Group Therapy For BDD
Group Therapy For BDD
Chris Trondsen (Recovering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder) gives expert video advice on: How did you become involved in group therapy for BDD?; What happened at your first BDD group session?; What did you expect to see at your BDD group? and more...
How did you become involved in group therapy for BDD?
Since I was seeing an individual therapist for OCD and also working on the BDD, a lot of the BDD, this group thought that it would be really good for me to be with other people with BDD.
What happened at your first BDD group session?
I remember showing up, and seeing a group of seven people that were normal-looking. Some were more attractive than others, but everybody was normal. At least, how they should be born. And so I almost thought it was a trick. I thought it was some kind of therapist, that they had hired actors. I thought it was some kind of therapist weird ritual thing that was going to help me or something. And I was just so uncomfortable, because I'm like, "This is crap. These people are normal. They were born fine, their eyes are in the right place, their skin... Even if somebody had a pimple or something, their skin was at least whole. This is shit." I didn't want to be there.
What did you expect to see at your BDD group?
What I really expected to see In my BDD group was people like that might have been burned or like a cut victim or something and had something like genuinely wrong with them and couldn't get over how ugly they had become. So that's what I thought I had. I thought, I still didn't really understand desease and I thought I had become ugly with my horrible skin condition that nobody could understand and was worse than any dermatologist knew about. And so I thought I was going to see other people like that or maybe a burn victim or something like that, and we were all going to talk about how ugly we are and how were going to have this normal life even though we're uglier than everybody.
What was your initial reaction to group therapy for BDD?
When I first walked into that group I was so confused. I didn't know if I was in the wrong place. I'm like, I'm looking at all these people and everybody's normal looking. Not one person had some huge defect. I felt, like, betrayed. I was so, it was more like confusion and shock. I'm like "What am I doing in this group, how is this going to help me, and why I am I surrounded by normal-looking people?" So now I feel like the weird looking one and the one with the deformity. It almost felt cruel. I was like it's not fair.
What did you learn at your first BDD group?
The group had been going on for about three weeks before me so they had kind of already started meshing. And everybody kind of went around and introduced themselves and if they wanted to talk about their BDD, so that I could kind of hear and see what they are going through. So now I see all these normal people and they were talking about horrible skin or their face was uneven, or their lips were abnormal or they were balding and all this stuff. And I'm staring at them and I'm like, they're not really going through this and I knew they weren't acting anymore because just of the distraught in their face, how bad they felt, the things they were going through were exactly mirroring of what I was going through. So for me, it was just like, Oh my God, these normal people are having all these thoughts in their head about all these things that are wrong with them. But it's not really. Like is it just in their head? You know, it started to dawn on me like Ok, this is for real's.
Did seeing normal-looking people in your group help you realize you might look normal, too?
Yes, when I first saw people who were normal looking talking about BDD and saying they had already gotten enough treatment. So that had already knew at this point that it was a perceived problem. It wasn't actual, but they really felt it was. It started all making sense. And I began thinking, "Maybe I'm not as bad as I look?" It was never, "Maybe I'm attractive, and maybe I'm normal." It was more along the lines of, "Maybe I do have this skin problem, but I'm blowing way out of proportion to the point that it's affecting my life."
How did group therapy for your BDD help you regain hope?
I remember after the first couple of weeks of being in-group and really studying BDD and really understanding what it was, it was like lights turned on, angels singing halleluiah. I mean it was like, "This' me, I am comfortable, I am surrounded by people that are going through the same thing I am, who all have the common goal to get better and get their life together." And no longer was it just, "I'm going to live for my mom", and no longer was the words of the old doctrine in my head that I was going to spend the rest of my life not accomplishing but being able to minimally survive with my parent's assistance. It's like, "Wait a second, maybe I can do what these folks are doing and I can get on the path to getting better and having my life."
How did the people in your group inspire you?
When I got to group. It was just being, instead of talking the people that were giving me sure answers, like get over. It was people that could imagine what would happen if they were going thru it. And how they would get thru it. And so a lot of the problems,and fears, and the advise they gave me. Was base on the someone who was going thru the same thing I was going thru.
How did group therapy provide accountability for you?
In the group therapy There were people that had started looking up to me because I was getting better at a quicker rate than others, or I was getting treatment. And new people were coming in, and I was better, had gone through more treatment than them. Now they kind of looked up to me and I kind of looked at them, and it was like, if I take my life, if I give up, if I try to get plastic surgery to heal, these people are going to do the same thing, and I can't do this to them. I have to be the stronger person and get better so they can look at me and what I went through, and continue getting better.