Imagined Ugliness Syndrome continued...
While she is not opposed to cosmetic surgery, Kearney-Cooke emphasizes that it should be done as part of a larger self-improvement plan, not as the answer to an otherwise unfulfilling life.
"I have a patient in her 50s whose husband left her recently," she says. "She got her eyes done because she's dating again and wanted to look better, but she's not expecting that alone to change her life. The important thing is that she is also in therapy, working on herself in other ways, and examining what went wrong with her marriage."
So much of cosmetic surgery is about looking for approval outside yourself, says Kearney Cooke. "It's the people who have a sense of balance, who can incorporate surgery into the bigger picture -- which means also looking within one's self to develop self-confidence and a healthy body image -- who are going to feel most satisfied in the long run."