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The psychology of cosmetic surgery and aesthetic intervention

24 September 2020 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
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This introductory webinar will introduce the psychology of appearance and the factors that influence potential patients to seek cosmetic surgery and/or less invasive aesthetic interventions.

Common ‘myths’ about the anticipated psychological impact of altering appearance will be highlighted.

Participants will be invited to consider the way in which society promotes these myths and the resulting impact on young people and disadvantaged groups. Evidence for the effectiveness of common procedures will be discussed and alternative pathways for management discussed.

The attendees are expected to learn: 

  1. Develop a broad understanding of the psychology of appearance and the factors that influence potential patients to seek cosmetic surgery
  2. Be able to ‘bust’ common myths about appearance and wellbeing
  3. Have a basic introduction to common surgical and less invasive aesthetic procedures and their expected outcomes
  4. Have an awareness of groups with a reduced likelihood of benefitting from cosmetic procedures; a familiarity with the signs and symptoms of psychological vulnerability
  5. Be aware of alternative psychological pathways for care and support.


This training is designed to inform and facilitate practitioners working in primary care and mental health settings who are interested in knowing more about this area and how to access advice and support. Those working in secondary specialist settings are welcome but will have some prior knowledge of the areas covered.

Event Location: 


Dr Alexandra Clarke CPsychol AFBPsS

Dr Alex Clarke is a consultant clinical and health psychologist. From 2002 - 2014 she set up and led a group of psychologists working in plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

She has been a visiting professor at Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) since 2007, was awarded an honorary doctorate by The University of the West of England in 2015 and honorary membership of BAAPS (British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons) in 2017.

Her research has focussed on the psychological management of disfiguring conditions. As part of the Appearance Research Collaboration co-ordinated from CAR, she led the intervention strand of a large multi-centred study of factors associated with adjustment to disfiguring conditions. This resulted in a multi-authored book for clinicians published in 2014: Clarke et al: CBT for appearance anxiety and she has also authored and co-authored 100 peer reviewed papers.

Her current research interests focus on the development and evaluation of brief assessment and audit tools for surgeons working in aesthetic plastic surgery settings and psychological interventions to facilitate shared decision making.

Professor Nichola Rumsey CPsychol AFBPsS

Professor Rumsey is a health psychologist and Professor Emerita of Appearance Psychology, UWE, Bristol.

She founded the Centre for Appearance Research at UWE in 1992 and was its Co-Director until 2018.

Nichola has an international reputation for her research into the psychology of visible difference (disfigurement) and has attracted over £9m in funding to support research on appearance and has published widely in the field.

She acted as BPS Consultant to the UK Government’s Department of Health 2004-2010. Nichola has led and continues to participate in several EU funded projects, including Chairing the EU funded COST Action IS1210.

Registration is now open and available online only.

In order to register for the event, you will need to sign in using your BPS log in details. If you are not a returning customer, you will need to create an account.

Fees incl. VAT.

Society members £48.50
Non-members £80

Please note e-subscibers are not eligible for Society Member rates.

Read the full list of existing e-subscriber benefits.

Please contact [email protected] if you wish to discuss or upgrade your membership.

Registration query? Please contact [email protected]

For any other queries please email [email protected]

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