The Dilemma of Obesity Stigma in Psychotherapy
Date of Award
Graduate School of Professional Psychology
First Committee Member
Lynett Henderson Metzger
Second Committee Member
Behavior/CBT; Obesity Stigma; Psychotherapy; Case study
This paper explores the ways in which the growth of obesity in the United States is likely to impact psychotherapy, particularly in its implications for the management and awareness of obesity stigma in therapists' work with obese clients. Obesity poses a dilemma because no element of an individual's identity should be stigmatized in psychotherapy, and yet obesity impacts the individual's physical health and psychological well-being (Ogden & Clementi, 2010). As stigma specific to obesity is only beginning to be understood, the purpose of this paper is to examine obesity stigma through the lens of Erving Goffman's (1963) theories put forth in his book Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. A case example is offered as a means of understanding the therapeutic issue of weight loss and psychotherapy with an obese client, particularly from the standpoint of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
McDermott, Alexandra, "The Dilemma of Obesity Stigma in Psychotherapy" (2013). Graduate School of Professional Psychology: Doctoral Papers and Masters Projects. 71.