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Title: Weighing heavily on the mind : an exploration of how therapists construct and manage body weight within therapy
Author: Gray, Claire
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 9664
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2016
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This study sought to understand how dynamic and differential meanings of body weight are experienced and negotiated within therapy. Studies have demonstrated the operation of fat bias within therapy affecting clinical judgement and treatment planning (Brown & Rothblum, 1990; Davis-Coelho, Waltz & Davis-Coelho, 2000). Other than literature around eating difficulties (e.g. Bordo, 2009; Burns, 2004; Costin, 2009; Malson, 2009), there is a scarcity of research demonstrating how meanings of body weight shape the therapeutic process. There is however, research urging vigilance for the operation of body politics within therapy: culturally imposed oppressive meanings for the body that may inform embodied and subjective experiences within the therapeutic encounter (Allegranti, 2011; Soth, 2006; Totton, 2012). This research asked how are meanings of the body and body weight constructed by therapists? Using a constructivist grounded theory method (Charmaz, 2014) this study conducted 12 interviews with counselling psychologists and psychotherapists. The findings suggest that therapists construct a ‘self’ as a body in a space, interacting with meanings of body weight to claim an identity as a therapist. It demonstrates the existence of body weight prejudice in therapy settings, with some therapists sanctioning meaning-making in accordance with a culturally and institutionally approved body order.
Supervisor: Moon, Lyndsey ; Vos, Joel Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available