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“It’s important to choose the right medical professionals as you assemble a team to assist you in accomplishing your goals for long term and overall good health.
Long term success with a bariatric intervention is not guaranteed by surgery alone but hinges upon your ability to make permanent dietary and lifestyle modifications. While your body is changing, most of the same negative feelings and self-doubts remain. It is wise to be proactive in finding a therapist to help you deal with the unprecedented change bariatric surgery brings.
We are all in this together and are of single purpose to help you realize long term success and freedom from Morbid Obesity.
The following article was written by Beverley N. Mucciardi, a licensed psychotherapist located in Coral Springs, Florida – I highly recommend therapy to help with situations dealing with bariatric procedures or really just life issues in general. A good therapist is warm and comforting and wise. If you are local, she may be the right person for you, however her words help many of us no matter where we live.” – Susan Maria Leach
Fears About Psychotherapy – Beverley N. Mucciardi, licenced psychotherapist
For many people making the decision to seek psychotherapy is very difficult for a variety of reasons. One of the major ones is the unfortunate idea that only crazy” people go to a therapist. I’d like to dispense with that idea right away. I have been in practice for nearly twenty years and do not work with people who are chronically mentally ill. For the most part, my clients are no different from the people who are our family members or neighbors or coworkers, the people we all interact with every day, in fact, my clients are people like all of us. I have had my own therapy. My life now is a testament to the benefits of the partnership between a skillful therapist and a motivated client who is willing to do some work – not be the “perfect patient”, just be committed to putting forth some effort.
The second impediment to seeking treatment is the way therapists and psychotherapy are sometimes depicted in TV programs and movies. Unlike what you may have seen in the media, a skillful therapist would never judge, humiliate, belittle or try to control their client’s lives. Nor would an ethical therapist engage in friendships or romantic relationships with a client or former client. Therapists are bound by law to maintain high standards of confidentiality. That means their practice is set up in such a way that the identity of their clients is protected and information about the client is never revealed without the express permission of the client for a good reason, for instance information provided to the client’s insurance company so the client can receive their benefits or certain other circumstances. Ask your therapist to clarify the privacy practices they follow.
The third major barrier to seeking therapy is fear. This is a nearly universal emotion that we all are likely to experience when we’re facing a situation in which we don’t believe we have much control or we’re afraid we may be judged and found wanting. I have the utmost respect for people who gather the courage to call to ask questions about my practice or to make a first appointment, and even more for those folks who show up for their first session. This fear would be diminished for most people if they would adopt the mindset of a consumer
Choosing a Therapist
When you go to a therapist, you are seeking a specialized service and hopefully you will use discrimination in choosing the person who provides that service to you. I tell my new clients at the beginning of the first appointment that just as my goal for that hour is to begin to know her/him, it is important for the client to be aware of how it feels to be with me. At the end of the initial session, we discuss whether or not my perspective and therapeutic style seems to be a good fit with the client’s needs. On the rare occasions when it doesn’t seem to be a good fit for whatever reason, I do the best I can to give the client some referrals to help continue her/his search. Not every therapist does this, but you could adopt that mindset for yourself. Actually, it is very important to the outcome of your work in therapy that you do.
Numerous studies have been conducted over many years to identify the factors that determine a successful outcome of psychotherapy in both the short term and the longer term. Contrary to the expectations of many researchers, the type of therapy provided, weather psychodynamic, humanistic, cognitive/behavioral, interpersonal, etc., has not been shown to be to the most important factor. While there are many other components of treatment that have been studied, the most important predictor of a positive outcome is the relationship between the client and the therapist. So it is very important that you understand that you may have to “shop” a little to find a therapist who is a good fit for you. You owe that to yourself.
You can begin this process by speaking to the therapist on the phone for a brief discussion of your concerns before you make the first appointment. Don’t expect a therapist to engage in a lengthy discussion before a first appointment, but if you can state your issues succinctly, most therapists will speak to a prospective client for five to ten minutes. The first question, of course is does this therapist have competence in and an interest in working with the sort of problems you’re bringing to therapy. If so, during that brief discussion you may be able to gain some sense of this therapist’s compatibility with you.
When you arrive for the first appointment, remember that you are free to decide to choose to work with this person or to look for another if something does not feel right. You may want to consider the following factors. While you don’t need to feel as if this person is your best friend, you should feel reasonably comfortable and safe in this therapist’s presence. You should feel respected and as if the therapist is interested in you and is paying attention to your experience of what is going on in your life. Feel free to ask whatever questions you may have. Trust you own instincts. But also keep in mind that you don’t want to work with a therapist who will only tell you what you’re happy to hear or who will never challenge you to stretch yourself or who won’t invite you to confront some difficult aspects of your life. Most of us have enough friends and/or family members who are either overly critical or overly soothing; we don’t need to pay a therapist for either! The work of therapy is indeed work. You want to choose a therapist you can trust to guide you through the work to a more complete and satisfying life.
You might know at the end of the hour of the initial session that you want to work with this person or you may give yourself a few sessions to see how it works out. If you do need to try more than one therapist before finding a compatible one, remind yourself that you’d shop for a new pair of shoes, or a new refrigerator or a new car. Why would you settle for the first therapist you happen upon if you don’t work well with that person? Since you’re choosing to embark on the great journey that psychotherapy can be, commit yourself to finding the best partner and guide for the trip!
Beverly Mucciardi – LCSW
Coral Spring, FL