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Therapy...how in the world do you figure this out?



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At my 2 month follow up I asked the nurse practitioner if she could recommend a therapist to supplement my weight loss journey. She said no one had ever asked her that before but it seemed like a good idea, and just recommended the psychiatrist who did my pre-op evaluation. Hmmmm...so I guess my particular program puts no emphasis on talk therapy. I don’t really think I need to schedule with a psychiatrist — I’m not looking for medication. I feel like my weight loss journey has been fairly ‘normal’ so far, but clearly I don’t have a healthy relationship with food or I wouldn’t have needed the surgery in the first place. I want to do everything I can to make this a success.

If you’ve gone to therapy, how did you find your therapist? Did you look for someone with a particular specialty? Or particular credentials? How do you know if you’ve got a bad therapist? Or a good one?

What major kind of topics did you talk about? And did it help? I’m trying to figure out what I should tell the person what I’m hoping to get out of the talk.

Maybe I’m making this way more difficult than it should be, but I just don’t even know where to begin.

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Great question.

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My recommendation would be to look for counseling centers or groups in your area. Rather than having to search for an individual therapist, a center will usually be a group of many mental health professionals and they will work to pair you up with a therapist that they feel will be the best fit and have the most experience with the issues that you want to address.

And always remember that you control the relationship. If after a few sessions you feel it is not a good fit, you are under no obligation to continue with that therapist. Keep shopping until you find what fits best for you.

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Talkspace and BetterHelp are great virtual resources that let you look at bios and pick someone you think will be a good fit. They only do telemed visits which is not always great, but they can let you expand your net of potential therapists wider than your local area.

For me it's a lot of trial and error. One of the most important things in having good therapeutic outcomes is to have a good relationship with your provider, which you won't know until you give them a chance. Don't be discouraged if you try a couple people and it's not a good fit. You will also probably have a credential preference -- anyone who is a PhD in psychology, licensed counselor, licensed clinical social worker, licensed marriage and family therapist, etc, is a possibility, but each education path kind of has a different focus. I prefer psychologists, mainly because I am a clinical social worker and feel like they are the only ones smarter than me. 😂😂

I think it is important to go in with an open focus -- have a couple questions or ideas, but also let their questions or feedback help guide you.

All that said, I have had a helluva time finding a therapist that has been really helpful regarding weight. My therapist that I LOVED was more of an accept-yourself-at-any-weight-don't-diet kinda person. The following one that was more interested in health/weight stuff was not a good fit in other areas. I am trying a 3rd one now. I am not sold yet, but I have only met her once, so we shall see.

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I didn't go through therapy (although everyone had to have one meeting with the health psychologist at my clinic as part of the spiel), but I know a lot of WLS patients who have. I'd look for a psychologist or health psychologist who either specializes or has had a lot of experience working with eating disorders. Once you know a few names, check them out and see if you "click" with any of them, since that's really important, too. I agree you probably don't need a psychiatrist since you don't need meds.

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I started seeing a therapist as soon as I got on my husband’s health insurance back in 2013. I was worried that I was going to be a parent like my mother, and that terrified me. It took years of therapy to understand that I’m nothing like my mother. Anyway, back to the topic, in the years that I’ve been seeing my therapist she’s seen me gain and lose, gain and lose, over and over again. Finally, I told her that I was planning on having surgery, and she was extremely supportive. We’ve talked about it multiple times as it’s going to be a huge part of my life very soon. It also helps that her spouse also had gastric bypass, so I know someone that has been through it, too (her spouse also does her scheduling and whatnot). I was really lucky in that she and I really clicked within the first few weeks. Having said that, my parents forced me to see a therapist when I was in my teens that just agreed with everything my mother did, including the abuse. She would ask me questions like “well did you think maybe you deserved it?” And I don’t know if she was being the devil’s advocate there, but it really bothered me. I started skipping on appointments until my parents got tired of paying the $100 no show fee, and then they stopped forcing me to go.

My suggestion is to maybe ask around to people you know that might be seeing a therapist, and ask them who their therapist might recommend. I was actually told about my therapist through my husband’s coworker who uses the same group where my therapist used to work (She has since ventured into her own business and expanding it!). Another possible tip is to call your insurance and ask if they can give you a list of providers in your area. Then you can do some research online if you have the time, for someone that might be a good fit.

In the days of COVID, an online option could also be a good place to get started. It will probably be a while until you can see a therapist face to face in person. I haven’t physically seen mine since February. I’ve been seeing her so long though that she gets a good read on my tone or silence, and can tell when I’m trying to unpack something mentally.

Anyway, I wish you the best of luck.

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I am a social worker. I can do therapy, I just don't happen to - I work in case management as a supervisor in foster care and adoptions ( just to clarify ) -

So I kind of can see this from both sides. From the client side - take some time and think about what you REALLY want to work on in therapy. What do you see as possible things that you are dealing with emotionally or socially or in your own head that isn't working for you. Come up with at least 3 to 5 broad issues - and THEN try calling either your insurer or local department of mental health , or local hospital/medical center for referrals and get names of licensened social worker therapists or licensed counselors near to you. Then look them up and find out something about them. What do they specialize in ? You might want someone who is doing short term and maybe cognitive -behavioral therapy (CBT) - maybe someone who has worked with other folks with issues you are dealing with.

As a therapist I really appreciate people who know why they are in my office. I don't want to spend all of my time trying to guess why they are there. "Im upset all the time." When a client comes in with ideas of where they would like to be or where they are feeling stuck with something in life, or dealing with a specific change then I have a better idea where to start and where we want to head.

Hope that helps.

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On 09/28/2020 at 02:14, BriarRose said:



I am a social worker. I can do therapy, I just don't happen to - I work in case management as a supervisor in foster care and adoptions ( just to clarify ) -




So I kind of can see this from both sides. From the client side - take some time and think about what you REALLY want to work on in therapy. What do you see as possible things that you are dealing with emotionally or socially or in your own head that isn't working for you. Come up with at least 3 to 5 broad issues - and THEN try calling either your insurer or local department of mental health , or local hospital/medical center for referrals and get names of licensened social worker therapists or licensed counselors near to you. Then look them up and find out something about them. What do they specialize in ? You might want someone who is doing short term and maybe cognitive -behavioral therapy (CBT) - maybe someone who has worked with other folks with issues you are dealing with.




As a therapist I really appreciate people who know why they are in my office. I don't want to spend all of my time trying to guess why they are there. "Im upset all the time." When a client comes in with ideas of where they would like to be or where they are feeling stuck with something in life, or dealing with a specific change then I have a better idea where to start and where we want to head.




Hope that helps.


Thanks, @BriarRose. This is super helpful! I like being prepared, so I will get a list of things I’d like to work towards.

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I am currently in therapy. I continued with my therapist who completed my psych evaluation. And the plus with this counselor is that he is a certified bariatric counselor. He is able to address my current weight loss journey that my previous counselor sorta did not have a clue. I am a stress eater, so we mainly talk about life issues that stress me. And this strategy helps because I feel like I can decompress every week.

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11 minutes ago, futurefinemama said:

certified bariatric counselor

I didn't even know there was such a thing! Life changing!

I can't find a way to search for providers on their website, but there are some providers listed as they become certified. https://www.aabc-certification.org/blog/category/national-board-certifications/

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