A Therapist's Role in a Pre-Surgical Interview for a Gastric Bypass Procedure

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A Therapists Role in A Pre-Surgical Interview for a Gastric Bypass Procedure

The purpose of this paper is to determine the role of the psychologist when evaluating a patient seeking a gastric bypass procedure. To this date there is no standard avenue given to those conducting the interview. Due to the limited knowledge of long term success post-surgery a guideline is given for psychologists to follow. Continued research is needed to determine what may be needed in the interview that is not being addressed at this time.

A Therapists Role in A Pre-Surgical Interview for a Gastric Bypass Procedure A huge problem in the United States for the average individual is obesity. While traditional weight loss programs are failing and more extreme methods are being used, psychologists are being called upon to determine if individuals are mentally fit to have a procedure called Bariatric surgery (ie, gastric bypass). This procedure is used for populations of people whom are extremely obese. Therefore extremely obese patients are turning to this unconventional method to lose weight. Unlike traditional weight lose methods whose risks are low, gastric bypass procedures have high health risks involved. In order for this surgery to be successful patients need to reframe their thinking after surgery to continue to maintain the weight that is lost due to the procedure. There have been no clear assessment tools psychologists’ use for pre-op assessment but many psychologists are using a standard assessment to determine if the individual is a candidate for bar iatric surgery. Even though a patient may not want to undergo a psychological evaluation it is a necessary criterion in order to undergo this extreme weight loss procedure. The information a psychologist collects in the pre-op procedure is why they are seeking surgery, diet and weight history, what are their habits currently in regard to eating, educating patient that future lifestyle changes associated with behavior modification therapy, history and current social supports, and any psychiatric symptoms (current and past) (Snyder 2009). The psychologist’s 3 responsibilities during the assessment is to collect a history about the patient, act as an educator providing information to patient about the psychological aspect of the surgery, and the therapist motivating the patient to seek post surgical behavior modification treatment while helping the client deal with emotions that may come up during the evaluation (Snyder 2009). The psychologist’s initial question is the patient’s reason for surgery and what are they hoping to accomplish. The therapist therefore will determine the clients expectations to assess if the client has unrealistic expectations centered around the surgery results (ie. motivation due to only changing physical appearance). The results may suggest the patient may not be a candidate for surgery. Researchers have learned the motivation for surgery should be strictly for health reasons (Bauchowitz, A., 2007). Patients that have unrealistic expectations regarding weight loss are prone to issues of depression when the surgery and outcome is not what they expected. The second area assessed is a review of the patients eating habits past and current. Researchers found that clients learned messages from family that were contributing factors to weight gain (ie. eat everything on your plate) (Gibbons, L. M., et al., 2006). Psychologists’ also determine if a client has had past failures with diets and if not the client is encouraged to try dieting before seeking surgery. The philosophy behind this way of thinking is due to getting used a healthy lifestyle with food intake. The role of the psychologist here is to educate the patient with what will be needed in the future to maintain their ideal weight. They are warned going back to old behaviors with eating behaviors and habits could result in gaining all their weight back....
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