While obesity is traditionally considered a physical condition, psychological support is a principal discipline that contributes to successful outcomes for patients participating in the Peak Program.
There are significant emotional and behavioural implications associated with bariatric surgery, and these must be addressed prior to, during, and post-surgery.
While some bariatric procedures are irreversible, all forms of weight loss surgery will lead to lifelong changes. Before the operation can go ahead, a thorough psychological assessment will be made to ensure that the patient has the emotional capacity to fulfil a long-term commitment to make sustainable changes into the future.
What you can expect
Psychological support will begin with a two-hour psycho-educational discovery session before surgery.
This two-way process will help the patient understand what's required of them for sustainable weight loss.
In the first session, the psychologist will raise awareness of factors that may have contributed to obesity, explore the role food has played in the life of the patient so far, and identify and implement strategies that will help achieve emotional and physical happiness.
You'll be required to complete a health management questionnaire and eating awareness record before your first session. Information provided here will form the basis of your first session.
Not only is the questionnaire a foundation for your treatment, but it also fulfils your private healthcare criteria to receive a full rebate.
When you will see a psychologist
A weight loss journey of any scale is often filled with ongoing emotional hurdles. Throughout the Peak Program, a psychologist will offer ongoing support via email or face-to-face in line with the patient's needs.
The level of support required is very much dependant on the patient. You can visit the psychologist as often as you need to achieve and maintain your healthier weight with the following consultations recommended as a minimum:
Visit one: Prior to your surgery.
Visit two: Three months post-surgery.
Visit three: Six months post-surgery.
Visit four: 12 months post-surgery or once weight has plateaued.
Visit five: At any time if you have issues adjusting to your weight loss.
Visit six: At any time if unhelpful habits such as ‘disordered eating behaviours' start to present.
If you've used up all your sessions included in the Peak Program but still require psychological support, your GP may provide a referral, so you're eligible for a Medicare rebate.
For some patients, psychological support may be required for up to two years post-surgery. Working within a structured, multidimensional team, your psychologist will consult with your nutritionist, general practitioner, and surgeon to provide support that leads to long-lasting and positive outcomes.
Who will provide support?
Wendy Barislovsky and Linda Valmadre provide psychological support for The Peak Program. They have specifically worked in health and weight management for the past 15 years alongside bariatric surgeons and in weight management centres in Sydney, Lismore, Gold Coast and Brisbane.
Visits will take place at Gold Coast or Lismore consulting rooms where they will review your progress, identify any issues that may be hindering your progress, and set targets for your next consultation.
Additional appointments may be arranged as required on a standard fee for service basis. Health fund and Medicare rebates may apply.