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Virtual Reality and its Potential for Treating Eating Disorders and Body Dysmorphia
Body dysmorphia is often the first to arrive and the last to leave and its almost always holding hands with an eating disorder. It is an insidious misperception of oneself that causes suffering for thousands of Americans. Body dysmorphia in combination with eating disorders are difficult to treat because they challenge one's view of themselves. In many cases one must master the art of mistrusting their own sense of their physical body while rebuilding their bodily awareness. It's a complex set of diagnoses that is often accompanied by alexithymia, an inability to recognize emotions, and poor interoception, the awareness of one's own bodily sensations. There is also a disconnect of one's kinesthetic awareness where an individual struggles to correctly identify how much space they take up. Cognitive behavioral therapy and its derivatives are the most common treatments along with exposure and self-compassion work. Virtual reality may be able to take these treatments to the next level. In this presentation we will learn about some of the tools already on the market for treating eating disorders & body dysmorphia through VR and the research endorsing is effectiveness.

Aug 19, 2022 10:00 AM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Andrea Piazza, LMHC
Director of Virtual Programming @Center for Discovery
Piazza is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. She is a certified Telemental Health Director & Coordinator. Her clinical experience centers on working with the historically underserved, LGBTQIA+, special needs, eating disorder, trauma, and substance use communities. Piazza began working with Discovery Behavioral Health as a graduate school intern for Center for Discovery, DBH’s eating disorder division. She was hired as a therapist by the treatment center post-graduation and has remained committed to the growth of the organization. Piazza stepped into a new role as Discovery Behavioral Health’s first Director of Virtual Programming in 2021. She is avidly working to enhance and expand the company’s telemental health virtual programming. Piazza is committed to developing state-of-the-art telemental health training, enhancing the virtual curriculum to make it even more engaging, and cultivating partnerships that will support increased access to care for thousands of Americans.