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Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a condition where the person spends a large amount of time worrying about their appearance or perceived flaws. These 'flaws' are often not observed by other people, but the person is unable to escape their negative thinking. This becomes an obsessive pattern leading the student to develop low self-esteem and confidence, which affects their ability to perform in school. While this is a SEN which falls under mental health, we feel it is important enough to merit its own section.

Some researchers have found BDD is related to eating disorders, but whereas eating disorders mostly focus on the size and shape of the whole body, BDD sufferers tend to focus on the appearance of their face.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been found to be effective when dealing with BDD cases. Appearance has become increasingly an obsessive topic for teenagers with the growth in social media – a recent survey showed 16 – 25 year olds spend an average of 16 minutes and 7 attempts to take the perfect selfie!

As parents, it is important to show your child you value them for who they are and demonstrate this through words and affection. The Bright Heart Approach naturally uses warmth and understanding to create a supportive environment in which to learn, which can help students who suffer from BDD.

How our tutors approach students with BDD

Our tutors provide a calm and reassuring environment for students with BDD. We believe warmth is key to the process of making the student feel at ease, as well as gentle affirmation of their presence and work during the lesson. Tutors avoid discussing appearance in case any comment is interpreted negatively. A common problem with this condition is a lack of concentration, as the student is often thinking about their appearance and how they are perceived. This can also affect sleep and result in fatigue during the day. Our tutors help to bring focus to the lesson by ensuring the working environment is calm and peaceful. The tutor looks to build the student’s confidence and self-esteem during each lesson.