There are different types of counseling to choose from. One type of counseling that is not always thought of is nutritional counseling. It does make sense to participate in nutritional counseling if you have trouble with your eating routine. You go to a talk therapy counselor when you are having issues with feelings and mental health, so why not go to a nutritional counselor when you have been having issues with food and eating patterns?
WHAT IS NUTRITIONAL COUNSELING?
Although you may think nutritional counseling is something that a dietitian or nutritionist would support by telling you what and how much to eat, it is actually very different. “The belief behind nutritional counseling is that a lack of certain dietary nutrients contributes to certain mental health disorders” (www.healthypsych.com). A nutritional counselor will help their client to tackle chemical discrepancies in the brain by altering diet and adding supplements.
These alterations in the diet are thought to be effective in treating mood imbalances and various mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.
Nutritional counseling has also been shown to improve autoimmune conditions, chronic health conditions, sleep disorders, energy levels, and digestive issues, as well as general weight concerns. The food that you put into your body is its fuel, so it makes sense that too much of a nutrient or too little will adverse effects on the functioning of the body.
NUTRITIONAL COUNSELOR TRAINING
What type of training does a nutritional counselor have? Many of them are registered, dietitians or nutritionists. Since many of the food issues people have to include a mental health component, counselors must at least have a background in social work or psychology. Often, nutritional counseling is accomplished by a team, including a mental health professional and a nutritionist/dietitian. They work together to support the client and help them get the most out of the counseling program.
DELIVERY OF SERVICES
The traditional medical office appointment is an option for nutritional counseling, but it is not the only option. Many practitioners offer services by phone or live video chat in order to reach those who cannot make it to regular office hours. Our society is becoming more and more technology-based so Skype and FaceTime are now part of the medical and alternative therapy world. If this sounds like something that would be helpful to you, then, research the practitioners in your area to see what service delivery they offer.
PAYMENT FOR SERVICES
Nutritional counseling may be covered by your health insurance. Contact your health insurance company to find out their specific coverage. If you have to pay out-of-pocket, practitioners may offer sliding scales. Contact specific practitioners about their payment options. If this is something that you feel will help you and improve your quality of life, think of it as an investment in yourself and be willing to pay what it takes to become a healthier version of yourself.
BENEFITS OF NUTRITIONAL COUNSELING
Feeling better emotionally and physically is the biggest and best benefit of nutritional counseling. Balancing the systems within your body so that it is in perfect running order will increase your life span and put quality back into your life. Utilizing nutrition as a type of therapy may allow you to stop medications for your mental health issues. If you want to free your body of chemicals with negative long-term effects, then, nutritional therapy would also be beneficial to you. When you learn how to use food to improve your health, you can teach and share these ideas with your family, which will improve their health as well. The benefits are far-reaching.