Jump to Main Content
Decrease font size Reset font size Increase font size

Additional Qualifications Online Application System

You may use this system to:

  • Apply for Additional Qualifications courses
    (Note that a valid email address and credit card are required)
  • Check the registration status of your application
  • Update your current contact information



Niva Piran
Professor Emerita


email: niva.piran@utoronto.ca  

Department: Applied Psychology and Human Development



Research Overview

My research focused on enhancing the well being of girls, youth, and women across the lifespan. Specific areas of research include, among others:

(a) EMBODIMENT: The study of embodiment among girls and women of diverse backgrounds led to the emergence of the Developmental Theory of Embodiment, detailed in the book, Journeys of Embodiment at the Intersection of Body and Culture: The Developmental Theory of Embodiment.

The Developmental Theory of Embodiment describes embodied well being and distress, concurrent social processes that aggregate to create docile and distressed bodies, and facilitative social experiences. Adolescent girls and women commonly engage in inspiring processes that help recapture embodied well being throughout their life span.

The research program included qualitative and quantitative designs: (a) qualitative - participatory action research, life history studies with younger (ages 20-28) and older women (ages 50-70), and a 5-year prospective study with girls (ages 9-14 in phase I); (b) quantitative - large-scale surveys and scale development. The Embodiment Scales for Women (Piran & Teall, 2012) include the: Experience of Embodiment Scale; Physical Freedom Scale; Mental Freedom Scale; and the Social Power Scale.

Research supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 1999-2015.

(b) PREVENTION OF NEGATIVE BODY IMAGE AND EATING DISORDERS:
The study of a feminist-informed prevention program, implemented at the National Ballet School of Canada, involved an intensive case study and all- school quantitative surveys.

(c) OUTCOME EVALUATION OF FEMINIST THERAPY: This research program, a joint venture with the team of the Brief Psychotherapy for Women, involved a large-scale controlled outcome evaluation of a feminist-informed Relational Cultural Therapy model.

Project funded by the Ontario Women's Health Council.

(d) DAY HOSPITAL ALTERNATIVE TO INPATIENT TREATMENT OF EATING DISORDERS: This project involved devising, implementing, and evaluating an intensive group-based treatment program aimed at reducing inpatient hospitalizations and enhancing empowerment.



Academic History

Post-retirement, I have engaged in Embodied Research and Consultation, through research-based publications, keynote addresses at international conferences, and contributions to scientific conferences.

Faculty Position
Between 1987-2017, I have held a faculty position at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, as a Full Professor (1995-2017), and, prior to that as Associate Professor (1987-1995). In this role I was extensively involved in: (a) research related to women's health; (b) teaching courses on psychotherapy and health promotion practice and research; (c) graduate student supervision - leading to the graduation of 46 Ph.D./Ed.D. students; (d) support for community-based institutions through research/practice consultations: Brief Psychotherapy Center for Women and the National Ballet School of Canada.

Hospital-Based
Between 1984-1987, I was the Clinical Director of the Day Hospital Program for Eating Disorders at the Toronto Hospital and Assistant Professor at the Psychiatry Department, Faculty of Medicine. In this role I was called to devise and implement the first day hospital model for eating disorders, aiming to offer an alternative to inpatient treatment. This model involved group-based treatment and clients' empowerment. The efficacy of this model led to its implementation in multiple sites.
Between 1983-1984, I worked as a clinical psychologist at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry.

Fellowship
During 1982-1983 I was a Medical Research Council Fellow.


Teaching Overview

APD3217Y Practicum II: Interventions in Counselling Psychology
APD3258 Special Topics in Counselling Psychology
APD1203Y Practicum I: Interventions in Counselling Psychology and Psychotherapy


Representative Publications

BOOKS

  • Piran, N. (2017). Journeys of Embodiment at the Intersection of Body and Culture: The Developmental Theory of Embodiment. San Diego: CA, Elsevier Press.

Nominated for: (1) Distinguished Publication Award of the Association for Women in Psychology; (2) William James Book Award, American Psychological Association.     Review (upcoming): Psychology of Women Quarterly;

  • Tylka, T., & Piran, N. (in press). Handbook of Positive Body Image and Embodiment. New York: NY. Oxford University Press.
  • McVey, G., Levine, M.P., Piran, N., & Ferguson, H.B. (2012). Preventing eating-related and weight-related disorders: Collaborative Research, Advocacy, and Policy Change. Waterloo ON: Wilfred Laurier Press.
  • Piran, N., Levine, M., & Steiner-Adair, C. (1999). Preventing eating disorders : A handbook of intervention and special challenges. Philadelphia: Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Piran, N., & Kaplan, A. (Eds.).  (1990).  A day hospital group treatment program for anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.   New York:  Brunner/Mazel.

BOOK CHAPTERS (sample)

  • Piran, N. (in press). Feminist and Social Justice Approaches. In T. Tylka & N. Piran (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Body Image and Embodiment. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Piran, N. (in press). The Experience of Embodiment Construct: Reflecting the Quality of Embodied Lives. In T. Tylka & N. Piran (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Body Image and Embodiment. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Piran, N. (in press). The Developmental Theory of Embodiment. In T. Tylka & N. Piran (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Body Image and Embodiment. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Trachtenberg, L., & Piran, N. (in press). Resisting Restrictive Feminine Molds and Promoting Embodied Well-being among Breast Cancer Survivors. In T. Tylka & N. Piran (Eds.), Handbook of Positive Body Image and Embodiment. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Mafrici, N., & Piran, N. (in press). Cultivating Embodiment Through Positive Peer Connections. In T. Tylka & N. Piran (Eds.), Handbook of Positive BodY Image and Embodiment. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Piran, N. (2016). Embodiment and Well Being: The Embodied Journeys of Girls and Women. In T-A Roberts, N. Curtin, L. Cortina, & L.E. Duncan (Eds.), Best practices in feminist psychological science: Gender beyond difference (pp. 43-60). New York, NY; Springer.
  • Piran, N. (2015). A feminist perspective on the prevention of eating disorders. In L. Smolak & M.P. Levine (Eds.), The Wiley Handbook of eating disorders (Vol.2) (pp. 582-596). Sussex: John Wiley.
  • Piran, N., McVey, G.L., & Levine, M.P. (2014). Eating disorders in adolescence. In T. P. Gullotta & M. Bloom (Eds.), The encyclopedia of primary prevention and health promotion (2nd edition, Vol. 3, pp. 1134-1147). New York: Springer
  • Piran, N. (2013). Prevention of eating disorders in children: The role of the counselor. In L. Choate (Ed.), Eating disorders and obesity: A counselor’s guide to treatment and prevention (pp. 201-220). Alexandra, Virginia: American Counseling Association Press.
  • Piran, N., & Mafrici, N. (2012). Preventing body image problems: Ecological and activism approaches. In T. Cash (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Body Image and Human Appearance (Vol. 2) (pp. 674-679). San Diego: Academic Press.
  • Piran, N., & Teall, T.L. (2012). The Developmental Theory of Embodiment. In G. McVey, M.P. Levine, N. Piran, & H.B. Ferguson, Preventing eating-related and weight-related disorders (pp. 171-199). Waterloo ON: Wilfred Laurier Press.
  • Smolak, L., & Piran, N. (2012). Gender and the Prevention of Eating Disorders. In G. McVey, M.P. Levine, N. Piran, & H.B. Ferguson, Preventing eating-related and weight-related disorders (pp. 201-224). Waterloo ON: Wilfred Laurier Press.
  • McLaren, L., & Piran, N. (2012). Prevention of eating disorders through structural change:  the population health framework and lessons from case studies in intensive community-based intervention. In G. McVey, M.P. Levine, N. Piran, & H.B. Ferguson, Preventing eating-related and weight-related disorders (pp. 45-69). Waterloo ON: Wilfred Laurier Press.

JOURNAL ARTICLES (sample)

  • Piran, N. (2017). On synchronicity, passing the torch, and the task of preventing eating disorders. Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention, 25, 388-391.
  • Piran, N. (2016). Embodied possibilities and disruptions: The emergence of the Experience of Embodiment construct from qualitative studies with girls and women. Body Image, 18, 43-60.
  • Piran, N. (2016). Embodied paths in aging: Body journeys towards enhanced agency and self-attunement. Women & Therapy. 39, 186-201.
  • Borowski, H., Eisenberg, M., Bucchianeri, M. M., Piran, N., & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2015). Feminist Identity, Body Image, and Disordered Eating. Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention. 22, 1-15.
  • Piran, N. (2015). New Possibilities in the Prevention of Eating Disorders: The Introduction of Positive Body Image Measures. Body Image, 14, 146-157.  
  • Bucchianeri, M.M., Eisenberg, M.E., Wall, M.M., Piran, N., Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2014). Multiple Types of Harassment: Associations with Emotional Well-being and Unhealthy Behaviors in Adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health. 54 (6), 724-729.
  • Oakley, M.A., Addison, S.C., Piran, N., Johnston, G.J., Damianakis, M., Curry, J., Dunbar, C., & Weigeldt, A. (2013). Outcome study of brief relational-cultural therapy in a women's mental health center. Psychotherapy Research, 23 (2), 137-151.

 

Research Grants and Contracts

(Sample)

SSHRC 2011-2015 (Principal Investigator): Women's embodiment at the intersection of psychology and social critical theory ($89,900)

SSHRC 2007-2010 (Principal Investigator): The body journey of girls: Stories of disruption and resilience delineate paths for constructive change ($95,000)

CIHR: 2008-2009 (Core Researcher): EMBODY: Centre for research prevention in eating disorders, mental health, and body image ($10,000)

SSHRC 2003-2006 (Principal Investigator): Powerful girls and women: A contradiction in terms? Girls and young women face the challenge of empowerment ($109,769)

Ontario Women's Health Council 2001-2004 (Co-investigator): Outcome evaluation of the Women's Brief Psychotherapy Center ($230,000)

SSHRC 1999-2002 (Principal Investigator): Eating disorders at the intersection of body and culture ($89,500)

Kellogg Canada 1999-2001 (Co-principal Investigator): Women's self-care and the body ($200,000)


Honours and Awards

2017: Articles of the Year Award. Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention (1993-2017) - Recipient of the 2010 Journal Article Award, and co-recipient of the 2006 Journal Article Award.

2016: Best Oral Presentation, Appearance Matters 7 International Conference, Centre for Appearance Research, University of the West of England, London, England.

2014: Best Oral Presentation, Appearance Matters 7 International Conference, Centre for Appearance Research, University of the West of England, London, England

2013: Awarded: American Psychological Association Fellowship

2012: David E. Hunt Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching, OISE/University of Toronto

2010: Research Celebration Honoree, OISE/University of Toronto

2009: Florence Denmark Distinguished Mentorship Award, Association for Women in Psychology (U.S.)

2006: The Lori Irving Award for Research Excellence in Eating Disorders Prevention and Awareness, National (American) Eating Disorder Association, New York

2004: Awarded: Academy of Eating Disorders Fellowship

2004: Feminist Mentorship Award (Inaugural Recipient), Section on Women and Psychology (SWAP) of the Canadian Psychological Association

2003: Founding Member, North American Eating Disorder Association, Seattle



Professional Activities

Keynote Addresses (Sample)

Piran, N. (2017, October). Promoting Positive Body Image Across the Life Span: The Developmental Theory of Embodiment Eating Disorders. Netzwerk Essstrungen, Alpbach, Austria.
Piran, N. (2017, June). Eating Disorders Beyond Thinness: A Journey into the Social Environment of Girls. Colloque Sur L'Image Corporelle, Universit du Qubec Montreal.
Piran, N. (2017, May). Privilege and the Body: From Critical Awareness to Enhanced Equity and Acceptance. National Eating Disorders Information Center of Canada. Toronto.
Piran, N. (2015, April). Towards Positive Body Image: Applying Developmental Research to Health Promotion. Zentrum fr Kulturproduktion conference. Health Promotion Office, Bern, Switzerland.
Piran, N. (2013, April). Embodied Journeys in Diverse Cultural Landscapes and Counseling. Intercultural Counselling and Education in the Global World Conference, Verona, Italy.
Piran, N. (2011, May). How can Schools Promote Positive Body Image among Students? Body Image Campaign, Women's Health Office of the City District of Vienna, Austria.
Piran, N. (2008, January). Social critical theory, embodiment and counseling. Building Bridges for Wellness Through Counselling and Psychotherapy" Conference, Sampura-Montfort College, Bangalore, India.

Invited Workshops (examples)

Piran, N. (upcoming, 2018, November). Embodied Journeys: Interconnected Pathways for Healing. Barbara M. Greenspan lecture and workshop. 28th Renfrew Center Foundation Conference, Philadelphia.
Piran, N. (upcoming, 2018, June). On Embodied Suspense: Methods, Findings, and Implications in a Research Program on Embodiment. Appearance Matters 8 International Conference, Centre for Appearance Research, University of the West of England, Bath, England.
Piran, N. (May, 2011). How Can Schools Promote Positive Body Image and Prevent Eating Disorders? Assembly of (90) Teachers of the Viennese School Board. Women's Health Office of the City of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


Health Promotion Consultation on Body Image (examples):

a) Switzerland health promotion office, Bern, Switzerland; b) Women's Health Women's Health Office of the City District of Vienna, Austria

Presentations in scientific conferences: over 210 presentations.


Other Information

About the "Journeys of Embodiment at the Intersection of Body and Culture: The Developmental Theory of Embodiment" book

The book describes an innovative developmental and feminist theory that provides a new perspective on the interactions between the social environment of girls and women from different social locations and their embodied experiences of engagement with the world around them. The book weaves together the rich narratives from 170 interviews, gathered over 20 years of research, to describe body journeys from childhood to older adulthood. It outlines the key social experiences that shape embodiment throughout girls' and women's lives-from agency, functionality, and passion during early childhood, through restriction, shame, and self-harm in puberty, to the challenges of recapturing agency during adulthood. Combining psychological and sociological perspectives, the book offers a critical theory of embodiment as a framework for understanding the complexity of social processes that create docile, corseted bodies - barred from equitable participation in the public sphere. Holding a mirror to culture, the book challenges stakeholders to re-imagine transformative possibilities in the lives of diverse girls and women.