CBT for Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is defined as a preoccupation with a perceived defect in one’s appearance, which is not noticeable to others.  People with BDD usually feel ugly, that they are ‘not right’ and are very self-conscious. As a result they often engage in a number of ‘compulsive behaviours (safety seeking) behaviours such as mirror gazing, camouflaging, skin-picking, ruminating or constant comparing of one’s defect to others. They often believe that others will see what they see, laugh ridicule and ultimately reject them. Such clients are often socially isolated, have a poor quality of life, and are at high risk of committing suicide, particular amongst males.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) can often be a complex and somewhat perplexing condition for both sufferer and therapist alike.

This workshop should be helpful for those who have existing CBT skills, but not necessarily with BDD presentations specifically. It could also be helpful for those who have existing experience of working with clients suffering BDD, but wish to refresh their knowledge of applying cognitive behavioural approaches.

This workshop aims to help clinicians understand more about the nature of BDD. Through group discussion, role play and other experiential methods we will explore ways of engaging and treating this client group, using evidenced based interventions.

Learning outcomes:

  1. Recognize and diagnose BDD and differentiate it from other disorders including social phobia, eating disorders and depression/low self-esteem
  2. Learn/Develop skills of assessment of BDD
  3. Understand a cognitive behavioural model of BDD and the factors that maintain the symptoms including the function of processes such as mirror gazing, comparing self with others; being excessively self-focused; camouflaging one’s appearance; monitoring and avoiding social threats such as shame, rejection and ridicule from others.
  4. Devise strategies for engagement and change in BDD with a focus on ceasing ruminating and comparing, dropping of avoidance and safety seeking behaviors’; mirror retraining, attention training and imagery re-scripting for aversive memories.
  5. Identify common difficulties (‘roadblocks’) and management of same.


Debby Cranston

Debby is both a RGN/RMN by profession and has been working in the NHS in a variety of clinical settings for over 30 years. She originally practiced Motivational Interviewing and specialized in treating client’s suffering from addiction for many years; she later went on to train as a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist (Bsc Hons) at Kings College, qualifying in 2006.

For the past nine years Debby has worked as a senior cognitive behavioural psychotherapist at the Anxiety Disorders Residential Unit, a nationalist specialist unit, alongside Dr David Veale providing Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for those suffering from treatment refractory OCD, BDD and other difficult to treat anxiety disorders. Her professional interests include training, supervision and working with clients whom present with complex presentation, using a formulation driven, trans-diagnostic approach to treatment.

Additional Information

Cancellation & changes policy

If you cancel more than 14 days prior to your booked event, we will refund your fee minus a charge of 15% to cover our administration costs. We regret that cancellations 14 days or less before the booked event cannot be refunded or changed/transferred.

If you wish to change/transfer your booking after confirmation we will do our best to accommodate you if you notify us 14 days prior to your booked event, and if there is space to do so. However there will be an administration charge of £15 per change/transfer.


Workshops often contain clinical material. This is always anonymised as far as possible but delegates are none the less reminded to respect confidentiality.

All that is discussed in your therapy sessions will be treated as confidential, with the following exceptions.
We are required to seek supervision by our professional body (The British Psychological Society or equivalent) as a means of ensuring good practice. We will usually inform your referrer of your progress, but the details that we disclose will be discussed with you. We do have a statutory obligation to break confidentiality under rare circumstances, namely, if we believe that a client is of danger to themselves or to others (under the Mental Health Act, 2001) or if we believe that a child is at actual risk of physical or sexual abuse (The Children Act, Section 47, 1989).

If we felt that it would be helpful to request additional medical, social or legal information, we could only do this with your consent. Similarly, should another medical, social or legal professional request information from us, we would not release this without your consent.


OCTC makes every effort to ensure that this programme is delivered as advertised. However, should a presenter have to cancel, we will endeavour to find another suitable presenter. We will inform attendees as soon as is reasonably practical and, if requested, will offer a refund. In the rare event that we are unable to substitute a presenter, we may cancel a workshop and refund payments already made by attendees. OCTC will not refund travel and accommodation costs that attendees may incur.
All the workshops in this programme are carried out by highly experienced therapists and trainers. The individual presenter is responsible for the content of the workshop and any views expressed do not necessarily represent those of OCTC.
Although highly informative, none of the open workshops or workshop series confer a formal qualification or assurance of competence in CBT (or a specialist area of CBT) since we are unable to assess attendee competency within the training event. However, credit and award-bearing courses that lead to formal qualifications are offered by OCTC in conjunction with the University of Oxford. More about these courses is available on our website www.octc.uk

Levels of competence

Before booking a place on a workshop, please ensure that it is pitched at the appropriate level of competence for you. The guide to levels is as follows:


Basic workshops are for people from a variety of backgrounds, who have at least one year’s clinical experience. Cognitive behavioural knowledge is not necessary for attendance at these workshops, though in practice, a number of attendees will have some skills in the area, and are refreshing/updating their knowledge.


Intermediate workshops are directed towards people who already have knowledge of CBT, and experience in using cognitive formulations and treatment methods – for instance, they are able to identify and test automatic thoughts, and design behavioural experiments. Most participants will be using CBT as part of their clinical practice, and may still be acquiring new CBT skills.


Advanced courses are directed towards those professionals who use CBT routinely as part of their clinical practice. They have probably undertaken a significant number of training courses and/or workshops, and use a broad range of cognitive behavioural strategies to work with a range of presentations at varying levels of complexity.

Making reservations

Bookings can only be considered confirmed after we have received your online registration or application form and payment (or invoicing details, including an official purchase order document). Please note that registration to workshops closes 7 days prior to the event date.

If you are booking a workshop place for someone else, you must complete your own details in the billing field, but ENTER THE WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS NAME/ADDRESS in the shipping field. If you wish to order items using a paper order form instead of online, you can view or download an order form in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. Once downloaded, print it out, fill it in, and send off with your payment [cheque made payable to OXFORD HEALTH NHS FOUNDATION TRUST] to the address on the form.


The cost of the workshops includes hot drinks on arrival, mid-morning and mid-afternoon, but not usually lunch unless stated. However, for workshops that do include lunch, if you have any special dietary requirements please let us know at the time of application.

Special needs

We welcome applications from diverse backgrounds. If you have any particular needs, please contact us
prior to booking.