In an image-obsessed culture, it’s no wonder that body image issues are on the rise. In the healthcare sector, it can be challenging helping those patients with poor self-image and an overall negativity about their appearance. Part of the problem is that there are rarely quick solutions to the many complex factors that are commonly found in those patients with body-image disorders. Body issues develop over time, and that means addressing underlying causes in order to transition to a more positive self-image or (at the very least) body-neutrality. If you have patients with body image issues, then here are some of the most common steps for treatment.
Your first step should be to address your patient’s specific negative body-thoughts. The goal is to shift those issues so that they focus more on either neutral or positive thoughts. This can be challenging, and will certainly take time and dedicated treatment. Work with your patient and identify together the unhelpful thoughts that they are having about their appearance. Start with discussions about how they think they look and what they believe is wrong with their appearance. They need to come to the realization that thoughts do not become fact, and that negative thoughts are unhelpful and often exaggerated.
There are several options available to help you with recovery for a patient with body-image problems. Depending on your clinic or workplace, consider offering a combination of the following options:
- Personalized counseling
- Group therapy
- Family therapy (unless there are underlying family issues)
- Lessons for improving a healthy lifestyle and body visualization
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
You should use these techniques either in isolation or as a combination, with dual diagnosis options for treatments that involve other issues such as depression, anxiety, and self-hatred. A negative self-image is rarely an isolated issue, so it’s going to be important that you also address any additional concerns. A combination of therapy and medication can help make the healing process much faster and more long-lasting.
As well as counseling, some patients may raise questions about physical medical help. This could mean dental work for those who are worried about their teeth or even surgical options for physical issues. It can actually be a very effective treatment option, even though it does little to tackle any underlying causes. It’s crucial that you gain a real understanding of what drives the body-negativity of your patient, and if you think that they can be helped by cosmetic surgery, then it should certainly be a considered option. There are many who will be worried about taking proactive steps to tackle the issues causing their self-image problem. Invasive surgery can be terrifying, but there are alternatives. NY Metro Vein offers some of the best coolsculpting NYC options that could be the perfect compromise for your patients wary of more drastic alternatives.
With the right treatment and guidance, it is possible to help your patients to recover completely from their struggles with body image. With your help, they can regain their lives and, ultimately, become free from an unhealthy negative obsession with their bodies.