The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of mental health professionals who assess adult bariatric surgery candidates. Previous research indicated significant variance in the content of these types of assessments and a lack of standardization of the assessment process. While literature exists on the experiences of bariatric patients, a gap persists in the literature examining experiences of those who conduct initial assessments. A generic qualitative approach was the chosen research methodology. This approach was used to develop a description of the mental health professionals’ experience of performing assessments. The target population was mental health professionals who conducted initial assessments with adult candidates for bariatric surgery. The professionals from the population held a minimum of a master’s degree, practiced in the United States, and had been assessing candidates for at least a year. The sample consisted of 10 mental health professionals located in Midwestern and Southern states. The participants joined in a structured interview process, during which narratives of their experiences were collected. The data from the interviews were coded manually and then processed through the use of the NVivo software. The participants’ narratives were analyzed thematically for the presences of common underlying themes. Seven themes were identified through the data analysis process: participants not specifically seeking out this type of work, a reliance on their graduate training in assessments, unique approaches to developing the assessments, positive views of bariatric surgery, the identification both of facilitators and barriers to success for patients, a desire for standardized assessment practices, and insecurities about the value of their assessments to medical professionals. These themes offered a view to assessment practices currently utilized and pointed towards several ideas for future research that could improve outcomes. Conclusions included the positive role counselors can play advocating for this client base and the influence they can have on advancing standards of practice with the goal of a higher level of patient care. Practical implications for the field of counselor education and supervision are outlined according to Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Educational Programs (CACREP) 2016 standards. Recommendations in this study may assist mental health professionals and professionals in bariatric medicine in developing a holistic approach in the treatment and care of bariatric surgery patients.
|Advisor:||Manis, Amie A|
|Commitee:||Hatchuel, Elizabeth, Young, Rosalyn|
|Department:||School of Counseling and Human Services|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-B 81/8(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Counseling Psychology, Mental health, Psychology|
|Keywords:||Assessments, Bariatric surgery, Counseling, Obesity, Psychological/psychosocial, Qualitative|
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