Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Obesity-Surgery-Psychological aspects, Obesity-Surgery-Patients-Counseling of, Obesity-Surgery-Patients-Mental health, Obesity-Surgery-Patients-Attitudes, Medical social work-Evaluation, Pre-surgical intake sessions, Post-surgical support groups, Victim-victimizer-bystander dynamic, Self-help groups


This research study explores the perspectives of bariatric surgery patients about the role of pre and post bariatric surgery counseling. Their perspectives were gathered through semi-structured, qualitative interviews, which explored participants' experiences with counseling throughout the bariatric surgery procedure. This study also aimed to identify what barriers patients encountered when seeking counseling and what improvements could be made to the process. Major findings were that most participants felt unprepared for surgery, and that the pre-surgical psychosocial intakes were not useful in preparation. Many participants felt intakes could have been helpful if conducted differently. It was also identified that intake clinicians did not seem to have the knowledge to work with bariatric surgery patients. Another major finding was that despite research-driven guidelines for post-surgical support, participants' care teams seemed to speak very little about opportunities for ongoing support. Unfortunately, a surprising secondary finding was that when participants did attend those support groups they often found them to be confrontational and unsupportive. In some cases, this discomfort led participants to stop attending support groups. The finding suggests that bariatric surgery patients would value and potentially benefit from ongoing attention to counseling options, and from support groups facilitated by clinical social workers with experience in group dynamics.




iii, 95 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 84-89)