Interview with Psychotherapist David Klow: Men and Body Image

David Klow is a psychotherapist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University in Evanston Illinois who specializes in working with men. He has been practicing there for five years.

Please explain the unique struggles men have with their body image. How does that relate to their self-image?

Men have been taught from early on to armor their bodies. They are taught to perform and be tough, hiding signs of vulnerability and weakness. Since it can be impossible not to be vulnerable, men learn to hide their faults at an early age. We see posturing and overcompensation as an attempt to make up for perceived inadequacies. Men’s sense of self then can become split, as they try to appear one way but are actually another.

How do you help men overcome these issues?

I work to end the splitting. I make it safe to finally take off the armor and to explore the buried vulnerable pieces that got lost so long ago. It is in these buried fragments of the self that we find the real treasure and true power.

Do you see differences in gay and straight clients or do they share the same problems with self-image?

For the most part, I would say it is very similar. Men in America are conditioned in a particular way. Of course there are variations and nuances in each man’s experience but the splitting and hiding phenomenon is still there.

Breaking your clients down into age groups, do you find that there is one group that has more of a problem with body image?

There can be variations across generations. Today’s young men do not have as much armor or baggage as their forefathers. The times are a bit different in that men are more encouraged to be able to express themselves honestly and creatively.

In your opinion, how do men differ from women in the journey to achieve a better self image?

Men hide in a different way than women. Our body images are harder to identify; they are more buried in the shadows of our beings but they are still there.

So often when we hear “body image” we think of women and eating disorders. Regardless of gender, everyone has a body image whether it’s good or bad. Do you have any suggestions as to how to achieve a more positive self image?

Tons of self-compassion and acceptance.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Finding a good therapist can be very helpful to address body image issues. Group Therapy also provides a wonderful forum for healing these issues. More information about both types of therapy are on my website at

Submit your story here:

Copyright Ark Stories 2011


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: