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Body Politics, Fatphobia, Weight, & Society for Clinicians

  • Wednesday, March 06, 2019
  • 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Forest Hills of DC | 4901 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington


Registration is closed

Presenter:  Paula D. Atkinson, LICSW |

Category 1 | 3 CEUs

Description: This professional development workshop is open to everyone and is based on a course I teach at George Washington University called Weight and Society. In this afternoon, clinicians and participants will be learning about the epidemiology, anthropology, economics, sociology and history of weight-related stigma. Thin idealism, fat phobia, size bias and weight stigma are incredibly prevalent and insidious in our society, leading to eating disorders at worst but also depression, food addiction, exercise compulsion, body obsession, and many other mental health issues. Participants will be encouraged to investigate their own internalized fat phobia and how it can affect clients. Participants will be exposed to the Health At Every Size, fat acceptance, and body positive movements, and given clear instructions on how to work with clients of varying body sizes from a size inclusive, non-diet perspective. To prevent further suffering of people of all body sizes, mental health professionals must take the lead in fighting fat phobia in clinical settings.

Workshop Objectives:

  1. Understand the psychosocial aspects of fat phobia, weight, body, and size stigma in the U.S., using a broad range of social sciences including epidemiology, anthropology, economics, sociology and weight-related research
  2. Understand weight issues in current society, the definitions for weight status (BMI, obesity), and the actual relationships between weight and health, including mental health
  3. Discuss the relationship between weight ideals, perceptions, concerns, body image, self-esteem, and identity in the U.S. and our clients
  4. Discuss one's own internalized fat phobia and size bias
  5. Investigate these factors and how they influence health and identity, and can lead to food addiction, eating disorders, body obsession, exercise compulsion, etc.
  6. Provide therapy for clients of all size with a non-diet, body positive, size inclusive approach


12n - 12:30 Introductions
12:30 - 1:30 History & Economics of Dieting, Body Ideals & Measures of Health
1:30 - 1:45 Break
1:45 - 2:30 Fat Phobia & Eating Disorders
2:30 - 3:00 Health At Every Size, Fat Acceptance, Size Inclusive Approaches

Recommended texts

Cawley, J. (2011). Oxford Handbook, The Social Science of Obesity, on reserve at Gelman library.

Rothblum, E., & Solovay, S. (2009). The Fat Studies Reader, New York University Press.

Bacon, L. (2008). Health At Every Size. Benbella Books.

Brownell, K.D., Puhl, R.M., Schwartz, M.B., & Rudd, L. (2005). Weight Bias: Nature, Consequences,and Remedies. New York: The Guillford Press.


Participants are encouraged to bring meals, if they'd like. Please note no refreshments will be served.
PO Box 711 | Garrisonville, VA  22463 | 202-478-7638 |

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