Psychotherapy/Behavioral Therapy for Weight Loss
Psychological and behavioral therapy services are an integral part of the comprehensive approach within the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Comprehensive Weight Loss Center. Therapy is important for long-term weight-loss, because it may help you cope with underlying thoughts, feelings, emotions, or behaviors that influence weight gain. Often, depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns co-exist with obesity, and it's important to address these concerns while you follow a weight loss plan.
There’s a difference between psychotherapy and behavioral therapy. Psychotherapy is a general term for individual counseling, where people can meet and talk with a trained professional one-on-one for a variety of concerns.
In contrast, behavioral therapy is a specific form of therapy based on the idea that our behaviors are a product of learning and that maladaptive behaviors can be changed by learning new ones. Cognitive behavioral therapy is another form of therapy that examines how thoughts affect emotions and behaviors and the importance of changing those.
Emotional Issues Impact Eating Patterns
Emotional issues can have a powerful impact on eating patterns. For example, feelings such as anxiety, sadness, anger or frustration can lead you to eat more often or in higher amounts than they would normally. Eating to excess can provoke additional emotions such as sadness or guilt, and may make you feel worse.
This can result in more excessive eating — resulting in weight gain and a variety of other health concerns. In turn, these concerns can influence more negative feelings. Using food to cope with emotions or stress creates a vicious cycle that can be difficult to overcome.
Changing Thought Patterns to Aid Weight Loss
A trained professional will help you identify and change a variety of thought patterns and behaviors. Food journals are beneficial for gaining insight into the reasons you overeat, or why you might be tempted to overeat again. Changing thoughts about food can help change eating behaviors and unhealthy habits. Overall, therapy helps people make positive changes for life.
People who want to lose weight arrive with a variety of issues that have influenced their weight gain. Stress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, life changes, such as a job loss or divorce, illness, injuries, and past abuse or trauma are several examples of issues that may influence weight gain or emotional eating.
Enhancing Self Esteem and Well-Being
Psychotherapy and behavioral therapy can enhance self esteem and personal well-being. Many people notice an improvement in body image and relationships, and they may start to become more socially active and feel more self worth. The transformation can be very empowering, providing a sense of accomplishment and increased confidence as you move through your weight loss journey.