Bariatric psychology is integral to management of the patient subjected to bariatric surgery and helps improve adherence and adjustment to a new lifestyle.


Obese patients are considered psychologically normal as is the case with individuals of lower BMI and do not fit a specific psychological profile. The aim of psychologist is therefore not to search for underlying issues but rather create the best environment for the patient to succeed in their weight loss journey.


Patients may be uncomfortable with seeing a psychologist preoperatively, however the clinical interview is important to not only assess appropriateness for surgery but also allow for postoperative adjustment. The core components of the clinical interview include reasons for seeking bariatric surgery, weight and diet history, eating behaviour, understanding the lifestyle changes that come with surgery, and current social support.


Surgery results in major lifestyle changes, and the psychologist is a valuable resource in managing this and any mood symptoms or stressors that may develop.


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Talitha Da Costa

Clinical Psychologist

Obesity Unit South Africa