Alan Madin is Safety in Beauty’s resident psychotherapist working to promote the role of counselling within the aesthetic industry alongside his private practice. His professional diploma in person-centred counselling has seen him work in the areas of life-limiting and lifechanging conditions and bereavement, a voluntary role he still values. His work in trauma and PTSD is supported by studies in Rewind Therapy, and studies into Single Session Therapy and brief therapy support his work within an EAP role.
I fyou’re in the business of beauty, there’s good news: it’s booming. So much so that the industry is worth a whopping £27.5 billion, ranking 7th in the global economy for beauty spend. From cosmetics and lasers to skincare and aesthetic treatments, there’s no doubt that looking and feeling good has never been easier to access than now.
But while the post-covid cash registers may be ringing once more, research carried out by The Safety in Beauty Centre of Excellence in February 2022 indicates that eight in 10 clinic owners and professionals have experienced ‘Beauty Business Burnout’
(BBB). BBB is a term coined by the Safety in Beauty Campaign Founder, Antonia Mariconda, for business owners and professionals in the beauty and aesthetic industry who feel burnt out by a number of factors, including:
• Long working hours
• Juggling hectic schedules
• Waiting lists of demanding patients and clients
• High expectations to look and dress in a certain way
• A fast-paced, cut-throat industry
• Financial worry
• Competition issues
• Personal and work-life balance
• Age-related concerns
• Social media burnout
The survey further revealed that seven out of 10 professionals running a business in beauty or aesthetics admitted to being overwhelmed most days of the week and are currently suffering a mental health issue as a result, with top issues cited as anxiety, panic, depression, body image-related issues such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and drug or alcohol dependency.
The survey also indicated that the BBB pressures faced by both clinicians and business owners included:
• The pressure to look good as aesthetic industry role models. Many felt they were judged by patients to look and dress a certain way, worrying they may seek treatments with better-looking providers. This pressure leads to body image-related issues, such as BDD and depression (six out of 10 industry professionals felt their customers and patients made choices about beauty providers based on age and looks).
• Apost-covid surge in demand for beauty and aesthetic treatments has led to a majority of business owners feeling overwhelmed and anxious (with time management a leading concern for business owners and professionals who feel that if they cannot keep up, they will lose business).
• Asurge in clients leaving scathing online reviews and entering into litigious conflict if they are not happy with their treatments and results has seen an increase in beauty and aesthetic professionals facing mental health issues, panic-related disorders and anxiety.
• The fast-paced, competitive, and cutthroat industry described by a majority of the people surveyed means they feel enormous pressure to look good, work all hours, juggle personal and work life, social media and patients, resulting in a spike of anxiety, panic, depression, OCD and body image-related issues such as BDD.
• Social media perpetuating the myth of the beautiful, flawless, youthful, beauty professional or celebrity doctor/medic has led to eight out of 10 professionals and business owners feeling the pressure to keep up. This has resulted in feelings of inadequacy, which in turn fuels the vast array of mental health issues described above, sometimes causing individuals to use drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.
PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH
As several reports have found, burnout is described in terms of emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation1, diminished self-efficacy 2, and reduced personal accomplishment. 3Each factor contributes to the pressures faced, adding to the issues that caused the burnout in the first place.
Mariconda says, “The Covid-19 pandemic had already heightened statistics for mental health, and there is no doubt that the UK has seen a sharp continued increase, which will not ease for some years to come.
“The beauty and aesthetics industry has a unique privilege in being entrusted to help people look and feel better about themselves, however, this is now being achieved at the cost of the mental health of many professionals and business owners, who we tend to forget are also human. Many ugly factors are driving the force of beauty suffering, resulting in a rise in mental health problems as never seen before. I urge the industry to practice what they preach and take some much-needed self-care and time out.”
Taking a lesson from her counselling studies, Maricona believes that the ethical requirement for adequate self-care imposed on all counsellors is something that the aesthetic industry professionals would be wise to consider as part of their professional standards and practices. In order to provide effective care to their clients, practitioners must first be well themselves.
In a world where time pressures, hectic schedules and demanding patients are a reality, how do we start to take time and care for ourselves? First, we must recognise this is an investment in both ourselves, our teams and our business. It simply doesn’t make business sense not to. If your team aren’t performing effectively, then neither is your business. It pays to invest in their well-being, and your business will benefit as a result. “Promoting well-being at work through personalised information and advice, a risk-assessment questionnaire, seminars, workshops, and web-based materials will cost approximately £80 per employee per year.
For a company with 500 employees, where all employees undergo the intervention, it is estimated that an initial investment of £40,000 will result in a net return of £347,722 in savings,”4
Having recognised the value of self-care, where do we start? In a ‘time poor’ but ‘pressure rich’ world, it’s important to know where to target our efforts. Even just a few minutes focusing on our priorities and identifying areas to change is a good start. A way to do this is to try a ‘Mental Facelift’.
Take some time to divide your life into six to eight key areas: health, finances (personal or professional), career, business, relationships, family etc. Consider each of the important areas of your life and award it a score on how happy you are in that area.
By simply scoring out of 10, you can quickly see that anything eight and above just needs to be maintained, so keep doing what you are doing, but consider options to take or know who to get support from if something important changes.
A score of four to seven means you really need to do something. Talk to someone, change something, don’t just keep doing what you are doing. Find support options, and consider joining a professional organisation or community-based club, so you can share thoughts and get likeminded support. Consider a lifestyle change supported by organisations such as AA, DA or Weight Watchers etc., a fitness coach/local gym, or even a debt-guidance organisation. Relate or relationship counselling for personal or relationshipbased issues might be valuable, or just go home early, share a meal and reconnect – it’s a start!
CPD/education courses can help resolve perceived weaknesses or self-esteem issues, both professional or personal, helping increase confidence as well as being a good opportunity to meet people outside of work.
A score of three or less means you are potentially facing a real health issue. You are strongly advised to seek support from your GP or a recognised medical or mental health practitioner, such as a counsellor/ psychotherapist trained in the area you need support. You should consider what other agencies can offer immediate support, too.
Talking through this process with a trained counsellor can be an effective way of making sense of issues that have challenged you for a while.
So far, this article has focused on the issues raised in the Safety In Beauty Campaign survey; but what if a more significant event or experience has impacted on you or your employee? PTSD as a result of trauma, for example, either in your professional or personal life, and can have a serious impact on how we respond to challenges.
Research5suggests that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects four in every 100 people in the UK.
Symptoms of PTSD and complex PTSD include:
• Constant issues with keeping a relationship
• Finding it difficult to feel connected to other people
• Aconstant belief that you are worthless with deep feelings of shame and guilt
• Acontinuous and severe emotional dysregulation (finding it difficult to control your emotions).
It is worth noting that many of these are reflected in the responses to the Safety In Beauty survey. Rewind Therapy is a proven way to treat PTSD, cPTSD and phobias quickly and effectively. Research by Cardiff university6found that current treatments of CBT and EMDR at best achieve a 48% success rate, compared to more than 90% success for the Rewind Technique.
Rewind Therapy is also very costeffective, as most people report an immediate benefit after only one session.
It is also significantly less intrusive and less emotionally distressing compared to other therapies that require you to re-live, re-tell or even re-experience the traumatic event.
When troubled, we try to make ourselves believe that we are ‘OK’. We might even try to fake it until we make it or hide behind a mask, but that becomes a pressure, a burden of its own, and we can struggle to function and lose sight of what’s important.
Self-care is hugely important. A ‘Mental Facelift’ might be a start point. It allows you to address the issues affecting you positively and move forward in a way that improves not just your business but your whole life. Rewind can painlessly remove the impact of trauma and PTSD.
1. Killian, K. D. (2008). Helping till it hurts? A multimethod study of compassion fatigue, burnout, and self-care in clinicians working with trauma survivors. Traumatology: An International Journal, 14(2), 32–44.
2. Stebnicki, Mark. (2007). Empathy Fatigue:
Healing the Mind, Body, and Spirit of Professional Counselors. American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation. 10. 317-338. 10.1080/15487760701680570.
3. Clark, H. K., Murdock, N. L., & Koetting, K. (2009).
Predicting burnout and career choice satisfaction in counselling psychology graduate students. The Counselling Psychologist, 37(4), 580–606.
4. Knapp, M., McDaid, D. & Parsonage, M. (2011).
Mental Health Promotion and Mental Illness Prevention: The Economic Case. Retrieved from gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/ attachment_data/file/215626/dh_126386.pdf (accessed 01/05/22)
5. McManus S, Bebbington P, Jenkins R, Brugha T. (eds.) (2016). Mental health and well-being in England: Adult psychiatric morbidity survey 2014.
6. January 2021, European Journal of Psychotraumatology 12(1):1844439