The Start of Living Well Psychology
Updated: Apr 10, 2019
Over the years we have seen the profound effects that bariatric surgery can have not only to weight but also to physical health, confidence, self-esteem and relationships. But it is a complex surgery, not because of the procedure; there are some technically brilliant surgeons practising in the UK, but because of the process of adjustment that is needed after surgery. So much emphasis is placed on actually having the surgery, that learning how to live well afterwards can often get overlooked.
Life in the early stages after surgery is a series of transitions: the liquid to solid food progression, the physical recovery and resuming the demands and activities of life as usual. On paper, life can appear to be back to normal quite quickly. However, in our experience, the psychological "recovery" can take much longer. People often tell us that they feel a combination of euphoria and self-doubt; surgery can be both liberating and terrifying.
We have seen so many people who feel as if they are failing if their process of adjusting after surgery is not going as they expected. Fearing that you can’t even make bariatric surgery work can feel like the ultimate failure and it’s a very tough place to come back from. Sometimes support is also needed to help to refocus or re-prioritise aspects of life, however finding therapeutic support provided by people who understand the issues after surgery can be difficult.
Last year we presented at Obesity Week in Nashville USA. It is the largest conference for healthcare professionals and researchers. Jackie and I actually had time to properly sit down and talk together about our work and the way in which we wanted to be more creative in how we offer support. And so, the idea of Living Well Psychology was born. We wanted to be able to offer both group and individual support to people who are not only considering how to make the surgery a success but also for people who are trying to manage some of the challenges after surgery.
We have started with the workshops that people have asked us to offer. An important part of how we develop will be down to the feedback we receive about what and how we can best support you. We hope that you will join us on this journey so that we can create a space for you to thrive and (to use a phrase of the moment) to live your best life!
Vanessa and Jackie
Look out for our next blog
"To Tell or Not to Tell?" coming soon....