Adolescent Females in Therapy & Body Image

When I sit down to chat with adolescent girls and young women, I will almost always ask something like "How do you feel about your body?"

The answer is typically, "Oh I hate my body!" 
My response then goes to, do you hate your feet? 
No, I don't hate my feet. 
How do you feel about your ankles? They're OK, laughingly.
How about your legs? Well my thighs are too muscular. 
OK how do you feel about your rear end? Oh I hate my rear end. Why? 
"Well, hmmm..." and now in almost every case she will actually start to think about her answer. 
I move onto all the other body parts:  what do you think about your face. Oh I hate my face. Really? How do you feel about your nose. 
My nose is OK. What about your cheeks. OK eyebrows. I hate my eyebrows. They're too light. How about your hair. My hair is I like I really like my hair. 
Then I moved to a bigger scope question. Do you think you're cute? Pretty? Ugly?

 This exercise is not intended for me to get anywhere specific or to provide an analysis; only to give words and language to thoughts and beliefs that are knocking around in her head, perhaps causing self-hate, feelings of inferiority or low confidence. 
The questions are very specific and will allow her to give voice to something that she's thought or felt without consciously understanding...these are negative, low-level background self-criticisms. 
So, in the case of a very poor body image were able to break it down, right-size her subjective and highly critical body image. 
A positive shift may look something like this at the end: "I think I'm attractive but I really dislike one of my specific physical attributes that, most likely I have no control over i.e. shape of a nose or color of  hair.
This line of inquiry is revealing, valuable, therapeutic - and will begin the process of seeing one's self from a more objective position, even self-compassionate! 
And, it is much more effective than simply complimenting her ("But you are so beautiful. Trust me!"). Those words are meaningless if she has not internally challenged her own belief system.

Calling All Worry Warts

Are you addicted to worry in? Worrying is a mentally habitual behavior.  
In some families, to say "I'm worried about you" means I love you. 
It can be a value- I really really love you therefore I'm really really worried about you. 
But, in fact, worrying is a useless feeding frenzy, a marinade of toxic internal stress. 
Have you ever seen a couple experiencing a huge external stressor (home loss, death of loved one, addiction, illness), in a family crisis? 
One is the worrier and one is not. 
Yet, you can visibly watch the worrior age before your very eyes, while the non-worrier, although he is concerned and engaged, often looks fresh as a daisy. It's a rapid aging process behavior, much like we joke about our presidents graying hair during their term.
Find new things to do with your beautiful vibrant brain!