False Bodies, True Selves: Moving Beyond Appearance-Focused Identity Struggles and Returning to the True Self

Author(s) : Nicole Schnackenberg

False Bodies, True Selves: Moving Beyond Appearance-Focused Identity Struggles and Returning to the True Self

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : June 2016
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 352
  • Category :
    Eating Disorders
  • Category 2 :
    Individual Psychotherapy
  • Catalogue No : 37810
  • ISBN 13 : 9781782203964
  • ISBN 10 : 1782203966

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False Bodies, True Selves explores the phenomenon of growing numbers of people in western society and beyond completely embedding their sense of identity in their appearance. Unlike other books which address either theoretical models of appearance-focused identity struggles or explore lived experiences of appearance-based battles, False Bodies delves into both. Importantly, the spiritual aspects of what it is to become enemies with one’s body are given centre stage in the context of Donald Winnicott’s theory of the true Self and the false Self.

The book begins by looking at some of the myths, superstitions and fairy tales related to mirrors before moving on to western society’s current obsession with appearance, which seems to have been compounded by the mass media. After looking at some of the most common manifestations of appearance-focused anguish including eating disorders and body dysmorphia, it begins to unpick the possible underlying meanings beneath such struggles with a particular emphasis on issues of a systemic nature. The latter part of the book then moves on to the spiritual element of such psychological distress including the benefits of addressing appearance-based disturbances through a transpersonal lens.

Reviews and Endorsements

False Bodies, True Selves provides an exquisite account of the descent into various appearance related disorders and the arduous, multi-dimensional road towards profound healing. Unfolding the many personal and social dimensions of appearance battles, Nicole Schnackenberg beautifully narrates relevant neuroscientific research, psychotherapeutic theory, and metaphor, as she weaves the insight of her own excruciating journey throughout the book. As a human being I am richer for having read it, and as a therapist I now possess a clearer perspective of healing as I look through the lens of Schnackenberg’s profound vision.’
- Heather Mason, Founder of the Minded Institute

‘Nicole Schnackenberg’s book is thought provoking and insightful, giving a perspective on our cult of thinness and obsession with physical appearance. The challenge of deconstructing the norms we have created as a society, and the pressures consequentially put on both men and women, is an immense one. Nicole’s consideration and ideas have given this subject a very human perspective.’
- Caroline Nokes MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image

‘This is an outstanding and comprehensive work taking a transpersonal approach to engaging with body image disorders. Destined to be a classic, Nicole Schnackenberg’s book draws upon Eastern spirituality and Western psychotherapy to open up whole new possibilities for therapists and offer hope for anyone trapped inside a prison of their perceived physicality.’
- Richard Cox, director of T!M FREKE Publications and founder of Unbreaking the Mirror

‘A beautifully written book, containing a rare combination of academic rigour and compassionate understanding. Nicole Schnackenberg takes the reader on an insightful journey integrating psychological, philosophical and spiritual understandings of appearance-related identity struggles. This is both a highly readable and inspirational book offering a deep understanding of what takes us away from our true Selves, and most importantly, providing guidance for the path back.’
- Dr Samantha Bottrill, Senior Clinical Psychologist and Yoga Therapist for Mental Health, The Maudsley Child and Adolescent Eating Disorder Service

‘Written by an author who has both personal and professional insight, this book is both stimulating and engaging to read. It is a comprehensive, articulate and uncommonly sensitive work on the important (yet still woefully neglected) topic of distress about appearance. With a broad range of historical, literary and contemporary research based references, False Bodies, True Selves is an invaluable resource for those interested in body image and who want to better understand this fundamental aspect of being human.’
- Rob Willson, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and Chair of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation

About the Author(s)

Nicole Schnackenberg is a psychotherapist, teacher and therapeutic yoga practitioner based in Woking, Surrey. She currently divides her time between her role as a school counsellor in Guildford, her practice as a yoga therapist at Special Yoga Foundation in London, and her position as a trustee of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation. She is also working towards full accreditation in systemic family therapy and educational psychology.

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Customer Reviews

Our customers have given this title an average rating of 5 out of 5 from 2 review(s), add your own review for this title.

Dathen Boccabella on 20/10/2016 05:46:01

Rating1Rating2Rating3Rating4Rating5 (5 out of 5)

'False Bodies, True Selves' is boldly unafraid to question the assumptions and shortcomings made by traditional approaches to treating appearance-based struggles. Schnackenberg instead shows the multifaceted sets of circumstances that can lead individuals down the dark path to struggling against their bodies, while weaving her own emotional story with the relevant academic findings for a powerfully balanced perspective.

All too often contemporary treatment of low body-image focuses solely on outward improvements; that is, one's ability to function in daily life and society, regardless of the turmoil they feel. Where Schnackenberg shines is in offering a path to find real inner satisfaction through living connected to our True Selves.

It's incredibly readable; an essential resource for sufferers, their families and friends, researchers and therapists alike. The lessons here are widely applicable to all aspects of life beyond body-image. 'False Bodies, True Selves' is bound to make a more compassionate person out of us all.

Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD on 26/06/2016 15:43:37

Rating1Rating2Rating3Rating4Rating5 (5 out of 5)

"False Bodies True Selves", an intelligent, sensitive, poignant exploration of cultural and neuropsychological forces that shape our experience of our bodies, delves deeply into gender identity issues, body-related disorders such as anorexia, and social phenomena such as tattooing and skin lightening with toxic products. This interweaving of philosophy, psychology, art and science, informed by the writer's recovery from an eating disorder, serves as a guide as we wend our way towards our true selves. Beautifully written, informative, most highly recommended.

Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD
Assistant Clinical Professor in Psychiatry
New York Medical College
Co-Author of The Healing Power of the Breath, How to Use Herbs, Nutrients and Yoga in Mental Health Care, and Non-Drug Treatments for ADHD. www.Breath-Body-Mind.com

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