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Professional counselling, social support from the family and openness with health care professionals are three important areas medical professionals said will help reduce the number of people opting for cosmetic surgery.
Dominican Clinical Psychologist Lesley-Ann Waldron and local practitioner Dr Damion Gordon said cosmetic surgery is elective as it focuses on enhancing a patient’s appearance for aesthetic appeal to an already functioning area.
According to Waldron, the psychological mindset of the patient should be at the forefront of the discussion on deciding whether the surgery is necessary, especially given the high-risk factors.
Waldron, the spokesperson for the Dominica Psychology Association said, “Before undergoing cosmetic surgery, I believe one should do both self-evaluation or social evaluation and also seek professional help.”
She was part of a panel discussing the issue on OBSERVER Radio’s Big Issues programme yesterday, in wake of a recent incident where local Immigration Officer, 32-year-old Nikisha Lewis, died after elective surgery in Miami.
The psychologist explained, “It should not just be limited to that one person who is doing the surgery. If someone suffers from a psychological disorder or some social issue it is very important to have the social support; the people who are there who can actually give you some background information on the person.”
Waldron said in most cases, medical teams who operate on individuals seeking cosmetic surgery are unaware of the patient’s background and would likely find it difficult to identify changes in behaviour.
She added, “It is not necessarily the number of friends you have on Facebook or the number of people who know your name. We are looking at the people within your support group who would know why you are going to do this thing,” Waldron said.
The psychologist said, “If you are at the point where you actually want to do the surgery, that means you are beyond the level where, within yourself, you are strong enough to decide well ‘No I’m not going to do it’.”
She said oftentimes the psychological mindset of the person that causes them to desire the change stems from incidents since childhood.
“We have a lot of people who had those negative, early childhood memories. They go on as adult having all of this repressed and try do something to change who they are, thinking they will live better,” she said.
And she noted that the pressure to keep up with society is greater now, given the pervasiveness of social media. She warned there are dangers in comparing oneself with what is portrayed in the media.
Waldron said, “We should take into consideration people do no put the ugly parts of their lives on social media, we edit things, we filter things so if you had to look at your life and compare it to someone on social medial or TV then you’re going to be miserable all the time…comparing every aspect of your life.”
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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