Weight Loss Surgery (Bariatric) Psychological Evaluations
Baptist Behavioral Health has a team dedicated to caring for bariatric patients. These psychologists and other licensed mental health professionals have specialized training and expertise in performing pre-bariatric surgery psychological evaluations and providing treatment for behavioral weight management and eating disordered behaviors. We work closely with other members of the bariatric team, including the surgeon, physician assistants, dieticians and bariatric coordinator to ensure continuity of care for all patients.
- Pre-surgical bariatric surgery psychological evaluations
- Pre and post-surgical individual therapy
- Pre and post-surgical group therapy
Psychological evaluation of patients before bariatric surgery is a critical step, not only because it is required by most insurance companies, but more importantly, to better understand your motivation, readiness, behavioral challenges, social support and any emotional factors that may impact your adjustment to the significant life-long lifestyle changes that accompany bariatric surgery.
The goal of the psychological evaluation is to support patients in being most successful with post-surgical weight loss and prevention of weight re-gain by identifying any personal factors that may complicate short and long-term outcomes and make recommendations to assist with any needed changes.
At Baptist Behavioral Health, we follow best practice guidelines from the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) as well as other leaders in the field of bariatrics to ensure we fulfill the bariatric evaluation requirements that insurance companies expect. The evaluation consists of a 60-minute face-to-face clinical interview, followed by objective computer-based testing. A feedback session is scheduled with the patient to openly discuss recommendations and impressions before sending a final report to the patient’s surgeon.
Pre and Post-Surgical Psychotherapy:
Many patients wait and do not initiate needed changes until after their surgery. Addressing problematic thoughts or behaviors BEFORE surgery will help set you up for success in the weeks, months and years to come. Data shows that those who participate in these interventions pre-surgery are usually more successful in sustaining their weight loss.
After surgery, some patient experience continued challenges adhering to new eating and exercise regimens. This may interfere with meeting your weight loss goals or may lead to weight regain, as a result of reverting back to previous unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. Additionally, as you lose weight, new emotional or social issues may arise that you did not anticipate. Professional psychological support from bariatric experts can help if you become discouraged due to weight loss plateaus or experience weight regain.
Psychotherapy at any point in the bariatric surgery journey is typically brief, time-limited and based on evidence-based practices. It is focused on providing support and teaching targeted skills and strategies to help you with:
- Implementing and practicing lifestyle changes
- Behavioral modification/Goal-setting
- Emotional eating
- Binge eating or other disordered eating behaviors
- Unhealthy behaviors such as alcohol or nicotine use
- Negative “self-talk” about your body image
- Eating “mindfully”
- Coping skills
- Anxiety or depression
- Relationship or work stress
- Adjusting to the “new you”
- Other factors that may impede your success
To make an appointment for a pre-bariatric psychological evaluation, individual or group therapy, please contact Baptist Behavioral Health at 904-376-3800 option 1. Note that you do not have to be receiving your surgery at Baptist Health to access our behavioral health services.
Psychological Evaluation Report:
The written report of the psychological evaluation is usually available within 10 business days from the date of assessment provided all online testing has been completed and a release of information has been completed.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why do I have to have an evaluation?
Bariatric surgery is a life-changing event. Each patient has their own unique history and experiences. Because of this, it is important to do a comprehensive assessment to help each individual meet the challenges of a changing relationship with food in the easiest way possible. The purpose of the psychological evaluation is to support the long term success of your surgery and lifestyle changes.
What will happen during the evaluation?
Evaluations usually take only one session, lasting from 2-2.5 hours. First, you will meet with Psychologist for an interview that will last about an hour. Second, you will complete a set of standard psychological tests. Then, a report will be sent to your physician within a few days of your appointment.
Your privacy is protected under legal and ethical standards. Specifics of this will be discussed at your appointment, but in general, with only a few specific exceptions, everything you share will be kept to the strictest confidentiality and shared only with your immediate medical provider as is necessary to coordinate your care. Please do not hesitate to ask any questions you have about this issue.
Can I receive a copy of my evaluation report?
You can receive a copy of the evaluation by contacting us and requesting a Release of Information form.