Training School 2 - Interventions to prevent or ameliorate appearance dissatisfaction: Examining the evidence

Venue: Bristol, United Kingdom

Dates: 30 June – 2 July 2014

This Training School will comprise participation in 2 workshops, attendance at papers delivered at the International Appearance Matters 6 conference and tutorials.


Workshop 1: ACT for Appearance anxiety relating to visible difference (This introductory workshop assumes no prior knowledge of ACT.)

Details: Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) is an empirically based psychological intervention which aims to help people commit to living meaningful and vibrant lives. An ACT approach assumes that suffering is a normal and unavoidable part of human experience and that people's attempts to control and avoid painful experiences actually creates more suffering in the longer term.

ACT helps people learn how to:

-       engage with painful thoughts and emotions using mindfulness and acceptance strategies

-       clarify what is important to them

-       commit to living a life that is meaningful

In this way ACT enables people to engage with painful thoughts and emotions in the pursuit of living full lives that are guided by deeply held values. This workshop will be focus on the experiential learning of mindfulness skills (defusion, acceptance, contact with the present moment) and use exercises in pairs to explore values and learn how to plan and take committed action.

Learning Objectives:

Following this workshop, you will be able to:

-       understand the six core ACT processes as they are relevant to visible difference and appearance anxiety

-       help people manage distressing thoughts and emotions about their appearance in different contexts (e.g. social interaction, intimacy)

-       help people explore their values about how they want to live a meaningful life with a visible difference

-       help people commit to taking steps to towards living a life that is consistent with their chosen values

Workshop 2: Helping people with appearance related anxiety relating to visible difference develop coping strategies to reduce distress and manage the reactions of others. Learn how to use cognitive behavioural techniques to assist people in reducing distress associated with disfigurement. This workshop will be based on techniques described in the recently published 'CBT for Appearance Anxiety: Psychosocial Interventions for Anxiety due to Visible Difference' (reference below).  

Details:  This 2.5hr workshop will take a ‘how to do’ approach and draws on the research work of the Appearance Research Collaboration. This workshop will offer participants a firm foundation for working with people living with a visible difference. The workshop is highly practical, and participants will get plenty of opportunity to practice skills with peers using role play and other exercises. Learning outcomes and objectives:

-       understand the impact of visible difference on loss of anonymity and stigmatisation

-       understand the impact of visible difference on intimacy

-       be able to help people to develop skills in managing intrusive reactions

-       be able to help people develop positive strategies for managing anger

-       be able to help people develop confidence in initiating social contact

-       understanding how and when to refer someone for psychological intervention

-       understand some of the features of CBT for appearance related anxiety relating to visible difference




The Appearance Matters conference provides a forum specifically to highlight current psychosocial research, theory and good practice around all appearance-related issues. Attendees at the Training School will be given a route map to follow through the conference programme to focus on papers relating to Interventions. They will be asked to summarise and critically evaluate the intervention-related papers they attend. In addition to the ‘route map’, trainees will be able to attend other papers of their choice. These will span a wide range of topics in the field, including

-       Provision of health care for people with appearance concerns

-       Impacts of visible difference

-       Cosmetic and reconstructive surgery

-       Role of the media in appearance dissatisfaction

-       Body image in childhood, adolescence & adulthood

-       Research methods

-       Theory and models in appearance research

For more details about the conference see:

How to apply to attend the Training School:

There are 20 places available for this Training School. In allocating places we will aim for:

  • An equitable distribution between the 5 working groups
  • An equitable balance of researchers and practitioners
  • An equitable balance of ECRs and those engaging in life long learning
  • An equitable geographical distribution of members

For those participating in the training school, the following financial support and administrative rules apply: 

  • The reimbursement rate per day is EUR 160 maximum
  • Up to EUR 300 may be allocated for the travel expenses (depends on Domestic, near countries, far countries)
  • A maximum grant of EUR 1,500 can be awarded to any one person
  • Grant for Trainees can vary depending on the country of the Trainees (e.g. Domestic, near countries, far countries)
  • Prior the Training School, the trainees must register on e-COST:
  • No advance payments are available: All costs will be reimbursed after the event


Please complete the attached pdf application and send it back to before 15 April 2014