Body Dysmorphic Disorder

When working with clients who have body image concerns, the key is communication.

Awareness of ‘body image concerns’ or Body Dysmorphic Disorder is vital to the medical practitioner, therapist or nurse working in the minimally invasive cosmetic eld. The cosmetic industry continues to grow at a rapid rate, with the number of people seeking aesthetic and anti-ageing treatments increasing each year. The Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery reported that $350 million dollars was spent on minimally invasive treatments in 2017 alone, the most common being anti- wrinkle and dermal filler injections. It is expected that growth in these cosmetic treatments will continue in 2019 and beyond.

While most individuals who seek these treatments are satis ed with their results, there are a number of clients who report dissatisfaction with their outcomes.

Individuals with Body Dysmorphic Disorder often display preoccupation with imagined imperfections in their appearance along with signs of depression, anxiety and psychological distress. These clients will often report dissatisfaction with treatment results and can frequently return with ongoing complaints or visit multiple salons for treatments that never quite hit the mark.

How can we identify these clients and address their unrealistic expectations for the results of their treatment? How can we prevent litigation and other business- related issues involved in client dissatisfaction? Recently the Cosmetic Development Institute of Australia in partnership with Swinburne University set out to answer these questions with some interesting preliminary results.

Notably over 20% of clients surveyed showed signs of Body Dysmorphia Disorder compared to only 3% of the general public showing similar body dysmorphic signs. It seems about one in ve of your clients might t the Body Dysmorphic Disorder profile.

In our current investigations one piece of evidence seems to stand out – that clear communication and taking adequate time to really explain in detail the treatment
you are about to administer does improve client satisfaction.

The key to improving client satisfaction, particularly clients with body image concerns, is informed consent. In fact, if you can engage in a “double” informed consent process you can increase client satisfaction and help reduce complaints and potential litigation.

This involves going through your normal consent process, along with explaining to your clients in comprehensive detail what the realistic outcomes of their treatment may be, including whether the treatment the client desires may or may not fulfill their expectations, or if treatment is even suitable for them at that time. Clear information and taking the time with your clients to explain treatments and outcomes reduces potential problems, and places your clinic in both an ethical and enviable high level of client satisfaction position – something all cosmetic industry business owners want and value.

The Medical Board of Australia (2016) recently recommended that individuals performing cosmetic or surgical procedures should assess a client’s motivations and expectations prior to treatment, and refer them for psychological evaluation where there are indications that the client may not be suitable. Despite these recommendations there is a lack of validated screening tools available to aid clinicians in identifying unsuitable clients. CPD Institute of Australia and Swinburne University are developing and trialing a screening tool that assesses a variety of psychosocial factors which have been found to predict unrealistic expectations for treatment and lowered satisfaction with cosmetic treatment outcomes.

Cosmetic businesses that employ reliable screening tools should benefit ethical practitioners with the associated enhancement of trustworthiness and decreased likelihood of other negative outcomes from clients. Future development and refinement of the screening tool is underway and will help to form part of the comprehensive ‘informed consent’ process that is optimal in protecting both clients and practitioners from disappointment, poor outcomes and diminished reputation. AMP


For more information on this ongoing study visit www.cpdinstitute.com.au

The Cosmetic Development Institute of Australia offers AHPRA registered nurses and doctors hands-on training in cosmetic injectables in Cheltenham, Melbourne.