Unfair to Compare

with Professor David Veale and Dr Rob Willson

A key process in maintaining the preoccupation and distress of Body Dysmorphic Disorder is that of comparing one’s perceived defect(s) against another person’ feature(s) (usually of the same age and sex). It is made worse by frequent comparing against others on social media and the internet. This sets in train the ranking of one’s feature(s) as being uglier than the other person’s. It strengthens the view of the self to be defined by one’s features and leads to constant doubts of exactly how one looks and more checking in reflective surfaces. In this session we will explore the motivation behind comparing and whether it really works in your best interests. We will consider if comparing can ever be helpful, alternatives to comparing, and strategies that will help you break out of the pattern of behaviour.

David is a Consultant Psychiatrist in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, where he directs a national specialist service for people with BDD & The Nightingale Hospital London in Marylebone. He is a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. He has co-authored a self-help book on Overcoming Body Image Problems including BDD and a treatment manual for BDD for professionals. He was a member of the World Health Organization’s International Advisory group for writing the new diagnostic criteria for OCD and related disorders such as BDD. He has been researching BDD for nearly 30 years and has published about 40 scientific and teaching articles in BDD. He was motivated to improve the care of people with BDD after the suicide of one of his in-patients with BDD in 1991. David is a long standing and highly valued Trustee of the BDD Foundation.

Dr Rob Willson PhD is a CBT therapist based in North London, with a special interest in BDD, OCD and Health Anxiety. He currently divides the majority of his work time between seeing patients, conducting research, writing and teaching. He is chair of the BDD Foundation. Rob has co-authored several books, including the bestselling ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Dummies’ and ‘Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder’. His main clinical interests are anxiety and obsessional problems, and disseminating CBT principles through self-help. He has featured in numerous newspaper and magazine articles and had made several TV and radio appearances.

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The Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation. Charity no. 1153753.