Cognitive-Behavioral Body-Image Therapy: Extended Evidence of the Efficacy of a Self-Directed Program

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Scientific investigations support the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in the treatment of body dissatisfaction across a range of populations. Grant and Cash (1995) used CBT with 23 extremely body-dissatisfied women and found equivalent and successful outcomes for body-image CBT administered in group therapy versus a self-directed format with only modest therapist contact. The present study compared Grant and Cash's data with those of an equally body-dissatisfied sample (n = 12) treated via Cash's (1995) CBT self-help book administered with minimal professional contact. The latter program produced significant improvements in body image and adjustment, without changes in body weight. Outcomes and levels of compliance were equivalent to those that Grant and Cash had found under conditions involving greater degrees of professional contact. The study's limitations and its scientific, clinical, and ethical implications for the use of body-image CBT are discussed.