Body Image Concerns

Body image refers to the psychological experience of one's body.  Generally speaking, we are all born neutral thoughts and feelings towards our bodies.  Although anyone who has spent time with a baby or young child knows how fascinated they can be with their bodies, spending hours sucking on their toes or looking at their hands as they move through the air.  Over time, factors such as parent attitudes towards the body and societal ideals regarding shape and size tend to mold and shape one's body image, leaving some with more negative attitudes and feelings towards their body. 


When addressing one's body image, we explore how it developed.  For instance, how did their person's caregivers treated their body when growing up. For example, was the person attended physically, were they touched, what comments were made about their body, all the way to were they neglected. Then we have cultural issues such as our current "thin is in" society where women are portrayed as unrealistically thin in the media. It is a complicated issue.


We can break down body image into 3 separate aspects. There is perception, attitude, and behavior. Perception is what the person sees when they look at their body. Attitude is their feelings about what they see, and behavior is what they do about their attitude. From birth, babies take notice of their bodies. In fact, this is the way they begin to formulate a separate sense of self.