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The emotional aspects of and psychological assessment for aesthetic, cosmetic and non-surgical treatments

02 December 2021
Volume 10 · Issue 10


Kimberley Cairns explores relevant psychology-related developments as a part of the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners' core principles and functions

The feasibility and acceptability of psychology in aesthetics appears reasonably permissible; however, conflict and taboo can still be found within the implementation of this specialism that creates a barrier to true cohesive and effective practice. One explanation for this is that for some practitioners' psychological assessments are considered as deterrents due to the fear of loss of demand for aesthetic services, as well as the notion that asking too many questions about emotions might imply that something is ‘wrong’ with the patient. Either way, it is commonplace to disregard their use or avoid any emotional detailing of a patient, creating a precarious position for the patient and the practitioner, as opportunities are being missed to safeguard through the provision of holistic integrated care. This is increasingly relevant given that, in July 2021, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing made specific recommendations that:

With no single accepted psychological assessment tool available for use within the non-surgical aesthetics arena, it is imperative that the sector unites to seek understanding of the effects that psychological tools have on treatment outcomes and patient–practitioner satisfaction. This will assist the Government in developing mandatory psychological pre-screening assessments that include a broad range of emotional and psychological vulnerabilities for all consumers seeking an aesthetic treatment. The limiting view that psychological assessment tools are simply dichotomous diagnostic tools used to identify psychopathology (for example, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) or major depressive episodes) perpetuates the misunderstanding of psychological application in aesthetics.

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