• Program for Psychology & Religion

    Managing Weight

    As the duties of the clergy and religious professionals are becoming more demanding and complex, there is a need to address their health issues including physical well-being, weight management and nutrition to support maximum health as they continue their vocation. Maintaining good physical health plays an important role in maintaining good mental and spiritual health. The weight management program for clergy and religious professionals at St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute provides individual treatment plans for every client to ensure optimum results.

    Program Overview

    Evidence-Based: The weight management track of Saint Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute’s Program for Psychology & Religion was the first intensive outpatient program to offer weight management services to address the unique health and wellness needs of the religious community.

    A Holistic, Personalized, & Team Approach:  Each participant begins with a comprehensive physical, psychological, and spiritual assessment which leads to personalized goals. The entire weight management team works together to meet the client’s needs through group and individual therapy, medical management, nutritional counseling, spiritual direction, exercise and lifestyle change. Associated psychological and health conditions are also addressed.

    Serving Religious & Clergy from Across the World:  Participants who reside outside the St. Louis area will stay in local convents or monasteries. The average stay for this “wellness sabbatical” is six months.

    Program Details

    Therapy: Psychological and health issues are contributing factors to someone struggling with being overweight. The weight management program offers individual and group Cognitive Behavior Therapy to facilitate weight loss through long term behavior and lifestyle changes.

    Nutrition: A registered clinical dietitian will meet participants individually to develop a plan customized for them and their specific needs. A meal replacement program is an option to participants as an alternative to conventional foods.

    Exercise: Because physical activity is an essential element of weight management, participants will meet with a physical therapist who will design an individualized exercise plan. A partnership with the local YMCA allows each participant access to a local facility where they can engage in individual and group exercise activity under the supervision of a fitness instructor.

    Spirituality: A spiritual director will work individually and in a group setting with each participant examining the relationship to food in a spiritual sense with the goal of making a permanent lifestyle change.

    Maintenance/Follow Up


Because ongoing support is critical to maintaining weight loss, the weight management program has support systems in place once the participants return to their own communities after their stay.

    For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call Sue Mertens at (314) 289-9407.