The Importance of Understanding your Patient’s Psychology

If you’re an aesthetics practitioner in the UK, you’ll be well aware of the importance of conducting a thorough consultation with your process. However, less talked about is how vital it is for practitioners to understand patient psychology. Whatever your client’s reason for undergoing cosmetic treatment, as the professional administering the treatment, you should be able to approach consultation and procedure from a position of empathy and understanding.

In this post, we’ll dive into the significance of health and wellness within the aesthetics industry, as well as information about a helpful new psychological skills course from BAAPS. 

Health and wellness in aesthetics

The aesthetics industry has enjoyed significant advances in recent years, with a shift away from the mindset of being ‘for the vain.’ A primary focus is now being put on the mental health benefits of effective treatment, as well as the physical image enhancement. Many individuals experience psychological benefits from a well-considered procedure, including:

  • Boosted confidence – An effectively administered treatment by a health professional explicitly tailored to meet the patient’s aesthetic goals can have a tremendous impact on the confidence and self-esteem of your client. Often, the treatment is something that they have considered for a prolonged period, and the procedure results can have a hugely positive impact on every aspect of their lives.
  • Refreshed and renewed feeling – One of the main reasons patients have for undergoing Botox and filler treatments is to combat signs of ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles. A well-targeted injectable procedure can give the skin a new lease of life and make clients feel like the years have been rewound. For individuals who have suffered the effects of sun damage or smoking, this dramatic physical change can massively boost patients’ self-confidence and make them feel younger than they are.
  • Increased quality of life – Many individuals have battled with concerns over their physical appearance from an early age and view an aesthetics treatment, although non-surgical, as life-altering. Resolving physical insecurity allows them to feel a renewed sense of freedom and the desire to show off – rather than hide – their features.

Psychological aspects of aesthetic medicine

There has been an unprecedented surge in demand for aesthetic procedures in the past few years. It’s natural, then, that a brighter light is shone on patient psychology and the responsibility of aestheticians to conduct a thorough consultation and mental health assessment before administering treatment.

With the rising pressure from celebrities, peers and social media, an increasing number of patients are presenting to clinics for procedures that are dramatic and disproportionate to their existing features. Whether surgical or not, any cosmetic treatment should not be taken lightly and should be a carefully considered decision. People with pre-existing mental health or self-esteem problems are particularly vulnerable to the lasting impact of the issues associated with cosmetic surgery.

Safeguarding patient’s mental health

As a health professional, you have a vital duty of care to your clients. Your aesthetics practice should have a formal procedure in place to assess the patient’s psychology before committing to treatment. A critical step in the consultation process should be conducting a thorough mental- health assessment. Knowing the right questions to ask to understand why the individual wishes to undergo treatment encourages them to open up and alert you of any significant warning signs that indicate they may not be a suitable candidate. 

Tips for completing this assessment include:

  • Explore psychological reasons for treatment
  • Use questionnaires or validated screening tools
  • Acknowledge patient perspectives with empathy
  • Use your instinct as a healthcare professional and know when to refuse treatment

BAAPS’ course for cosmetic surgeons

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) has developed a course to develop surgeons’ psychological skills and help them better understand their patients on a mental level.

This course is particularly valuable for learning key critical-thinking skills to help you understand and empathise with those individuals who may be struggling with psychological issues, allowing you to create an environment of honesty and openness within your practice.

The course is broken down into four main components, taking place over the course of a day:

  1. A series of didactic lectures on patient psychology and one-on-one interactions to mirror the patient-surgeon relationship and allow delegates to practice asking important questions in a tactical way. You’ll learn how to effectively uncover your patient’s aesthetic goals while managing their expectations.
  2. A deep dive into the psychological impact of surgery and its effect on an individual’s life, as well as best practices for setting boundaries for onward referrals.
  3. A more in-depth follow-on from the steps covered in the former half of the programme. Actors will enact scenarios and surgeons will be tested on their ability to react, respond and understand.
  4.  Training in responding to psychosocial factors, including mental health concerns and dissatisfaction with results, and an overview of the topic of body dysmorphia, a framework for assessment and onward referrals.

Further training at Acquisition Aesthetics 

At Acquisition Aesthetics, we provide gold-standard aesthetics training for medical professionals including doctors, dentists and nurses. If you are a current or aspiring aesthetician interested in furthering your training in aesthetic medicine, we’d love to hear from you. To find out more about the training courses currently available, call us on 0203 514 8757 or email us at contact@acquisitionaesthetics.co.uk

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