More than 60 percent of the U.S. population is overweight with about 30 percent classified as being obese. Obesity is a life-threatening condition and can result in physical, psychological and social co-morbidities as well as poor quality of life. With over 12 years as a clinical psychologist, Dr. Cherwony has extensive experience working with patients who struggle with obesity and with those who have chosen to pursue weight loss surgery. Dr. Cherwony understands the heart-felt issues of obesity such as the pain, frustration, challenges and unfortunate discrimination, and will help you to be emotionally prepared for the amazing, exciting and challenging life transformation of long term weight loss and better health. Whether you are looking for surgical or non-surgical options to better health, Dr. Cherwony can help you!

Bariatric or weight loss surgery is a life-changing event. For those individuals who have struggled with weight and food issues their whole life, they can finally have the opportunity to lose a lot of weight and drastically improve their health and overall quality of life. Both bariatric patients and professionals will tell you that the surgery as remarkable as it is, is only a medical tool. I have seen firsthand the improvements in a patient’s overall quality of life following surgery. However, there are also many struggles that bariatric patients experience. Once the surgery is over, the work begins and the psychological factors come into play. Despite what some may think, there is nothing easy about this life-altering surgery. Patients must enter into a new relationship with food because eating patterns must change. For example, patients are expected to change their lifestyle in terms of how, what and when they eat as well as introducing new exercise habits. Ultimately you are being asked to change years of habits and behaviors. Your eating habits are not an isolated event. During individual therapy sessions, Bariatric patients report experiencing an emotional loss when food is taken away. Patients must learn healthy coping skills to replace the use of food. They must learn to put their own needs ahead of others. Years of old habits do not disappear because of a surgery. In addition to the value of learning new habits to replace the use of food it is also important to understand the emotional hurdles that have blocked attempts at successful weight loss in the past. The majority of my patients know more about food and diets than most. Yet they continue to sabotage their weight loss efforts. The psychological component of weight loss surgery is a key component to your recovery and can greatly impact your long term success.

Bariatric surgery includes several medical options, such as Roux en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), the sleeve gastrectomy and lap band to help patients struggling with obesity to lose weight. Preoperative bariatric evaluations are conducted prior to undergoing weight loss surgery. Many insurance companies want to see that the individual is a suitable candidate for compliance following surgery. Bariatric practices that have met the standards for Centers of Excellence expect that all of their patients will undergo a thorough psychological bariatric evaluation before being considered for surgery.

Dr. Cherwony views the preoperative bariatric psychological evaluation as the first opportunity to educate her patients on the lifestyle requirements following surgery. An open dialogue begins between you and Dr. Cherwony, where you can feel comfortable sharing any concerns or ambivalence that you may have. Dr. Cherwony has watched her patients transform their lives from obesity to good health. It is a second chance for living a healthy and normal lifestyle. For this reason, it is her goal to help all her patients who are looking toward the surgery to gain clearance from the psychological evaluation and follow through this life changing event with the best possible results. The number one reason that Dr. Cherwony conducts a thorough evaluation is to help prepare her patients for long term success. I want to see you lose the weight but more importantly, I want to see you keep it off for good. Following the evaluation, she will discuss the steps that you can take to greatly increase the odds that you will be successful long-term. Just thinking that you will be successful is not enough. Psychological support helps you to keep it off for good.

Individual therapy is recommended for bariatric patients. Many psychological issues specific to bariatric surgery surface in the months and years following the surgery. Dr. Cherwony has the expertise necessary to identify and address the psychological issues that manifest as related to bariatric surgery. Dr. Cherwony works with her South Florida clients to help them set their lives up in such a way to be successful no matter what. Her basic philosophy is that when you start to take care of your own needs first, everything else falls into place. She has witnessed this become a reality for all of her patients who are willing to take the necessary steps to take care of themselves.

Dr. Cherwony works hand in hand with her bariatric patients, from the preoperative preparation through the surgery itself and for many years preoperatively. Dr. Cherwony’s services include the pre-operative bariatric evaluation, pre-and post-operative individual counseling, support groups, and consultation. She has been a leading expert in this field. She has seen thousands of bariatric patients over the years for both evaluations and therapy. She has also presented at bariatric conferences and has trained other psychologists and members of the multidisciplinary team on understanding the specific needs and how to help these patients. Dr. Cherwony helped develop the psychological component of the aftercare program for US Bariatric in Ft. Lauderdale. She continues to run their support group and provides patient consultation for them.