BODY IMAGE THERAPY AT YAHARA HEALING

 
Image by Nikhita Singhal

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO CHANGE YOUR BODY TO HEAL. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LOSE WEIGHT, DIET, OR EXERCISE TO BE WORTHY OF CARE. 

Not all approaches to body image and relationships with food are the same in our field. Many people in larger bodies and folks experiencing disordered eating in bodies of all sizes seek physical and mental healthcare treatment based on recommendation or concern expressed by doctors, loved ones, or past therapists, only to be met with treatments that rely heavily on anti-fat bias. This approach is traumatizing, dehumanizing, and life-threatening.


Our practice acknowledges the systemic trauma that fat individuals experience and we welcome clients who would like to work through trauma caused by anti-fat bias in the medical system and within the culture in general. We prioritize body diversity and provide treatment based on your identified needs. This may mean working through trauma caused by systemic anti-fat bias, or it may be simply providing a safe space for you to work through the issues of your choosing without having to focus on body size as a moral, medical, or personal failure. 

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

Part of healing the trauma of a fat-phobic society is moving away from triggering and harmful relationships or environments. In order to heal this trauma, the first step is seeking safety from the source inflicting the damage, which is difficult in our current cultural climate. Most of us have been raised and live in anti-fat biased environments that continue to enforce systemic and internalized fat phobia. We are committed to providing mental health care that is safe from the continued trauma of diet culture and anti-fat bias. 


Here are a few of our commitments to you: 


We will provide a safe, non-judgmental space to talk about your relationship with your body and movement. We will not assign moral value or fitness level based on your body size or physical ability. We will not suggest exercise to offset calories, to change the shape or size of your body, or do anything other than provide a physical outlet for emotions or fun. Movement is not a punishment and can be harmful if done with the wrong intention. 


We will support you in your right to enjoy food. We will not demonize foods or prescribe “healthy foods” or “clean eating” as an antidote to distress, nor will we  support the idea of “food addiction.”  Human bodies of every size need calories from food to live; you cannot be addicted to something that sustains life. We acknowledge that different foods have different nutrients, and we may also challenge you to discuss the social, emotional, or familial value of certain foods. 


We will hold space for you to express a desire for your body size to be different and to grieve that it's not. We recognize that everyone is at a different place of understanding their relationships with their own bodies, the bodies of others, and the systems of knowledge that inform those relationships. We will never judge you for participating in diet culture and its practices that tell us that fatness is shameful and unacceptable. Healing your relationship with food and your body cannot be done without exploring your cultural assumptions about fatness as a negative descriptor. We will help you identify and challenge those assumptions in ways that can help you make lasting changes to your relationships with yourself and the world around you.