Body image is a topic that I often get asked to talk and to teach about. It’s a rising concern amongst both boys and girls and many parents and teachers have asked me to recommend resources they can use to help promote positive body image. I’ve found these to be fairly thin on the ground so I was very excited to receive my copy of ‘Banish Your Body Image Thief’ which looked like a promising and practical workbook for building positive body image in boys and girls.
I was not disappointed. The book is authored by Kate Collins-Donnelly who is a practising counsellor and has applied many of the practical aspects of her work to this book to make it possible for young people to access the benefits of cognitive behavioural therapy and understand and change their thoughts about their own bodies. The book is full of case studies and exercises which can either be carried out by an individual or worked through one to one with a trusted adult. Some of the activities would be perfect to adapt for use with a whole class too and I can imagine dipping into the activities throughout the school year to help build body confidence over a series of tutor periods or adapting them for use as part of circle time.
The book is aimed at boys and girls aged 10-18, though I think it could be used by slightly younger children (perhaps 8+) with support and guidance. It starts off by helping young people to understand what body image is and why it’s important before considering negative body image and the impact a negative body image can have. Alongside this, the concept of the ‘body image thief’ – who steals positive body image – is introduced and practical strategies for banishing the thief are explored.
- What is body image?
- Your body image
- You’re not on your own
- How a negative body image develops: introducing the body image vault and the body image thief!
- How a negative body image develops: Influences
- How a negative body image develops: Thoughts
- How a negative body image develops: Feelings
- How a negative body image develops: Behaviours
- Impacts of a negative body image
- Banish your body image thief: An introduction
- Banish your body image thief: Managing your thoughts and beliefs
- Banish your body image thief: Managing your Behaviours
- Body image dos and don’ts
- Summing up
- Information for parents and professionals
The activities and case studies are all presented in an accessible and friendly style (click on the images on this page to see them zoomed in). The book is beautifully presented and I can imagine a young person being very motivated to complete the activities. Whilst it is designed as a self-help guide to be completed sequentially from beginning to end, I think there is plenty of scope for confident parents and practitioners to cherry pick relevant activities or sections where time is short or where there is need for a rapid and specific focus.
The author is careful to point out that the book is not suitable in place of therapy for children who have developed more serious concerns such as body dysmorphic disorder or eating disorders, however, I think that therapists, school counsellors, pastoral staff and parents may find that it is a useful addition to the recovery toolbox.
Title: Banish Your Body Image Thief: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy workbook on Building Positive Body Image for Young People
Author: Kate Collins-Donnelly
List Price: £14.99
Length: 240 pages
This book is available worldwide in paperback format.