What is the HAES® approach? 


Author: Katie Susik, Clinical Intern

Date: March 1, 2020

Fat acceptance. What a counter-cultural concept to consider.

Living in the New Digital Age, we have learned through advertising, mass media, and non-inclusive marketing ploys that thinness equates to increased desirability. By being skinny, we will finally be able to achieve happiness. What a sad “truth” we have allowed to infiltrate our minds and hearts. 

Imagine, living in a society that wholly embraced difference in size, one that celebrated the beauty and diversity of body types instead of shaming individuals for the physiques they have been honored with. 

Cue: Health At Every Size (HAES®), an approach used in therapy to “support people of all sizes in finding compassionate ways to take care of themselves” (HAES Community, 2020). At Bricolage, we believe in this inclusive peace movement, that health exists on a continuum and our bodies are our assets not our enemies if we let them. 

What are the tenets of HAES® you may be wondering? According to the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH), the five principles include:

  • Weight Inclusivity: Accept and respect the inherent diversity of body shapes and sizes and reject the idealizing or pathologizing of specific weights.
  • Health Enhancement: Support health policies that improve and equalize access to information and services, and personal practices that improve human well-being, including attention to individual physical, economic, social, spiritual, emotional, and other needs.
  • Respectful Care: Acknowledge our biases, and work to end weight discrimination, weight stigma, and weight bias. Provide information and services from an understanding that socio-economic status, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and other identities impact weight stigma, and support environments that address these inequities.
  • Eating for Well-being: Promote flexible, individualized eating based on hunger, satiety, nutritional needs, and pleasure, rather than any externally regulated eating plan focused on weight control.
  • Life-Enhancing Movement: Support physical activities that allow people of all sizes, abilities, and interests to engage in enjoyable movement, to the degree that they choose.

If you’re interested in incorporating HAES® into your own therapy, we have counselors who are ready to jump in with you. We offer our clients a safe space to challenge the harmful notions we’re being fed. We recognize there is an imminent need for change so that we can live freely and happily in our own skin.

To learn more about HAES®, we encourage you to visit the ASDAH website by CLICKING HERE

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