Some individuals arrive at Anchorage Bariatrics following years of contemplating bariatric surgery. Others step through our front door urged by their primary care physician. Whatever your motivation, once you check into our office, you become our patient and we all keep your best interests paramount.

The decision to undertake weight loss bariatric surgery is a major step and not one to be taken lightly. It is the first step on a path that, like many of life’s ventures, contains hills and dales, ups and downs, forks in the road, and detours. And just like any journey, we are reminded that the goal is not only the destination, but the journey itself. The triumphant moments and even the disappointments can serve to urge us forward or indicate a change of course.

The Anchorage Bariatrics medical team, led by Dr. Justin Clark and Dr. Sean Lee, are 100% committed to providing the most professional and top-of-the-line services to help you reach your health and weight loss goals. Toward this end, we consider each patient’s medical history, mental health history, and concerns with the utmost of care, thoroughness and compassion.

Part of preparing for bariatric surgery is assessing whether the procedure is the most appropriate avenue for each patient and, if so, whether the patient is prepared to undertake the journey.

A few of the steps along the journey may include:

  • Medical tests such as lab testing
  • Medical appointments that include discussions and physical exams
  • Attending bariatric support groups
  • Meeting with our dietician
  • Undergoing a psychological evaluation

Our licensed clinical psychologists are tasked with evaluating a patient’s psychological readiness and appropriateness to move forward with their chosen bariatric surgical procedure. These doctors are really on the patient’s side, meaning, we want to assist the patient toward their health and weight loss goals in the most safe, ethical and supportive manner.

Sometimes, there remains foundational work to be accomplished prior to being an appropriate candidate for bariatric surgery. Keeping in mind the patient’s total well-being is paramount, and that includes physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual health. Just like how one size does not fit all, bariatric surgery is not appropriate for everyone seeking weight loss. At times, patients may need to take care of certain foundational aspects such as growing their support network, addressing unresolved emotional traumas in a therapeutic setting, or coming to a deeper understanding of current addictive behaviors prior to scheduling bariatric surgery.

So how does the psychological evaluation process work?  First and foremost, the patient is met with compassion and respect, free of judgment of right or wrong, good or bad. During the time the patient spends with the evaluating psychologist, they are asked to provide a thorough history of their family, weight concerns, weight loss attempts, customary diet, physical activity, traumas, mental health diagnoses, medical problems, addictions, hobbies, employment, and their understanding of their chosen bariatric surgical procedure and its accompanying basic risks, discomforts, and potential benefits. Finally, the patient is asked to share their concerns, hopes, fears and expectations involving bariatric surgery and life post-surgery.

The surgeons and psychologists collaborate to provide the best course of weight loss treatment for each patient, taking into account all of the medical and psychological factors. Our ultimate goal is to have happy, healthy patients and we work diligently to achieve that end.