Self-Care and Beauty Therapy in mental health

At St Andrew's our self-care experts deliver self-care and body image therapy to patients across all of our pathways, working in collaboration with nursing, occupational therapy, psychology, speech and language therapy and dietetics.

A growing body of research highlights the clinical potential of 'touch' to improve body image and confidence. We spoke to our Self-Care Beauty Therapist Liz Ritchie about how we support patients who have body dissatisfaction and issues with their self-worth...

How do you engage with people who lack self-esteem and confidence?

In order to successfully engage with the patients in our care, it is of primary importance to have the ability to create and nurture a healthy cycle of communication, where issues of gender, identity, dignity and self-worth are consistently addressed. Having gained skills in CBT therapy training and recently becoming a qualified Psychotherapist, I feel I’ve enhanced my understanding of the many complex needs of the patients I work with.

My colleague Vicky has also recently completed her training as a specialist skin Camouflage Therapist with the British Association of Skin Camouflage to help those with skin scarring. This issue is very common in mental health as a result of self-harm.

How important is this for our patients with mental health issues?

Beauty therapy works in a 1:1 relationship and has an important role in supporting individual’s self-esteem and confidence. It also helps to address the effects of illness and can aid recovery.

Working closely with doctors, we want to be able to complement their work and have the time to listen to our patients. We work with our hands and connect into a person's mind, body and spirit, improving their wellness.

Does this therapy play a vital part in recovery?

The promotion of positive body image, self-care and self-esteem are important and are an integral part of the comprehensive package offered for our patients to successfully recover. In this setting, issues are compounded by multiple factors relating to mental illness. These include lifestyle, disability, history of abuse, obesity and self-neglect, all of which need to be addressed with self-care therapy.