Body Dysmorphic Disorder Clinic & Research Unit

The Research Unit currently focuses on studies regarding the treatment of BDD as well as the factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of BDD.


The Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) Clinic & Research Unit at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School was founded in 1998 by Sabine Wilhelm, Ph.D.  Our program is one of the few clinics in the United States, and the only clinic in Boston, specializing in the treatment and research of BDD.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is, unfortunately, an illness about which there is inadequate awareness, limited research, and inadequate funding for treatment and research.  In close connection with the MGH Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Clinic & Research Unit and the MGH Trichotillomania Clinic & Research Unit, the mission of the BDD Clinic and Research Unit is to educate healthcare professionals and the general public, advance research, and deliver state-of-the-art treatments.  Together, we hope to improve the standard of care for people suffering from BDD and related disorders.

Our center consists of a treatment program and a research unit. Patients receive cognitive-behavioral therapy and/or medication. Our research currently focuses on the efficacy of treatments for BDD, as well as the factors that may contribute to the development and maintenance of BDD (e.g., information processing biases, perceptual and neuropsychological processes, neurobiological factors).  In addition to our active clinical and research services, our staff is also involved in the training of research fellows and graduate students.

For more information about our program go to:

Group Members

Sabine Wilhelm, Ph.D., is Director of the OCD and Related Disorders Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School. She is also the Founder and Director of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Clinic & Research Unit, the Director of the Tic Disorders Program and the Director of the Cognitive-Behavior Therapy Program. She is an Associate Professor of Psychology (Psychiatry) at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Wilhelm is a leading researcher in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), and Tic Disorders, and has published numerous articles, reviews, and chapters on the cognitive functioning, prevalence, and treatment outcome of these disorders. Currently, Dr. Wilhelm is the principal investigator of several NIMH-funded clinical research studies. In addition, Dr. Wilhelm recently authored a treatment manual for OCD entitled: Cognitive Therapy for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Guide for Professionals. She also recently wrote the self-help book Feeling Good About the Way You Look: A Program for Overcoming Body Image Problems.

Dr. Wilhelm serves on numerous editorial and advisory boards, as well as the Scientific Advisory Board of the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation, the International Obsessive-Compulsive Cognitions Working Group (OCCWG), and the Tourette Syndrome Association Behavioral Science Consortium. She was the Chair of the Scientific Review Committee of the World Congress of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies which was held in Boston June 2010. Her areas of clinical and research interest include the development, maintenance, and treatment outcome of BDD, OCD, and Tourette Syndrome/Tic Disorders.

For a full listing of our faculty and staff please go to our website.

Research Projects

We currently have a number of ongoing research studies for BDD.  Some of our studies involve treatment and others do not.  Treatment delivered in the context of research studies is usually provided at no cost to our patients.  Our non-treatment research studies usually involve compensation for time and effort.

For more information about the specific studies available at this time, please call 617-726-6766 or go to our website at:


Selected recent publications:

Reese, H. E., McNally, R. J., & Wilhelm, S. (2010). Facial asymmetry detection in patients with body dysmorphic disorder.  Behaviour Research and Therapy, 48, 936-940.

Phillips, K. A., Wilhelm, S., Koran, L. M., Didie, E. R., Fallon, B. A., Feusner, J., & Stein D. J. (2010). Body dysmorphic disorder: some key issues for DSM-V.  Depression and Anxiety, 27, 573-91.

Buhlmann, U., Glaesmer, H., Mewes, R., Fama, J. M., Wilhelm, S., Brähler, E., & Rief, W. (2010). Updates on the prevalence of body dysmorphic disorder: a population-based survey.  Psychiatry Research, 178, 171-175.

Wilhelm, S., Buhlmann, U., Hayward, L. C., Greenberg, J. L., & Dimaite, R. (2010). A cognitive-behavioral treatment approach for body dysmorphic disorder. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 17, 241-247.


Contact Us

BDD Clinic and Research Unit

Simches Research Building

185 Cambridge Street, Suite 2000Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, MA 02114
  • Near Public Transit
  • Accessible
  • Phone: 617-726-6766

For information about research studies (including treatment studies):
For information about treatment:  617-726-6766

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