{Aired 07.05.14}

Today we have a special guest that will help give insight into the proper motivation, expectations and outcome of a cosmetic or reconstructive change.  The mental health of the individual undergoing a plastic surgery procedure is key to having a successful outcome. Today’s show will shed light on the importance of understanding the “why” of your decisions.

The objective of aesthetic surgery is to improve the patient’s psychological well-being by modifying their body image. Body image is the mental picture individuals have in their mind’s eye of how they appear to others. What is vitally important & what matters most is how you see yourself.

Mary Jo Rapini is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Psychotherapist, Speaker and Author

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Mary Jo Rapini, LPC

Mary Jo Rapini, LPC | @maryjorapini

 Real Talk: What is the difference between self confidence and self esteem?
Mary Jo: There is a difference. Self confidence is feeling comfortable enough to take the risk to take chances, basically built on doing things for yourself, your job & kids. Self esteem is how you feel about yourself, how you value yourself. Self -esteem is taught to us at a very young age.  
RT: There’s been a lot said about people having low self esteem and wanting plastic surgery. It’s important for doctors to weed out the patients that are looking for a procedure to cause a complete change in their lifestyle change because that’s not going to happen. Basically what you are saying is that I can walk around  and appear to be self confident but have low self esteem. Is that correct?
MJ: I  do think most plastic surgeons do a great job of that with their staff with talking to people and telling them. But it’s one  thing to tell them and the patient wants something their desperate for it and their need for it may be hidden from themselves and others.  I think that’s the scary part and I don’t think what they are really expecting the surgery to do for them. It is not going to rebuild their past if they feel unlovable. Getting a breast augmentation is not going to satisfy them or make them happier. 
RT: And doctors do weed these people out by listening tot heir expectations that’s when you really get into the substance of why someone is getting something done and their motivation. I think you have to look at motivation because if you don’t you will end up with a lot of unhappy people.  
MJ: I think a lot of the plastic surgeon are wise to it and I know with younger people they are asking, in several different ways who are you doing this for? 
(Here the complete audio of this segment here.)

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

RT: (From Letter) “I am considered confident by others but my confidence is a cover up for my self esteem.” How can these two things exist in one person?
MJ: The number one thing you have to remember is that your negative self talk becomes your child’s inner voice.  What ever comes out of your mouth is remembered in their brain.  When I ask patients of when their first memory was when having this issue with their body or if anyone else in their family has this issue they will say, “well yes…my mom or my dad said this when I was three…”

RT: This reminds me of the 5-15% of patients have plastic surgery are diagnosed with having body dismorphic disorder where any small flaw become huge for them and they are never satisfied. Have you worked with patients with this disorder?
MJ: Yes and it’s almost like that have this self hatred and it’s projected to a part of the body. You may say “oh I don’t notice that” but for them it’s huge. The surgeon may do a great job but they will come back and there is something not quite right and if they do not get a verbal validation they will pick another area. When you have an anxiety a compulsion will fuels it now they have to pick another body part that is not perfect. If they go to a therapist they may be able to uncover the thing in their life that is not perfect.  
RT: A lot of patient’s do not realize this but as they check out the doctor and their credentials the doctor is checking them out to see if they are a good candidate for the procedure.  Because when you find people that want everything done they find something wrong with every single thing and they tend to fall in this category of body dismorphic disorder. 
(Here the complete audio of this segment here.)

3 Questions Women Ask Themselves When Getting Plastic Surgery

  • What does my desire to have a cosmetic procedure say about me?
  • What does it say about my self esteem & my perception of myself?
  • What will others think about my decision?  
MJ: If I counsel a woman and she has these questions what I will tell her is that she does not have to tell anyone if this is something that will make you feel better about yourself  and you have the money for it so you don’t have to take out a huge loan that you won’t pay back…this is actually the least of your concerns.
RT: But the question “what will others say about me if they find out” what does that say about the person?
MJ: It says that they may have judged others who did it and it was probably a negative judgement. You have to have a cognitive ability to solve your inner conflict. 
RT:Why do you think plastic surgery still has a stigma around it?
MJ: Well I’m in medicine and I’m scared of it because I know what could happen and it’s not 100%, things could happen. Those are big risks and when I have apprehension about it that is why. But I feel that a lot of people assume someone else or their friend is trying to be better then others and among friends their is  competition among friends whether you acknowledge it or not. 

(Here the complete audio of this segment here.)

3 Questions Women Should Ask Themselves

  • Who are you doing this for?
  • What else are you planning to do?
  • What do I expect from my results/outcome?
MJ: If you get any augmentation for anyone else but yourself you are making a mistake because you will get attention but you will not get love. 

(Here the complete audio of this segment here.)

Special thank you to Mary Jo Rapini. Follow her conversations here:

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