I am currently in the process of writing my third book on the link between childhood abuse or neglect, body image, and plastic surgery. My clinical research has shown that childhood trauma is very common in my plastic surgery patients, and the patients who had surgery in order to increase their feelings of self-worth and decrease their shame have very difficult surgical courses. Many see improvement, but because the result is “not perfect”, they seek endless revisions.
This month I will audit a workshop in Phoenix run by Pia Mellody the genius behind the trauma therapy at The Meadows in Wickenburg, Arizona, in my view one of the best trauma treatment centers anywhere. In this workshop I will get a chance to see how this therapy is conducted and how the therapists think through the best approach to help each patient. I am very fortunate to have been permitted to attend– no doubt I will be the only plastic surgeon! — and I hope that it will deepen my knowledge of the subject and improve the quality of my book. My goal is to educate physicians and patients about the impact that childhood trauma has on self-esteem and body image, so that patients will receive the care that will help them most.