Dr Esther Hansen

Clinical Psychologist


Esther Hansen leads the psychology team of the plastic and reconstructive surgery department of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. She has also developed her private practice for the last five years.

About Dr Esther Hansen

Dr Heather’s areas of expertise include the treatment of body image concerns for individuals with a disfigurement, with body dysmorphic disorder and for people who have had surgery that has altered their body. She also provides psychological treatment for patients struggling with the effects of medical treatments for disease (e.g. chemotherapy for cancer) and supports people affected by long-term conditions. Esther Hansen is also experienced in pre-surgical psychological assessments to support decision-making and planning for surgical interventions, particularly in the areas of osseointegration, targeted muscle re-innervation, cosmetic and risk reducing mastectomy surgery. She is also able to provide psychological assessment and treatment for a range of mental health conditions, including depression, social anxiety, panic disorder.

Clinical profile

Esther has a Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of East London, one of the three North London NHS Education funded training courses for Clinical Psychology. She qualified in 2004 having written her thesis on decision-making for breast implant surgery. Her clinical experience has included working with older adults and adults in mental health settings, and six years experience in a community rehabilitation team working with adults with a variety of long-term conditions. She started her clinical practice in plastic and reconstructive surgery in 2005.

Esther Hansen currently sits on the breast and skin tumor boards and also belongs to the psychosocial expert reference group for London Cancer. She also coordinates a supervision group for psychological practitioners working with body image concerns in an acute health setting. She has published widely, continues to provide teaching to a variety of professional groups and presents at international conferences. She is also part of a team that has had a grant from the National Institute for Health Research and contributes actively to research where psychological aspects are investigated as part of surgical interventions.


  • Plastic surgery

Special interests

  • Cancer, Body Image, BDD, Psychological assessment prior to surgery (e.g. cosmetic, bone anchor, TMR, risk reducing mastectomy), chronic Illness, Mental Health problems (e.g. anxiety, depression, panic disorder etc.)

Research interests

  • Dr Hansen is involved in research that looks at the psychological impact of surgical interventions as well as the effectiveness of psychological interventions for body image distress.

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    Procedures Offered

    • Psychological Assessment and Treatment/Therapy.

    Clinical interests

    • Dr Hansen’s clinical interests and practice mainly cover psychological assessment and treatment for body image concerns (including body dysmorphic disorder), cancer and long-term medical conditions. She is heavily involved in psychological assessments to support decision-making and planning for surgical interventions, particularly in the areas of bone anchors, targeted muscle re-innervation, cosmetic surgery and risk reducing mastectomy surgery. She provides psychological interventions to improve preparedness for surgery.

    Hansen, E.L.E. (2004). Women’s Decision Making for Breast Augmentation Surgery. Unpublished Doctoral Thesis

    Hansen, E., and Clarke, A. (2008). Helping people with an Unusual Appearance. The Psychologist (Special Issue Disfigurement). Vol. 21 (6).

    Ekdawi, I. & Hansen, E. (2010). Working with Older People in Contexts of Difference and Discrimination. In G. Fredman; Anderson, E. & Stott, J. (Eds.). Being with older people: A systemic Approach. Karnac Books (Chapter 6)

    Milton, Alison & Hansen, E. (2010). Moving from Problems to Possibilities with Older People. In G. Fredman; Anderson, E. & Stott, J. (Eds.). Being with older people: A systemic Approach. Karnac Books (Chapter 7)

    Clarke, A.; Hansen, E.L.E.; White, P. & Butler, P.E.M. (2011) Low Priority? Cross sectional study of appearance anxiety in 500 consecutive referrals for cosmetic surgery. Psychology, Health & Medicine. 16(3): 304-312.

    Baker, D.M. & Hansen, E. (2011). The psychological impact of axillary hyperhidrosis is not altered by botox treatment. British Journal of Dermatology, 165(1).

    Baker, D. M. & Hansen, E. (2012). Botox treatment for axillary hyperhidrosis should only be offered with adjunct psychological input. British Journal of Surgery 99(6), 145.

    Hansen, E.L.E. (2012). Screening for Depression in Older Adults with Chronic Physical Health Problems. 2010 Audit published by NICE in section on “Shared Learning Implementing Nice Guidance” http://www.nice.org.uk/usingguidance/sharedlearningimplementingniceguidance/examplesofimplementation/eximpresults.jsp?o=550

    Hansen, E.L.E. & Butler, P.E.M. (2012). Challenges in Health Care Provision. In N. Rumsey & D. Harcourt (Eds.). The Oxford Handbook of the Psychology of Appearance. Oxford University Press.

    Hansen, E.L.E.; Clarke, A.; Austins-Parsons, N. & Butler, P.E.M. (2012). The Psychological Impact of Split Skin Grafts. Journal of Wound Care, 21(10): 490-497.

    Harcourt, D.; Griffiths, C.; Baker, E.; Hansen, E.; White, P. & Clarke, A. (2015). The acceptability of PEGASUS: an intervention to facilitate shared decision-making with women contemplating breast reconstruction. Psychology, Health and Medicine.

    Joseph, J.; Randhawa, P.; Hannan, S.A.; Long, J. Goh, S.; O’Shea, N.; Saleh, H.; Hansen, E.; Veale, D. & Andrews, P. (2016). Body dysmorphic disorder in patients undergoing septorhinoplasty surgery. Should we be performing routine screening? Clinical Otolaryngology.

    Rahman, S.; Langridge, B.; Hachach-Haram, N.; Hansen, E.; Bootle, A.; Bystrzonowski, N.; Hamilton, S. & Mosahebi, A. (2017). Assessing the effects of changes in care comissioning guidelines at a tertiary centre in London on the provision of NHS funded procedures of limited clinical effectiveness: an 11-year restrospective database analysis. BMJ Open, 7.

    Hansen, E.; Barsky Reese, J. & Grayer, J. Body Image and Couples. In M.C. Fingeret & I. Teo (in press). Body Image and Cancer. Oxford University Press.

    Like to book an appointment?

    Fill out the contact form below or call us on
    020 7317 7751 to speak with a member of our team

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