Mirror Exposure Therapy, what is it?

Charles McCarthy
Mirror Exposure Therapy, what is it?

Every day more eating disorders (also abbreviated as TCA) are more frequent at younger ages, this according to some research that has been carried out. For this reason, it is worth knowing about different strategies for its therapeutic management, one of which is mirror exposure therapy, a technique widely used in the area of ​​Psychology. Therefore, below I will talk a little about what it is? Its key characteristics and its main benefits..


  • What is Mirror Exposure Therapy?
  • What are its key features?
  • Main benefits of Mirror Exposure Therapy
    • In conclusion…
    • Bibliography

What is Mirror Exposure Therapy?

It is a psychological technique that works especially in the cognitive-behavioral approach, having as its main axis the mental and behavioral modification of certain harmful aspects for the person. Specifically, it helps to work with negative body image, which occurs especially in eating disorders (eg, anorexia nervosa, bulimia, vigorexia, binge-eating, among others.).

When reading this, many will wonder: why does this technique work on body image? What is wrong with the body image of people who require this type of therapy? Well, at this time, something fundamental that happens in eating disorders has to be clarified; Many times there is the mistaken belief that someone with anorexia only vomits all the time (which is totally false), since it goes beyond that. A person with this type of disorder begins to perceive his body (that is, his body image) in a distorted way, where for example: when he looks in a mirror he can see his fat reflection even if he is a thin person.

Taking into account the aforementioned, mirror exposure therapy works in conjunction with emotional and thought management (mainly negative), achieving that the therapeutic objectives of a psychology professional are met with their patient..

What are its key features?

Initially, it should be taken into account that mirror exposure therapy, as its name indicates, performs a subtype of exposure therapy, where in this case a mirror (preferably large) is used as a resource to investigate the subjective perception that the patient has. (whether child, adolescent or adult) on their body image.

In addition, it allows you to establish 3 interpretations, which are: how do I see myself? How would I like to see myself? And how do I think others see me? It basically consists of the psychologist saying the following instruction to the patient: “you are going to physically sit in front of a mirror, you are going to look into your eyes and you are going to tell me what you are looking at”, this will be done when you want to use the mirror as an evaluation tool.

On the other hand, if we wish to use the mirror to carry out psychological intervention on the negative body image, the following indications will be given to the patient: “you are going to physically sit in front of a mirror, you are going to look into your eyes and repeat the following sentence: - I accept and approve of myself as I am-, then you will take a deep breath, observing how you feel. This is repeated several times ”. With which positive and strong self-esteem is increasingly promoted. If you consider that you perceive your body image in a negative way and you want to know more about how to do this therapy, I recommend that you attend a consultation with a psychologist who will guide you in a personalized way on the subject, according to your specific needs..

Main benefits of Mirror Exposure Therapy

Other than that it works for eating disorders some people with disabilities (especially motor) have reported that this therapy has brought them great benefits, since, at the moment of perceiving the phantom limb, that is, those people who have had to amputate a part of their body, but their brain makes them believe that it is still there and they can move it.

In addition to this at a general level, any self-esteem difficulty or when it is low or diminished has had a huge positive impact, since it allows misinterpretations of their body appearance to be evaluated and in turn modified with the application of this therapy..

Finally, allow associated emotions, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to surface. This facilitates a therapeutic work that covers all the patient's channels.

In conclusion…

We must learn to love ourselves, which is reflected from the way you treat yourself, that is; what you think, express (emotionally), feel (physically) and do (your behaviors). Let's remember that… we are all different, so learn to love the differences that define you!!


  • NEDA (2018). Statistics of eating disorders. Extracted from: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/estad%C3%ADsticas-de-los-trastorno-de-la-conducta-alimentaria
  • Guerrero G. (2013). The mirror technique to improve self-esteem. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRBtb4Iaf9o

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