258: Negative body image, interview with clinical psychologist Miriam Emad

We were having lunch with our amazing friend Miriam Emad (also an amazing clinical psychologist). Ahhh we have the best chats and from this 2-hour love-filled catch up we realised we need to get her back on the Get Merry podcast. STAT! We couldn’t wait, so today we’re sharing an interview with Miriam from our MerryBody Online Summit. During this chat we discuss all things negative body image.

In this interview, you’ll gain a psychologist’s perspective on negative body image. You’ll also leave with ideas and ways to deal with your negative thoughts around the way you look.

Miriam talks about where and when negative body image originated and how it’s adapted in our modern society, why we compare ourselves to others and how we can begin the practice of just observing our body rather than forever judging and criticizing it.


Stuff we talked about…

  • Self-restricted dieting dates all the way back to the 13th century due to lack of resources. It was the women who would first deprive themselves so they were able to provide for their families.
  • During industrialisation, as women began work and do hard labour, they became darker skinned and muscular. However, in this time being frail and pale was an upper-class statement, “There was this real cultural idealisation of thinness from that point because it became an upper-class statement, so women started to strive to be frail and pale.”
  • Now everywhere you look whether you’re opening Instagram or a magazine, from such a young age you are being exposed to countless frail models. So it’s only human for you to ask, “Why don’t I look like this?”. 
  • After this action of comparing ourselves and because we don’t look like the model we label ourselves ‘bad’ or ‘not quite right’ or ‘not good enough’.
  • Miriam talks about changing our perspectives. To practise not defining anything as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but change to non-judgemental language like ‘I am’ and ‘I exist’.
  • Welcoming this change from harsh self-judgement to non-judgmental and non-labelled, we put ourselves in a space where we don’t have to love something about ourselves to accept it.
  • Miriam talks about moving away from ‘how does my body look’ to ‘how does my body work’.

If you’d like to contact Miriam you can chat to her via email at… [email protected]

More about Miriam Emad, clinical psychologist

Miriam is a registered psychologist and holds a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology. She is experienced providing individual and group-based psychological interventions to clients with complex needs across a range of settings, including private practice, psychiatric hospitals, and outpatient services. Her work has spanned alcohol and other drugs, harm reduction programs, and adolescents and youth.

Miriam’s clinical practice is focused on supporting clients with severe mental illness to live meaningful and productive lives. She has worked extensively with individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, mood disorders, and complex trauma. Miriam is especially skilled in assisting patients to enhance emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness.

Check out all the Get Merry Podcast episodes on iTunes and Overcast and Stitcher for Androids. Plus we are on Spotify over HERE!

Always merrymaking,

Emma + Carla

P.s if you ever need further help or guidance please contact Lifeline or Beyond Blue. Asking for help is pure courage. 

Feature image by Billie on Unsplash

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