Can Counseling Sessions Aid in Weight Loss?

Several methods exist for losing weight, and those who have never had long-term success with weight loss may wonder whether counseling sessions can aid in weight loss. Achieving successful weight loss is difficult is because there are so many reasons a person may gain weight in the first place.

One dieter might want to lose weight after slowly gaining weight during the aging process, and another dieter might want to lose weight left over from pregnancy. Yet another person might want to lose weight after gaining some due to a traumatic injury, and another might want to overcome a condition like Compulsive Over-Eating (COE) or Binge Eating Disorder (BED).

The question each of these dieters may face is, “can counseling sessions aid in weight loss?”

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Every Patient is Different and Requires a Unique Approach

According to an article in The Atlantic, eating disorders aren’t fully understood, and Binge Eating Disorder was only just added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 2013. The manual is the definitive, peer-reviewed publication for clinicians and psychiatrists who treat psychiatric illnesses.

Further complicating matters is the fact that all overweight and obese individuals aren’t suffering from a binge eating disorder, so there is no “one size fits all” approach to counseling sessions. Someone who seeks advice from a psychiatrist, or who attends counseling sessions, may have a variety of other underlying issues as to why they’ve gained weight or have been unable to lose weight.

Advice from the American Psychological Association

According to the American Psychological Association, patients who attend a counseling session to lose weight will discuss their history with the mental health care professional, and the psychiatrist, therapist, or counselor will then develop a plan.

Details of the plan may include making changes to the patient’s work environment or home, the creation of health goals, and the discussion and implementation of coping skills. The article from the APA goes on further to state that many patients begin to see changes after engaging in multiple counseling sessions.

Utilizing Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Weight Loss

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of psychotherapy where treatment of a disorder or problem involves altering harmful behaviors and replacing them with positive thoughts and actions. An article published in Psychology Today reveals that some mental health professionals have developed CBC techniques specifically designed for weight loss.

One practice is known as “Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Therapy” (MB-EAT) and was developed by a doctor at Indiana State University. The practice is based on a similar practice known as “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” (MBSR) that seeks to teach patients how to understand their bodies for cues on behavior and actions.

During therapy, a psychiatrist or mental health professional may ask a patient to focus on food while eating rather than multitasking in front of a computer or eating in front of the television. Focusing on the meal and the food one consumes may help the patient understand how hunger and satiety feel.

Counseling Sessions May Help With Weight Loss

Counseling sessions can’t provide an instant or automatic fix for obesity or excess weight, but they can aid in the discovery of a person’s reasons for overeating, as well as in the creation of coping strategies for preventing future weight gain and improving the likelihood of future weight loss.