What is image therapy?

If you’re new to class, you’ve probably heard people talking about “image therapy” but you might not be sure exactly what it is.

The word “IMAGE” in a Slimming World context is actually an acronym which stands for Individual Motivation And Group Experience. It’s when the consultant, after making any announcements or giving a brief talk on something, goes round all the people in class to ask them about their week.

This is an opportunity for members to reflect upon their progress (or lack thereof), and to ask any questions they have about the Slimming World plan, or to seek inspiration from the consultant or class members.

What do people talk about?

I’ve heard lots of things discussed during IMAGE therapy, including recipe ideas and plans to deal with difficult upcoming events (such as weddings and dinners out). The consultant will often aim to head off any negative emotions, and instead try to focus members on practical steps that might turn their situation around.

It can also be tempting for members to turn their ‘go’ at speaking into a confessional session!

Do I have to take part?

No. You can decide, without stating any justification, that you don’t want to speak in front of the class. You can either opt out permanently by talking to your consultant in private, or you can opt out for just a week at a time if you just don’t feel like talking that day. And don’t worry about not speaking. Most people will not even notice you kept quiet, and those who do notice will understand why you might not want to join in – after all, we’ve all been there!

Will the consultant announce my weight?

The consultant will never tell anyone in class was you weight is, or what it was in the past. They will often highlight what you have lost that week, or in total since joining. For instance, they may say “Richard has lost 2 lbs this week, and a total of 1 st 7 lbs since starting 12 weeks ago!” When these losses are announced, it’s normally class etiquette to clap to congratulate the member.  The consultant will probably gloss over if you maintained or put on weight; instead focusing on only your total loss to date.

What are mini targets?

Your consultant may ask you if you want to set a mini target for the week ahead, which might be a weight loss target or a body magic goal. They will record the target on their tablet, and may mention it back to you the next week – but they will never criticise if you fail to make it. Some people don’t like to set mini targets as they feel they are setting themselves up for failure – but others like to use them as a motivational tool, and to help them keep focus for the week ahead. As with all things, it’s your decision about whether you want to join in.

Do I have to stay for IMAGE therapy?

No. There are plenty of people who come, get weighed, and go. We all lead busy lives, and we all understand that we don’t always have the time to stay for group. However, having said that, it’s almost always beneficial to stay for class and for the IMAGE therapy sessions if you can. The interaction with other members, and the individual support you will receive, can make all the difference in terms of motivation for the coming week.

I’ve had weeks where the last thing I wanted to do was sit in the group and admit what a terrible week / day I was having – but forced myself to stay, and then came out the end with a completely different outlook, and all fired up for the week ahead.

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