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The Positive Power of Neutrality: Accepting Yourself as You Are

By: Heather Rizzo MSW, LCSW, Primary Therapist at The Renfrew Center of Southern New Jersey

Posted on July 08, 2019


On June 25, 2019, The Renfrew Center of Southern New Jersey held our summer alumni event focusing on the themes of acceptance, appreciation and body neutrality. We started off the group with a three-point check, using a body scan to just give each of us an opportunity to check in with ourselves and what we were bringing from our day into the workshop. We moved into a discussion around the differences between body negativity, body positivity and body neutrality. Many of our alumni shared how much they appreciated Renfrew taking a body neutral stance, rather than encouraging body positivity. Alumni also shared how neutrality not only feels more achievable, but also leaves them feeling more hopeful about their progress thus far and opens a door to be more authentic when they are struggling.

The final portion of our workshop was focused on a creative arts and movement activity, where alumni were welcome to partake in the creation of a body image spectrum mural where one side represents body positivity, the opposite side focused on body negativity and the middle was the gray area of body neutrality. We encouraged the alumni to work from one side of the mural to the other, using visual art mediums to create their mural. Once the piece was completed, each alumna chose a spot to stand that signifies where they felt they were in that moment. We closed the group with a discussion, in which our alumni agreed both body positivity and negativity seem to be the most focused on the physical aspects of appearance and caught up in thinking traps, while body neutrality allows for space to be more mindful and present-focused, with less consuming body image thoughts.

We really enjoyed having this workshop to hear such great feedback about how body neutrality can have a positive impact on our alumni each day. It is our hope that we can continue to support acceptance and appreciation for our bodies, while allowing for more time and energy to be focused on living our lives.

Heather Rizzo MSW, LCSW, started at The Renfrew Center of Southern New Jersey in May 2018 as a Primary Therapist. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and strongly believes in focusing on a strengths-based approach and trauma-informed work. Ms. Rizzo highly values The Renfrew Center Unified Treatment Model for Eating Disorders®, as she feels a great connection with CBT, DBT and Motivational Interviewing. During her time at Renfrew, she has enjoyed the opportunity to build not only her clinical skills, but also incorporate creative arts into her individual and group sessions.
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