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Be a self-lover, not a self-hater

In our column and podcast series, Professor Sarah Niblock, CEO of the UK Council for Psychotherapy, explores challenges that affect us all. This month, how negative body image can manifest as life-changing anxiety, and how it reflects our feelings about our emotional selves
PHOTOGRAPH: PÅL HANSEN. HAIR AND MAKE-UP: CARL STANLEY

Most of us have something we would like to change about our physical appearance but, for an increasing number of people in today’s image-saturated world, it is an obsession wreaking havoc on our self-esteem. For some, the pressure to look a certain way can, if left unchecked, affect our mental health to the point of crippling anxiety. It can lead to compulsive actions, from extreme diets and excessive exercise to plastic surgery, even when there is no underlying health issue. Some therapists work with clients who feel so ashamed and distraught about their bodies that they self-harm or consider taking their own lives.

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