The pre-surgical evaluation for anyone considering weight-lose surgery is a critical step in the process toward permanent weight loss. It is through this comprehensive Psychosocial Evaluation where it can be determined who “that right person is for weight-loss surgery”. And, believe it or not, many people are “that right person” for whom Bariatric Surgery is the best possible option for permanent weight-loss.

If you are considering weight-loss surgery, regardless of your surgical team, whether or not you are using insurance, or whether or not you are “required” to undergo a “psychiatric” evaluation, please consider doing yourself the best self-care favor and go through the pre-surgical, psychosocial evaluation process. For the most part, it’s painless!

Who is the RIGHT person for weight-loss surgery?

The right person for weight-loss surgery is someone who has spent his/her life trying to achieve and maintain a normal body weight. This person may be working against genetics, cultural traditions, metabolism, or societal expectations.

The right person for weight-loss surgery is someone who has made, in earnest, multiple attempts at weight loss programs, i.e. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutri-Systems, HCG, Herbal Life, Phentermine as well as many other programs and drugs too numerous to mention.

The right person for weight-loss surgery is someone who has demonstrated consistency in education, career, volunteer work, or other aspects of daily living. This consistency demonstrates the predictive value of a commitment to the new post-operative regime.

The right person for weight-loss is someone whose motivation for weight-loss surgery is grounded in health factors, such as eliminating diabetes, lowering blood pressure, or other genetic concerns that are exacerbated by obesity. The right person for weight-loss surgery is NOT motivated exclusively for reasons of vanity and an obsession with attaining an unrealistic body weight, shape, or size.

The right person for weight-loss surgery is someone who has NOT significantly suffered with disordered eating OR is someone who has developed a very good, long-standing recovery from an eating disorder. As well, the right person for weight-loss surgery is someone who does NOT turn to food, alcohol, or drugs as a coping mechanism or does not use food for self-soothing or comfort.

The right person for weight loss surgery is someone who has a strong support system that will be available, post-operatively, to support his/her best efforts at developing a new relationship with food and will not attempt to sabotage the person’s best efforts.

Finally, the right person for weight loss surgery is someone who FULLY understands the dietary restrictions before and after the surgery so that he/she does not experience any unknown or unexpected surprises!

If it is determined that an individual is NOT ready to move forward with a surgical intervention for weight-loss at the time of the evaluation, psychotherapy along with nutritional counseling is recommended for a minimum of three months. Again, the individual, along with his or her treatment team, will periodically re-evaluate the best course of action.
Who will be conducting the evaluation?

Make sure that you are seeing someone who is qualified to conduct these critical evaluations. What does that mean? You will want to see someone who is skilled in gathering pertinent data through a clinical interview. This information becomes organized into a report that directly speaks to the predictive adjustment of the individual after surgery.

This qualified licensed therapist will have knowledge of the nature and mechanics of bariatric surgery, pre and post operatively. The qualified therapist will have an understanding of the physiological effects of obesity and extreme dieting, as well as expertise in the psychology of eating as well as the entire spectrum of eating disorders. Furthermore, an understanding of the complexity with which these factors combine, interact, and manifest in the postoperative patient is also essential. Additionally, the therapist will possess a thorough understanding of the psychosocial, financial, and physical stresses imposed on the patient who is struggling with obesity. Finally, it is imperative that the evaluator has a solid knowledge base on how certain psychosocial factors, such as mood disorders, substance abuse, trauma, sexual/physical abuse or victimization, and eating behavior, may affect surgical outcomes.

After almost 18 years of conducting psychosocial evaluations for individuals considering weight-loss surgery, I can safely say that bariatric surgery is an appropriate option for those wishing to attain permanent weight loss when all other options have been exhausted. The psychosocial evaluation is imperative to determine not only readiness for change, but also emotional and psychological preparedness for this life changing surgical intervention.

For more information, contact Sammi L. Siegel, Ph.D., CEDS at 954-385-4696 or visit http://www.westoncare.com.


My name is Sammi L. Siegel, Ph.D., LMHC and I specialize in the treatment of Eating Disorders, particularly on the Compulsive Overeating, Binge Eating Disorders, and the Obesity end of the spectrum.  I have been helping patients for over 16 years as they prepare for a new relationship with food and with their bodies following Bariatric surgery.

As part of the first Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED) on Bariatric Surgery in 2000, I have been very active over the years in promoting pre-surgical screening and evaluation of Bariatric surgery candidates that helps determine the best possible patient outcomes.

Although no formal standard currently exists, there is growing evidence that points to the recognition of the critical elements and domains that are necessary to be addressed. In addition, there are appropriate means for collecting this important data that will determine psychological readiness for these procedures. As a trained professional, I glean this information via a thorough and comprehensive assessment.
I am happy to talk with you further about the protocols I follow in conducting these interviews and how the report is structured. It is imperative to gather this information in such a way that tells the client story in an organized and logical format.

Dr. Siegel can be reached at 954-385-4696 to discuss a presurgical consultation.

What an incredible dilemma one has in their pursuit to find the right therapist.  I often playfully comment that we will spend more time researching a vehicle than the person commissioned to assist us with our emotional problems.  In all fairness, the choice of a therapist is a cumbersome one.  After all, how many of us are willing to commit to consulting with multiple therapists, sharing our stories over an over with different people, and having the presence of mind to assess the listener.  Unfortunately, there really is no system that works for anyone.  Almost everyone with whom I have met ultimately “feels it” and, while not a thorough assessment, decides to “go with it.” But I do not dismiss this hunch.  I respect it, as it has likely been an invaluable resource for him or her in traversing the world of relationships.  I believe that people are built with an innate sense of when the other person is competent, compassionate and wise enough to be of help.   Now, you might argue that half the time a person has arrived at a therapist’s office precisely because of their relational failures, i.e. their inability to properly assess the other.  This does not nullify my theory as I believe that the innate sense is there, but sometimes we are led astray and do not attend what we truly “know” about our needs.

All this being said, there are a few “do not pass go” things to attend to when you look to choose a skilled therapist.  Now, mind you that there are a myriad of clinical specialties in the mental health world, but it is important to always assess some “nonspecific” skills:

  1. The skilled therapist never has all the right answers, but rather has all the right questions.  A curious therapist is one who is truly interested in entering your world.
  2. A patient once gave me a fortune cookie: Most people wait to talk, but few actually listen.  A therapist who operates with no urgency to provide you with something is patient and will respond when he or she feels that there is something to offer.
  3. A skilled therapist embraces “I don’t know,” for “I don’t know” indicates that “I am willing to patiently learn about you.”  In this world that demands certainty and punishes indecisiveness, only the strong listener will embrace the unknown.
  4. A skilled therapist never hides and avoids.  He or she is “all in” and cannot leave you feeling alone.  She commits to you, and although she might not answer all of your questions, she is open to any and all verbalizations, which will likely be subject to further exploration and understanding.  There is NOTHING the patient cannot talk about.
  5. The skilled therapist sees the boundaries not as a distancing tool, but rather a set of parameters that make the therapeutic field safe for exploration.  Think of boundaries as markers.  They are not borders, but rather parameters that let us know where we are.  All sports, for example, have the boundaries which make the game orderly and predictable, hence, safe.
  6. A skilled therapist will respect your need to interview them as you share with them.  A therapist should be receptive to your questions about their clinical experiences, and sometimes, your personal experiences.  If you ask your therapist if they have ever worked with someone with your symptoms, he or she should be honest and not elusive.  Sometimes your questions might be excessively personal, and your therapist might not indulge, but this might not be wrong.  It depends upon the questions and context.

There are countless other points to consider in your assessment, but remember that this is your life.  You are choosing a guide on what might be a long and painful journey.  You have the right to pick the one who you feel is best for your and your unique terrain.


Seth Grobman, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist who has been practicing for twenty five years.  He has been associate clinical director of the Renfew Center, an all women’s eating disorders program.  He is the owner and clinical director of Weston Psychcare, P.A. and is an associate of The Center for the Treatment of Mood and Anxiety Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida.




Many parents have recently expressed concern for their children who are entering middle or high school.  They are worried that their children are not prepared for the workload and demands on organization and planning.  Unfortunately most schools do not directly teach these skills even though a high premium is placed on them.  Below you will find some tips that may help your children:

  • If you work well with technology, use organizer software on a computer or smart phone
  • Retype your class notes and save them (with dates and course titles) on your computer. You might also want to save a copy on a flash drive.
  • Write reminders on self-stick notepads or keep list pads around your room, by your desk, in your notebooks, and even by your bedside to write down things as your think of them. Be sure to collect these notes and consolidate all of the reminders on a single “to-do” list every day.
  • Divide your notebooks into sections for each subject. Hole punch and insert handouts or assignments in the appropriate notebook sections. Be sure to use dividers, and consider using different colored tabs for each subject.
  • Create a system for tracking papers. A file cabinet might work well, or you can find a cardboard box large enough to fit file folders, label a folder for each subject, and insert papers in the appropriate file folders in the box.
  • Make a daily list of everything you need for classes, labs or meetings. Include reminders for money, transportation and food. Check the list every morning before leaving your room so that you know what you have to do

This is not an exhaustive list but it is important to remember that like most other skills, these skills take practice and time before they become routine.  You can help your children by teaching them how to use these skills from the first day of school.  If you have any questions about these skills, please e-mail or call David Krasky, Psy.S. at davidkrasky@aol.com.

Dr. Katie Lundin-Zemnovich, PhD, LMFT is holding an all women’s support group designed to help women decrease stress, manage emotions, and enhance functioning and quality of life within an array of everyday challenges. This confidential supportive psychotherapy group meets weekly in Weston, FL and offers an incredible opportunity for women of all ages to gain immediate support and insight, interact with others who face similar life challenges, receive encouragement, and benefit from useful therapeutic tools to help cope with life’s challenges. The following stressors and issues will be addressed in group:

  • Stress Management
  • Anger Management
  • Anxiety Management
  • Depression Management
  • Relationship Management
  • Parenting Skills
  • Life Skills
  • Bereavement
  • Addictions and Impulsive Behaviors
  • Sexuality
  • Loneliness
  • Trauma
  • Abuse
  • Divorce
  • Unemployment
  • Family Issues
  • Parenting Difficulties
  • Changes in Health or Lifestyle

Sign up for group today and benefit by:

  • Gaining a support system of peers who understand and can relate to you.
  • Decreasing your tension and sense of isolation by sharing your experiences with other members.
  • Gaining knowledge from the contributions of other members, and embrace the opportunity to be helpful to one another.
  • Gaining hope when situations appear hopeless by learning from members who might be further along in their stage of recovery and wellness.
  • Learning to improve relationships and dynamics outside of the group.
  • Increasing self-confidence and competence as you take part in creating change.
  • Increasing your social and interpersonal skills as you form relations within the group.
  • Gaining relief while decreasing emotional distress.
  • Increasing self-understanding and gaining insight from perspectives and input offered by others.

CALL TO REGISTER (954) 385-4696


By David Krasky, Psy.S.


When parents decide their child needs psycho-educational testing, it is important that they make sure testing is conducting ethically and by a licensed school or clinical psychologist.  Nowadays, many professionals use the “cookie-cutter” approach and give the same battery of tests to all clients.  At Weston Psych Care we individualize testing to meet the needs of each child.  The testing battery is determined by gathering a comprehensive background information from the parents and/or client.  Next is either an observation at the child’s school and/or home followed by collaborating with the parents to review the upcoming testing battery.  When the child begins testing with the clinician, the first session is used for rapport building and making the child comfortable followed by the necessary assessment batteries.  It is common for no more than one or two follow-up sessions to complete the testing.  After completion of the administration of tests, a comprehensive individualized written report is formulated with personalized recommendations for the client.  These recommendations are for the school and home as well as in the community.  For older children, it is common for the clinician to go over results to teach the children about their learning style and strengths and weaknesses. 


It is vital that recommendations be applicable to the child, parents and teachers involved in his/her life.  Because of many changes in the public school system it is important that the clinician is aware of the laws and rights of the child and parents.  Weston Psych Care’s professionals are up to date on the newest laws and regulations passed down by the state that will affect what interventions the schools are obligated to implement.  If you have any questions, please contact David Krasky at Weston Psych Care.

Breaking up a family is extremely sad. Add to that the devastating nature of the divorce process itself, and the result is a traumatic and destructive event. Unfortunately, in litigation, the “event” can take a year or two to conclude.

During this time, your life is not your own. You attend depositions, hearings, conferences, mediations, appointments to prepare for trial and and the trial itself. Time away from work and the loss of productivity is just one of the costs paid by those involved in divorce litigation. The negative impact on the children is often irreparable. Conflict resulting from heightened family discord, not the divorce itself that has the potential to cause emotional distress.

If the prospect of litigation does not attract you, but your marriage is irretrievably broken, there is some good news. You can partake in an alternate process to acquire your divorce called collaborative divorce or the collaborative process.

Spouses still have their own attorneys, but rather than each paying a pit bull lawyer to spar in court, the couple and attorneys agree to work together every step of the way to create a specially customized plan for each family. Collaborative attorneys are specially trained in this process and sign written Participation Agreement which states that if the case does not settle, they will not litigate the case, but will withdraw as counsel. Their only focus and motivation is to resolve the issues out of court in this non-adversarial, streamlined process which is based on open and constructive communication, not confrontation. If they cannot settle the case, they are out of a job.

Recently, collaborative divorce attorney are working with a financial professional and a mental health professional as part of an interdisciplinary team, all of whom have been trained in the collaborative process. Issues are resolved through a series of meetings: the process is client-driven: the couple makes their own decisions about their assets and about their children. No decisions are imposed upon them by a judge. A successful collaborative case spare children the anguish of parents who fight forever.

Celebrities such as Robin Williams and Roy Disney have chosen the collaborative process to get their divorces. With collaborative divorce, there is no need to step into a court room until the final paperwork is filed, providing the couples with a degree of privacy and confidentiality not possible in litigation.

Mediation was once thought to be merely an experiment that would not last and is now a permanent part of our legal system. Collaborative family law is destined to be the way of handling divorces in the future. In the last decade the collaborative process was introduced to Florida and we now see that it is finally taking off. After all, who would not choose an alternative that is healthier for everyone, less time consuming and less expensive?

If English is your second language, it is challenging to live in a culture where Spanish is not the primary language. It is important to improve your skills by immersing yourself in an English speaking culture. Psychotherapy, however is a different story. If you are not fluent in English, your brain processes information in a different way. When you a talking about emotionally driven matters, you simply cannot process information while you are translating information. If you are not strong in the English language, you should not have to settle for an English speaking therapist or psychologist. It is important in the therapeutic process to speak in the “mother tongue.” It is the only way you will truly get everything out of the process that you deserve. At Weston PsychCare, two of our therapists speak Spanish. Our nutritionist also speaks Spanish. And most importantly, our administrative office speaks Spanish as well!

Weston PsychCare, P.A. is pleased to announce that it will begin the “season” of conducting gifted testing for the 2012-2013 academic year. It is important for parents to be ahead of the curve and not wait to have their child tested. Unfortunately, we are all prone to procrastination…after all, we are human. But if gifted testing is put off until the last minute, administrative red tape can preclude a seamless transition for your child into his or her new academic world. Why not make your world a bit easier by having your child tested for a gifted class now? Our staff of licensed psychologists are proficient in gifted evaluations and will provide you with a comprehensive interview, test administration and a report accompanied by a follow up meeting with appropriate recommendations. Give your superior child the best academic opportunity available with gifted testing.

Most people have heard of the old adage “everyone has baggage.” In other words, most people, if not everyone, have emotional issues. When it comes to love relationships, be they marital or dating, emotional issues are quite common. The reader very likely knows of people who tend to have troublesome marriages, or singles who seem to have a pattern of entering into dysfunctional relationships. In our society, the divorce rate is quite high. The fact that such relationship issues exist is not a surprise and is to be expected. The question is… why would that be the case? The answer has to do with the role of the unconscious mind.

The unconscious mind has one job, which is to protect you. If there is a problem, it must continually attempt to fix the problem. It is believed by this author that the unconscious mind is a physical entity within the body in terms of cellular memory that is designed to protect us from an evolutionary “survival of the species” perspective. Accordingly, it has no choice but to bring that problem into our life to give us an opportunity to work on it. If we ignore what is going on in terms of the problem, even if we terminate that problem, the problem will return. Applying this process to marriages and other relationships, if we get a divorce but do not resolve the underlying problem, there is a strong likelihood that when we marry again, we will bring that unresolved problem back into our life. The same process occurs in terms of selecting a boyfriend or girlfriend.

If we look at the process from an historical perspective, it is very typical that the various problems we have to deal with on a daily basis have their genesis from the past, most often dating back to childhood, in the context of daily family life. In some cases, the genesis may stem from academic or social relationships with peers during elementary, middle, or high school. Regardless, if the individual ignores such a history, the identified problems will continue repeatedly into the future. In other words, those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it. This is not just a “cute” concept, but rather a physiological certainty.
Weston PsychCare has male and female psychologists and other therapists experienced in resolving relationship issues. If you are interested in changing your future by changing your past, feel free to contact us at: 954-385-4696.