5 Types of Therapy that Can Help People Lose Weight

Options for Achieving Weight Loss Through Therapy

  • Group Therapy
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
  • Meditation
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
  • Psychodynamic Group Therapy

To achieve permanent or lasting weight loss, many people turn to mental health professionals who can offer various types of therapy that can help with weight loss. From one-on-one sessions and meditation to group therapy and behavioral therapy, each option is suited to the various challenges a patient may need to overcome. Psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and counselors may specialize in a particular type of therapy, as well as further concentrate on methods designed to assist with weight loss. The following are some of the psychotherapeutic options available for patients who want to lose weight.

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Group Therapy

One of the most well-known types of therapy occurs in a session with several participants. From informal support groups to those led by working therapists, support groups can help individuals lose weight through the connection those patients can make with other people who suffer from the same problems. As revealed by The Mayo Clinic, modern support groups may come together in face-to-face meetings, online communities, or teleconferences. A person can find group therapy options via formal recommendations from doctors, as well as through informal means that may include searches on the internet.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

During therapy sessions, mental health professionals will often employ cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as a method of eliminating harmful behaviors. The American Psychological Association reveals that reducing weight by just 10 percent and maintaining that weight loss for at least a year can result in dramatic health improvements. The article also suggests that CBT is beneficial because a patient can use the techniques he or she learns outside the psychologist’s office.


Meditation is an option that a patient can learn within the confines of therapy, as well as on one’s own. A holistic weight loss coach writing for Forbes suggests that meditation can help people understand their motivations for overeating, which can offer the first step toward lasting and actual weight loss. Meditation is available through formal or informal therapy. Meditation is sometimes referred to as “mindfulness-based cognitive therapy,” and some therapists combine meditation with similar methods like breathing exercises.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

According to Psychology Today, dialectical behavioral therapy helps patients build four skills that they can use to regulate their emotions and cope with stress. Those skills include gaining mindfulness, improving interpersonal effectiveness, increasing stress tolerance, and achieving regulation of emotions. Stress and emotional trauma can cause someone to have a dysfunctional relationship with food. Just about everyone has heard of the phrase, “emotional eating,” but this behavior is one that, when treated, can result in successful weight loss.

Psychodynamic Group Therapy

A scholarly article published in a journal known as Eastern Group Psychotherapy Society suggests that CBT is the “gold standard” in weight loss therapy but psychodynamic group therapy may provide the most effective therapy to obese patients with eating disorders. Unlike regular group therapy where official diagnoses might not exist, psychodynamic group therapy occurs in an environment where all participants have been given a similar diagnosis.

Just as there is no single solution for losing weight, there is no single type of therapy that will work for everyone who wants to lose weight. Regarding types of therapy, one patient may benefit from self-led meditation while another individual may need to meet with a psychiatrist or psychologist for one-on-one sessions. Speaking with a professional therapist can give people the clarity they need for choosing the best therapy for losing weight.