On Friday, Tiffany interviewed LCSW, and fellow therapist Robyn L. Stern on the Moments of Clarity show.
Robyn specializes in the treatment of eating disorders and body dysmorphia disorder. (BDD). She was drawn to that specialty through her own experiences as a young person, including terrible bullying by her peers, and goes on to explain that much of what we think we know about body dysmorphia falls well short of a true understanding of it.
Robyn goes on to explain that it’s common for people to think of it as someone who just doesn’t like their looks, and that is all. But it’s much more. Yes, it often displays as a focus on how we look to others, but it’s also a deeper issue where the client feels a complete lack of worth and value. The attempts to gain some sort of control over their bodies becomes the one thing they can “change” to make themselves appear to be worthy, all the while “knowing” that they have none, and never will.
Robyn’s explanation, I think, helps us to understand how our typical responses to someone diagnosed with BDD, or with an eating disorder, are inadequate. When we focus on helping them accept the way they look, we are only truly brushing the surface of these feelings of unworthiness. We aren’t getting at the root of the issue, and what a lack of self-worth truly means.
This is why Robyn also advocates to include treatment for trauma as part of the treatment for BDD. She goes on to explain how her own time as a patient, taught her that the standard treatment will help, but will only, again, deal with the more surface issues. If we truly want to understand, we need to work on the issues that have caused this complete lack of self-worth.
In all, there’s a lot to learn in the show, and if you didn’t catch it the first time, I recommend you catch it below.
You can learn more about Robyn’s work here – https://www.rlsterntherapy.com