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BODY DYSMORPHIC DISORDER (BDD)

UNDERSTANDING BDD

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?
Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a preoccupation with one or more perceived imperfections in physical appearance that are usually either unnoticeable or seem insignificant to others. Individuals with BDD often fear that they are unattractive and worry about being socially rejected. Common rituals include checking of specific body parts, excessive weighing, ritualized eating, comparing appearance to others, and reassurance seeking.
Common Characteristics of BDD Include:

Repeatedly checking or fixating on the perceived flaw(s) in the mirror

Excessive grooming rituals 

Feeling compelled to enhance appearance through surgery

Trying to camouflage insecurities with styling, makeup, clothing, etc.

Avoiding social situations due to appearance concerns

Comparing one's appearance obsessively to others

Questioning others directly or indirectly about appearance

Effective Treatment for BDD

This preoccupation with imagined defects causes significant emotional distress and interferes with daily functioning in work, social life, and relationships. While sufferers may briefly feel relief from compulsive behaviors, the anxiety quickly returns.


BDD impacts both males and females across socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. With specialized treatment, it is possible to overcome body image distortions. At our practice, we provide evidence-based care utilizing therapeutic approaches proven effective for body dysmorphic disorder, including:

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) focuses on cultivating psychological flexibility. ACT helps individuals develop a different relationship with difficult thoughts and make room for unpleasant feelings, and learn new ways to interact with them while making values-based choices in life.

Mindfulness Practices

Practicing mindfulness can help individuals develop a different relationship with their mind and learn how to observe their thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations without getting caught up in ideas and opinions. Being mindful means observing our inner experience non-judgmentally while staying present with what we have chosen to focus on.

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)

ERP approach entails individuals willingly confronting the very triggers and thoughts that provoke anxiety without engaging in rituals. Through consistent practice of exposure exercises, individuals will learn how to interact with their inner experiences and find new ways to cope with uncertainties. The goal is to help individuals live a fulfilling, values-based life while embracing uncertainty.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT helps individuals identify patterns of thinking often related to BDD, such as all-or-nothing thinking, mind reading, and intolerance of uncertainty. Interventions such as ERP, cost-benefit analysis, externalization of voices, and Socratic questioning are implemented in the treatment process.

READ MORE ABOUT BDD

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"I highly recommend Kulliki. As a therapist and a mother, she is empathetic and warm, which helped me connect right away with her and share my story. When we met her, I had unresolved anger and grief at becoming a mother and losing my independence that were impacting my relationship with my husband. Kulliki helped me express these emotions while realizing I was judging myself too harshly and provided me with tools and strategies for the times when I felt falling down in a rabbit's hole of self-judgement. I was able to reconnect with my husband and regained confidence and acceptance as a woman, a mom and a professional."

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