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Sometimes appearance changes as the result of cancer surgery, vehicle accidents, work-related accidents, physical abuse or even dog bites. When this happens, CHA psychologists are available to help patients and their families deal with the psychosocial issues involved.

Depression and social anxiety often results in individuals with acquired facial and hand deformities, says David Sarwer, PhD, CHA team psychologist. “Post-traumatic stress disorder also can occur. Reconstructive surgery and prosthetic care are important, but many psychosocial issues often remain.”

Patients who are clearly disfigured lose their anonymity -- they can no longer walk through the mall or go to a movie without being noticed. CHA psychologists help with the behavior and cognitive modifications that can help patients reintegrate into society.

“We try to address the thoughts and behaviors around patients’ changed appearance,” Dr. Sarwer says. “We help patients develop coping skills -- how to deal with unwanted stares and comments, how to relate to acquaintances, work colleagues and partners.”


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Need an appointment? Request one online 24 hours/day, 7 days/week or call 800-789-PENN (7366) to speak to a referral counselor.

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