Disfigurement is never pleasant, and in this age of body-building, facelifts, breast implants, and bikinis, the slightest imperfection or scarring can make a patient feel like the Phantom of the Opera. If the patient has a religious background, this can be a powerful resource, and I emphasize that the real self is still there, and they can learn to forgive anyone who doesn't know that fact and looks askance. Patients without spiritual resources need to be approached with a more Ericksonian technique, utilizing whatever ego strengths are available.
Physical rehabilitation requires determination to stretch out contractures, ignoring or modifying perceptions of itching and irritation in scars, and overcoming heat intolerance (Wakeman, 1988). Above all, one must persevere in physical therapy until maximal improvement is attained. Physicians tend to leave this to the physiotherapist so completely that it is almost like abandoning the patient. Hypnotic suggestions directed at these problems near the end of treatment are a final expression of interest and encouragement, and give the physician a matchless opportunity to congratulate the patient on his participation in the outcome, as he resumes control of his own life.
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