Office for University Outreach

Outreach and Engagement Highlights

New Community Lecture Series to Begin with Talk, Workshop about Healthy Body Image

New Community Lecture Series to Begin with Talk, Workshop about Healthy Body Image Inspired by her students, Sona Dimidjian is organizing a community lecture series to facilitate conversations about mental health and wellness.

Sona Dimidjian, University of Colorado Boulder associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, taught Women’s Mental Health to CU undergraduates last year and was repeatedly inspired by the enthusiasm of students to create a world in which girls and women were less vulnerable to the social pressures that influence health problems like eating disorders and depression.

“The CU undergraduates in my classes have such passion for learning ways to contribute and create a healthier world. When one of my graduate students sent me a link of a TEDx talk by Carolyn Becker, I knew it had something of value to share with the CU and Boulder communities,” Dimidjian said. “In that moment, the idea for a lecture series that would share the latest scientific research and facilitate conversations among clinical scientists and community members to enhance and support mental health and wellness was born.”

The first of such events will be led by Becker, a body image expert and professor of psychology at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, on Thursday, April 17, and Friday, April 18. Organized by Dimidjian and funded by a grant from the CU-Boulder Outreach Committee, CU-Boulder will host two community events presenting the latest psychological research aimed at helping girls and women embrace a healthy body image and reduce body dissatisfaction.

The public is invited to a free community talk, “Helping Girls and Women Develop Healthy Body Image,” on April 17 from 6-8 p.m. in the Wolf Law Building, Room 206. There, Becker will discuss more than a decade’s worth of research on developing and disseminating proven strategies to prevent eating disorders and develop healthy body image. She will provide steps for freeing individuals, particularly women and girls, from excessive focus on physical appearance and celebrating one’s capacities.

“Think about all of the women and girls in your life…and think about how much time and energy and emotion (they) spend disliking their bodies,” Becker said in her TEDx talk. “Imagine what we could do with all of that time, energy, emotion, and money if we were to have them be happy with their bodies.” 

Following Becker’s lecture, there will be a panel discussion moderated by Dimidjian and featuring community experts, including:
-- Jeanne Cooper and Megan McDonald, counselors from Boulder Valley School District,
-- Craig Johnson, the chief clinical officer from the Eating Recovery Center in Denver,
-- Malia Sperry, founder of La Luna Center in Boulder, and
-- Tina Pittman Wagers and Samantha Strife, CU-Boulder faculty leading a program to promote healthy body image and prevent eating disorders.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is encouraged. Register at: http://www.regonline.com/beckertalk2014.

Becker also will lead a workshop for clinicians and educators on April 18 from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the University Memorial Center. The workshop will introduce participants to a dissonance approach called “The Body Project,” a body image improvement program that has been found to reduce onset of eating disorders in high school- and college-age females. The workshop will review existing research support and provide experiential training in delivering core components of “The Body Project.” 

The workshop registration fee is $95, with a discount for students and Boulder Valley School District counselors and staff.  Scholarships for the workshop are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For possible discount, email your name and title to crest@colorado.edu. To register, please visit: http://www.regonline.com/beckertraining2014

For more information about the body image talk and workshop or other upcoming events, email crest@colorado.edu or call 303-492-7378.

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