Body Image Anxiety and Body Dysmorphia Group Therapy

6-week group program with Emma Vaughan and Dr Toni Pikoos

Join Clinical Psychologists Emma Vaughan and Dr Toni Pikoos in this 6-week group program designed to develop skills to manage anxiety around body image and appearance, including Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).

The benefit of the group program is you can practice and learn new skills in a non-judgemental and supportive environment with individuals experiencing similar concerns. If you’re anxious about the group, we get it, you can share as little or as much as you like about your personal circumstances. There will be about 8 people in the group.

The course follows a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) framework to support you to better understand your appearance-based anxiety and work on practical ways to improve the way you relate to your body.

The course will help you to develop a deeper understanding of your body image concerns, learn how to reframe and challenge negative thoughts about body image, and practice hands-on methods to shift and refocus attention away from yourself and on to activities that are important to you.


Starting October 2023

Where: 66 Whitehorse Rd, Deepdene

Cost: $900, or $699.30 after $200.70 Medicare rebates.

A standard Mental Health Care Plan referral from a GP provides Medicare rebates.  If you have reached the Medicare Safety Net you will also receive additional rebates, whereby you may be as little as $135 out of pocket and receive $765 in rebates.

If you’d like to enrol or get further information about this course, please fill in the below form or call us on 9039 2177.


If you’re like most people with body image concerns, you might have found that your efforts to change or fix your appearance (through diets, exercise, surgeries or skincare products) haven’t been as successful as you would like. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the gold standard treatment which works on changing the way you feel about yourself, without having to change how you look first. Research evidence suggests that around 50-80% of people with BDD experience significant improvement in their symptoms after undertaking CBT.

During therapy, you are likely to learn to re-focus your attention away from yourself and re-engage with activities that will improve your mood and your life. Many people come to view their negative self-image of their looks as a bad memory from the past, such as bullying or teasing. To help reduce self-consciousness we use specific attention-training exercises. To further fight back you will be asked to resist comparing your appearance, to stop ruminating, test out your fears without camouflage and stop rituals such as checking and excessive grooming. Many people find it helpful to think of CBT for BDD as training in how to stop being bullied by their BDD and to re-direct themselves into all the other aspects of living that are important to them. The main side effects of the treatment are the anxiety that occurs in the short term. However, testing one’s fear gets easier and easier and the anxiety gradually subsides.

This 6 week course will be small in size (max. 10 people), provide you with formal and informal strategies to improve your body image anxiety, as well as a practice journal and take-home handouts.


Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is currently the most effective evidence-based treatment for individuals experiencing BDD or body image anxiety. CBT has been associated with several benefits such as:

  • Decreased concern with perceived flaws in physical appearance
  • Reduction in repetitive and time-consuming behaviours
  • Improved performance in professional and social activities
  • Reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety that may accompany body image concerns.
  • Being more compassionate towards yourself and others
  • Re-engaging with activities that are important you to you!

The added benefit of the group environment may allow you to connect with other individuals experiencing similar concerns, and practice new skills in a safe and supportive environment.