Elias Marchetti, I’m 21 years old and now at university studying oceanography: I love the ocean, having been an avid sailor for over ten years now. My favourite hobbies are watching movies, photography, hanging out with friends — and playing fetch with my dogs! CBT — Cognitive Behavioural Therapy — is an essential tool for overcoming OCD and BDD. While it may seem daunting at first, it really is an incredible help to being able to return to living life to the fullest. CBT changed my life for the better and really allowed me to be the person I was before having BDD and OCD. Living the exposure life by pushing yourself and doing exposures whenever you can is an amazing way to keeping healthy and free of BDD and OCD.

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‘The devil is in the detail’

with Elias Marchetti

Georgina is an Honorary Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor of Young People’s Mental Health and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, at University College London. Her research interests include developing novel, evidence-based methods for delivering cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) in young people, and understanding factors that interfere with recovery in order to inform the development of new treatment approaches.

Body dysmorphic disorder shares many features with eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa. Previous research has found that people with anorexia nervosa show a tendency to focus on detailed features within visual images, and this means that they sometimes struggle to see ‘the bigger picture’. This is an important issue because a detailed-focussed processing style could fuel appearance concerns and poor body image. In this talk I will summarise our recent research looking at whether body dysmorphic disorder, like anorexia nervosa, is linked with this detailed-processing style. I will also discuss potential implications for treatment and recovery.

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The Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation. Charity no. 1153753.