Archive for August, 2016

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.


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Choosing A Therapist

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.




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