Healthy Body Image
Stefanie Roback helps people find their self-esteem
Mental health issues have come to the forefront even more so due to the impact of social media. Seeing and comparing yourself to an unrealistic online world can lead to heightened anxiety and stress levels. According to Wilmington therapist STEFANIE ROBACK, “Through social media, we have a lens into the highlight reel of other people’s lives, which can oftentimes feel like pressure to be more like them.” The ripple effect of this constant exposure can lead to other negative conditions such as eating disorders, body image concerns, and self-esteem issues.
Roback founded Arise Counseling in 2020 with the hopes of helping people combat “the need to control or feel stuck in the perfection cycle.” She has a master’s of science in social work from Columbia University and a bachelor’s of social work from NC State University. Raised in New Jersey, Roback missed the south after heading back up north for her master’s degree. She ended up getting a job in Raleigh the day after she graduated in New York. While in Raleigh, Roback always knew she would end up working at the beach.
“It has always been a safe haven for me, a place where I feel like I can take a deep breath and find rest,” she says.
Before establishing Arise, Roback worked in the prison and the federal probation systems. She credits that time as a “life-changing experience.” Even though she found it difficult at first, she “quickly learned that my persistence in letting my clients know that they were seen and cared for makes all of the difference.”
Roback used her experience in creating her vision for Arise. Along with three other counselors, the office covers everything from anxiety, college and life transitions, and trauma. Roback’s particular focus is food and body image concerns, which make up about 75% of her client base. A common misconception is that our culture depicts this as a predominantly female issue, however, men are equally at risk.
“Having trouble with body image concerns has a major impact on self-esteem, self-love, and confidence, which bleeds into difficulty in relationships with others, communicating needs and self-worth,” she says.
Although, each case is different, Roback often finds targeting self-esteem is almost always a first step in treating a client. She then delves into each client’s values, unique characteristics, and what makes them special and works on honing on those areas instead of turning to others in comparison.
Reframing negative thoughts, cognitive behavioral therapy, and healing the connection between mind and body are her most common therapy methods. “Walking with others in their journey to make peace within themselves and who they are is a really beautiful thing,” she says. “I want our little beach office to feel like a breath of fresh air and a place where you feel like you can truly be yourself and bring anything in that you need to share or process.”
Roback is particularly excited about The Arise Workshop, a program she has recently started. “The idea came from some of my previous work in prison, where I saw first-hand how access to basic mental health tools and skills can make such a difference in someone’s day-to-day life,” she says.
The program brings mental wellness directly to someone’s place of work and to those who may not otherwise be exposed to its benefits.
“I believe I can have a big impact on how the workplace views and acts on the mental wellness of its employees,” Roback says.
To view more of photographer Terah Hoobler’s work, go to terahhoobler.com.
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