Can a Psychologist Provide Weight Loss Therapy?

Posted on: June 20, 2019

psychologist Highland Park, IL

Looking for information on whether a psychologist can help your weight loss efforts? Managing or losing weight can be a daunting task for anybody. The complex nature of nutrition and exercise science means that an effective weight loss program adds the stress of monitoring calorie intake, macronutrient balances, exercise and downtime into an already very busy schedule.

Psychological help can be beneficial for managing these factors.

Can a psychologist help with weight loss?

The answer to this question is both yes and no.


As Dr. Howard Rankin, an expert on behavioral change, summed up very concisely in the Huffington Post that what drives our behavior is not logic but brain biochemistry, habits and addiction, states of consciousness and what we see people around us doing, describing the importance of a tempered and reasonable understanding of what motivates human action.

The impulses that lead to weight gain are varied but include such behaviors as overeating and stress-eating, which lead to unsustainable levels of caloric intake.

These behaviors do not occur in a vacuum, however. Since multiple forms of unhealthy eating stem from underlying issues like depression and self-esteem issues, a psychological intervention can treat the issues that lead to impulsive behavior in the first place. Another way that psychological intervention can assist in weight loss is through weight loss therapy specifically. Research from the American College of Sports Medicine points out that managing a successful weight loss program creates stress in and of itself, and so seeing a psychologist skilled in stress management with a focus on the stresses of weight gain specifically can produce very positive results.

And no

It is important, however, to remember that psychology is a very involved and diverse field that has its focus on how the human brain works, not on how a person loses weight. The practices of weight loss therapy are not unique to losing weight. Instead, they are applications of psychological principles of managing stress, recognizing stressors and creating plans of action for a person to manage their own stressors for positive outcomes.

How to decide whether psychological intervention is best

If the idea of losing weight is not one that is causing you to tear your hair out, or leave you feeling worried about the challenges that it will entail, psychological intervention might not be necessary. If a positive outlook is motivating the desire to lose weight, then psychological help should not be thought of as a potential cure-all to make the process easier.

However, Psychology Today saliently points out that people naturally resist shame and self-hatred, and also subconsciously resist and undermine diets that flow from this motivation. If your decision to lose weight is motivated by feelings of guilt, depression due to your weight, or the stresses associated with social ridicule due to your weight then seeking psychological help may prove to be an excellent course of action. Skilled psychologists will help you manage your stress and uncertainty when it comes to losing weight.

Are you struggling with weight loss?

If you are trying to lose weight and believe that you could succeed with the help of a psychologist, then we invite you to contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

Request an appointment here: or call Center for Emotional Peace at (847) 722-6118 for an appointment in our Highland Park office.

Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Read our Yelp reviews.

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