Q: Is therapy required before undergoing weight loss surgery?
A: In general, therapy is not “required” before bariatric surgery. However, since it is major and in most cases irreversible, most surgeons require a psychological evaluation of surgery candidates to determine if their goals are realistic and if they have the psychological stamina and commitment needed to successfully lose weight after surgery. In many ways, the surgery itself is the easy part. Long term commitment to nutrition follow-up is much harder as anyone who has attempted weight loss knows. Reviewing your dieting and weight loss history with a mental professional can be useful in avoiding the same barriers to success you have experienced in the past.
This is a life changing surgery and most people are very pleased with the results. Since the weight loss will affect every aspect of your life, including your most important relationships, it would be beneficial to talk it over with a psychologist prior to the surgery to make sure you are anticipating the changes in you and the important people in your life. Lifestyle changes can be very hard on relationships. Therefore it is very important that everyone be aware of the impact the “new you” will have on them as well.