Aspen, Colorado – At this summer’s Cosmetic Bootcamp (CBC), keynote speaker Valerie Monroe suggested taking a kinder, gentler tone in aesthetic consultations. She is beauty director at O, The Oprah Magazine.
When a patient comes to your office, “You give her a mirror and say something like, ‘Tell me what you’re thinking about your face.’ And she looks into that mirror critically. Maybe she begins to tell you what she doesn’t like, what she wishes her face looked like.”
A core aesthetic physician can provide options that let the patient make her own decisions about how much or how little to do, Ms. Monroe said. “But remember, she has come to you carrying her Judge: I call her Judge Beauty. This is your patient’s inner critic – the one who presides over the viciously unforgiving court of egregious imperfections. Is her complexion bright enough? Her eyes wide enough? Her lips full enough? Is her nose too big, her chin too small?”
Unfortunately, she said, “This line of questioning is supported by a constant stream of messages, everywhere we look, saying that we could be more attractive if only we made this or that improvement. In ways subtle and not-so-subtle, our culture teaches us to look cruelly upon ourselves.”
To avoid this in the office, “Asking open-ended questions like ‘What’s going on in your life’ or ‘ how are you feeling’ may help lead her without judgment to the reason she has come to see you.”
When handing your patient a mirror, “Why not ask, ‘What do you love about your face?’ She may not see what you see – she may love her large, crooked nose because it reminds her of her beloved grandmother. So don’t suggest a treatment if she doesn’t ask for it.”
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