Creation of Body Image
Updated: Nov 3, 2021
Before we start trying to change how you experience your body, we first have to understand
how body image is created. It is very literally a brain issue. Imagine that I ask you to close your
eyes and hold out your hands. In one hand, I put a stapler. In the other, I put a tennis ball. You
would clearly be able to identify the items, without opening your eyes. Why? Because of how
The touch receptors in your hands send information to the sensory and motor cortices of your
brain, which are located between your ears, across the very top of your head. Your brain takes
this information and forms images and compares those images to the memories of things you’ve
seen and touched before. When you open your eyes, the visual information confirms the image
in your brain.
It is this feedback loop, the interaction between your senses and memories, that allows you to
identify the objects in your hands. Body image is created in the same way. Your brain is
constantly collecting information about your body in time and space. It uses this information to
tell you what you need, how to move, and when something is wrong. Normally, this is a
beautifully efficient process.
Unfortunately, many, many things can disrupt the process and result in a disrupted experience
of your own body. Trauma, eating disorders, social anxiety, weight swings and many others
change the structure and function of your sensory and motor cortices. I don’t have to tell you
that the consequence is profound psychological pain. It is the mental equivalent of walking on a
broken leg. The pain is overwhelming, constant, and corrosive.
The good news is that the brain is plastic. We can change this feedback loop and create a more
accurate, less painful experience of your body.
If you’d like to talk more or see how I might be able to help, please schedule an appointment or
check me out on social media!