Aspen, Colorado – At this summer’s Cosmetic Bootcamp (CBC), keynote speaker Valerie Monroe recommended a radical shift in the doctor-patient dialogue. She is beauty director at O, The Oprah Magazine.
A global study commissioned by Dove (which created a sensation a few years back with its Real Beauty campaign) showed that only 7% of American women ages 15 to 64 years have never worried about their overall physical appearance.
Ms. Monroe added, “Almost 2/3 of American women agree that when they feel bad about themselves, it’s usually about their looks or their weight. Living with impossible beauty ideals leads 7 in 10 women globally to withdraw from important activities such as going to school, work, or a job interview because they feel bad about their looks.”
The concept of radical enhancement has been used to describe the broad impact of technology on humanity, she said. But she views it more specifically: “It’s the main reason most of you give for why you enjoy what you do every day – ‘I want to make my patients feel more beautiful and feel better about themselves.'”
Core aesthetic physicians often make a distinction between being more beautiful and feeling more beautiful, she said. While it’s difficult for most people to meet our society’s standards of beauty, “Everyone can feel beautiful. You have an enormously powerful arsenal – the injections, lasers, and peels. I leave that aspect of beautifying up to you. I suggest another way of communicating.”
While medical training teaches physicians to seek pathology, she said, “I wonder if, when you consult with a patient, after you’ve gotten through your medical assessment, you focus on what’s aesthetically right with the patient’s face.”
This way, “You can help her to reframe her self-talk so it’s less critical and more accepting. ‘I want to show you what’s beautiful about your face.’ Assure her that no matter what evidence of aging you see, there’s nothing wrong with her face. Encourage her to look at herself the way she looks at her beloved family and friends. Real beauty is not about weight, makeup, or symmetry. Real beauty is about looking life right in the face and seeing all its magnificence reflected in your own.”
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