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What’s Cooking Therapy

An article and video caught my attention about a therapist who uses cooking to connect better with her clients and help them with their mental health concerns. She finds people relax and open up to freely converse when working together on a meal. To me, it’s sort of basic family mental health maintenance: eating meals together. Fixing meals and cooking and clean-up together can have relational-health benefits as well.

Therapist Julie Ohana:

“When you’re in a traditional therapy session, there’s really nothing else to focus on other than the person you’re talking to,” Ohana explained. “For some people, it’s really intimidating and uncomfortable.
“When you’re in the kitchen and doing something else with a therapist, people are really able to just kind of relax and be more themselves,” she added.
“A lot of it is just conversation,” she said. “The difference is that I always have my social worker/therapist hat on, and I pick up on certain cues, so I can lead the conversation to something more meaningful.”
By the end of each session, clients leave with food for thought, and an actual meal. [excerpted:
Healthy cooking and healthy conversation seem like a good idea to me. I’ve experienced fun times in the kitchen. I’ve experience encouraging times with family and with friends sharing food prepared by me. (Of course, we all have to be mindful and respectful of any allergies or special diets of friends and family to get the most out of this therapeutic activity.)

What’s cooking in your kitchen/life?

Anything positive/uplifting, healthful/nutritious? Please feel free to share Reader!

What’s Cooking Therapy

Chato Stewart

Chato Stewart has a mission, to draw and use humor as a positive tool to live, to cope with the debilitating effects symptoms of mental illness. Chato Stewart is a Mental Health Hero and Advocate. Recovery Peer Specialist board-certified in Florida. Chato is the artist behind the cartoons series Mental Health Humor, Over-Medicated, and The Family Stew - seen here in his blog posts. The cartoons are drawn from his personal experience of living with bipolar disorder (and other labels). [email protected]

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APA Reference
Stewart, C. (2019). What’s Cooking Therapy. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 22, 2020, from


Last updated: 30 Jun 2019
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