Psychodermatology Seminar at the Royal College of Physicians

Thursday 22nd January 2015

Board Members Barbara Kemp (Vice Chairman and Chief Executive of External Relations), Tracey Walker (CEO of Education), Lisa Gilbey (Administrative Director) and Dr Ingrid Wilson recently attended the Psychodermatology seminar.

There were many informative lecturers ranging from Dermatologists, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Gynaecologists, Endocrinologists and General Practitioners.

During the breaks we used the opportunity to introduce ourselves as the representatives of the Institute of Trichologists to the officers of The Psoriasis Association, Changing Faces Charity and to the representatives of all the pharmaceutical companies and to as many delegates as possible.

I could write about many of the informative lectures we heard on this seminar, but here a few most related to trichology.

Mrs Elizabeth Allen, a Trustee of the British Association of Skin Camouflage is an experienced and passionate lecturer. She has lectured for our students and for our Institute of Trichologists CPD seminar in Central London and for other allied societies.

Speaking at this event today, she expressed the language that some medical practitioners utilise during their consultations with patients.

The choice of words used can so often be misinterpreted, misleading or confusing to patients especially when diagnosing and giving a prognosis of a condition.

She encouraged the health professional to view things from a patient’s perspective and encouraged everyone to be aware of the need to consider the choice of words we use and their appropriateness for the situation.

Dr Lynne M Drummond is a Consultant Psychiatrist and Senior Lecturer with South West London and St George’s NHS Mental Health Trust since 1985. She has an incredible wealth of knowledge pertaining to severe Obsessive-Compulsive and Body Dysmorphic Disorders (OCD/BDD). She is a highly respected author, lecturer and has appeared on television programmes speaking about anxiety disorders and how she treats patients with cognitive behavioural therapies (CBT).

Dr Drummond co-incidentally has also lectured to The Institute of Trichologists’ Members and students at an annual CPD seminar day about the subject that she is so passionate about.

Dr Drummond discussed Body Dysmorphic Disorder which accounts for approximately 2-3 % of the adult population and is a serious, common condition that needs medical attention to reduce anxieties. She gave us an insight into how they diagnose an individual with BDD and how they use CBT to help the patient into a better state of mind in helping them to get better.

We, as Trichologists,will of course be aware that mental health is such an important area to recognise especially if deep anxieties need to be addressed.

Referring patients in the first instance to the G.P for referral on to the appropriately qualified medical practitioner is acting in the best interests of the welfare of our patients.

Dr Susannah Baron is a Consultant Dermatologist specialising in many areas of dermatology. She is a lead for paediatric dermatology at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital where she employs a holistic approach to treatments, understanding the huge impact skin conditions have on peoples’ lives. She sometimes combines treating some skin complaints with her medical hypnotherapy diploma.

The lecture gave us an insight into hypnotherapy for treating adults and children with moderate to severe atopic eczema. Very interestingly, this was a pilot study as she wanted to help to alleviate the symptoms of this chronic condition.

She presented us with clinical cases where she altered the patient’s state of consciousness.

One of the results of the study revealed that the patients were not scratching as much at night, which in itself was hugely beneficial for the patient in reducing excoriations, soreness and sleep disturbances.

She therefore elaborated on the fact that she could reduce the itch-scratch cycle that helped with some relief of this long term, difficult and distressing condition.

Lisa Gilbey MIT