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What do we really know about ‘blank face syndrome’? We ordered two shrink

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COVID-19- « The mask showed that they were more ‘comfortable’ with it, feel more secure with the mask on, and have more self-confidence. » For educational psychologist and teacher Brigitte Pruitt, the observation is clear: Faced with the end of mask-wearing, some teens no longer feel comfortable at all.

A discovery that echoes an article published at the end of March in the Catalan newspaper El Prideco and confirm the existence ofKara Vaccia Syndrome”, and translated into French as “the empty face syndrome.” Spanish psychologist Georgina del Valle described in the pages of the daily newspaper The concern that some people, especially teenagers, feel about the idea of ​​not wearing a mask.

For educational psychologist Brigitte Pruitt and clinical psychologist Allen Nateville Ed Hamo, meet them HuffPostIf some people are concerned about the idea of ​​removing the mask, the phenomenon of « empty face syndrome » remains to be discussed and put into perspective.

Rather, the « no-make-up syndrome »

« Compared to the population I can accompany, there are many adults, teens, and even children who may have some form of reluctance to remove the mask, » notes Allen Nateville Ed Hamo. The two psychologists have already noticed that some of the people they follow have difficulty removing the mask. The important thing for Allen Nateville Eid-Hou is to note that this reluctance does not become « pathological » as « the appearance of a phobia to show one’s face, and to take refuge behind a mask. »

“But the empty face syndrome, is not appropriate, rather I suggest a bare or bare face,” Brigitte Pruitt’s nuance. The educational psychologist explains: « Blank, he would assume that when we don’t have a mask, our face is empty, on the contrary where it is full. With the mask, we look like everyone else. Except for the look, a whole part of the face is empty. »

Various features

Regarding the affected population, the two experts did not make the exact same observations. “In my practice, I find more adults than children and adolescents because, among adults, there is perhaps a stronger awareness of the consequences of Covid, of this issue of responsibility. Most children and adolescents are very happy because there is no longer a mask, it is a form of liberation and appeasement,” emphasizes Allen Nateville Eid mother-in-law. For Brigitte Brut, young people are the first to be concerned: It particularly affects teens who have been shielded from other people’s sight. Adolescence is a period when they need intimacy but do not enjoy it in today’s society because they are photographers, because there are a lot of pictures of them circulating, especially on social networks. »

“The removal of the mask is revealed. Without the mask, adolescents are more exposed. It can give them complexes, especially since their body changes so much”, continues the educational psychologist, taking the example of facial hair in boys. “It is true that for teenagers, there is a matter of body, face, and beauty that come into play […]. Some teenage profiles can take refuge behind the mask, regarding physical complexes”, supports Aline Nativel Id Hammou.

The clinical psychiatrist also notes that “if a child, adolescent, or adult already has an anxiety disorder, they may have this apprehension to remove in relation to pollution-related anxiety., with the fear of transmitting Covid to the people we love.” […]. If we’ve been through the health crisis well or have already had Covid, it may be easier to allow ourselves to remove the mask. »

Putting « full faces » rehabilitation into perspective

This « syndrome » is also a recent discovery, as Allen Nateville reminds us of Mother’s Day. She compares « This freedom to take off the mask, we’ve all seen it for some time, it’s a syndrome in reaction to the health crisis we’ve been through, like cabin syndrome. »

The latter encourages us to « relativise rehabilitation ». « We have all adapted in one way or another to the health crisis, with an adaptation of barrier gestures, which two years ago we were told is very important. So we must give the public time to re-adapt to a new standard in accordance with « , she confirms. The clinical psychologist highlights that the end of mask-wearing indoors is still recent and uncertain.

Bare or bare-faced syndrome has not yet been recognized. « We still need at least a few months or a few weeks of hindsight to know if this syndrome can stabilize in any human, » explains Allen Nateville Ed Hamo.

Face it by listening to yourself

To deal with this syndrome, the two specialists advise to listen to each other. For Brigitte Pruitt, “Teens will be able to overcome this anxiety by customizing their body, deciding everything to their advantage, the strong points in their face, and what they like.”

« If we’re uncomfortable, it’s because we still need it. So simply listen to how you’re feeling, try to listen to your concerns as well, and ask yourself if they’re relevant or not, » adds Allen Nateville Ed Hamo. She recommends “Going gradually: You should try to do it when you feel comfortable, when there are not many people around, it also depends on the context, especially if you don’t feel it. No, we don’t force ourselves.”

The hardest part is accepting that others have removed it, believes the clinical psychiatrist, who remembers that a mask is always as protective for himself as for others. Less stressful then « to allow others time to allow themselves to remove it ».

See also on The HuffPost: « Orelsan ignites Tignes to reopen clubs »

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