Many factors should be considered when assessing the mental and physical health of individuals in a counselling setting (Wiss, 2022). Various determinants of health have an impact on the current state of individuals, including income, education, past experiences, and much more. Even those experiences that individuals may believe were harmless at the time may have contributed to their ability to function in later years (Wise, 2022).
When you attend Rhodes Wellness College for our Professional Integrative Nutrition Diploma Program, you’ll learn both professional nutritionist skills and professional counselling skills in a comprehensive and integrated way. You’ll be able to use your counselling knowledge to have breakthroughs with your future clients, understanding how to obtain the relevant information from them that may be contributing to the disruption of their nutritional demands. Continue reading to discover more about the relationship between past experiences, trauma, and nutrition.
Describing the Relationship Between the Gut and the Brain
Firstly, it is important to understand the relationship between the gut and the brain, also known as the gut-brain axis or the enteric nervous system (Marson 2021). This system refers to the communication that the gut has with the brain and vice versa. Because of the presence of neurons in both the brain and the gut, research has shown that there is a bidirectional connection between these two organs that is highly complex and may affect gastrointestinal function as well as cognition, such as levels of motivation and intuition (Marson, 2021). In addition to neurons, neurotransmitters are also involved in the function of the gut-brain axis. Depending on which neurotransmitter is being expressed, they can contribute to strong feelings of happiness, anxiety, stress, and more (Marson, 2021). Thus, overall feelings and ideas from the brain may be impacted by the functioning and state of the gut.
How Traumatic Experiences Can Result in Poor Nutrition
When looking at traumatic experiences after nutritionist college, you’ll want to consider the impact that these situations may have had on nutrition at any point in an individual’s life. It has been proven that the more adverse early childhood experiences that occur in someone’s life, the higher the risk of negative health outcomes (Herron, 2016). One reason for this is the impact that these adverse and traumatic experiences have on nutritional habits and health.
Traumatic experiences may, in some cases, contribute to the development of eating disorders (Marson, 2021). These experiences sometimes cause individuals to develop nutritional habits and behaviors that are generally unhealthy, such as eating without routine, losing control of food, experiencing food scarcity, body shaming experiences, difficulty planning and budgeting for food, and more (Marson, 2021). These adverse behaviors can eventually lead to imbalances in the neurotransmitters in the gut that communicate with the brain and the rest of the body (Marson, 2021). Imbalances of the number and composition of the gut microbiota in general also contribute to issues when it comes to absorbing and digesting nutrients, which affects overall health (Marson, 2021).
Utilizing Trauma-Informed Counselling After Nutritionist School
Once you’ve graduated from nutritionist school and you want to begin your work in the field, you can utilize trauma-informed counselling from your education at Rhodes Wellness College. Our Professional Integrative Nutrition Diploma Program will allow you to help clients who have challenges that branch into non-nutrition areas, which is a unique and valuable skill of RWC graduates. Whether your future client is struggling with depression, addiction, past trauma, or another challenge that is making it difficult to make nutritional changes that will benefit their mental and physical health, you will be able to provide the tools to help them make progress. Similarly, if you notice an otherwise healthy client succumbing to poor nutrition habits, then you can try to help them make healthy adjustments before their health is negatively impacted. After graduating from Rhodes Wellness College, you’ll be able to provide the tool kit that individuals may not even know they need to finally find relief in their multifaceted struggles with nutrition.
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Herron, K. 2016. How trauma can affect nutrition. Michigan State University News. Retrieved on November 16, 2022 from https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/how_trauma_can_affect_nutrition
Marson, Gia. (2021). How Trauma, Nutrition, and Mental Health Fit Together. Psychology Today. Retrieved on November 16, 2022 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/the-binge-eating-prevention-plan/202111/how-trauma-nutrition-and-mental-health-fit-together
Wise, D. (2022). Trauma-Informed Approaches to Nutrition Therapy. Wise Mind Nutrition for Mental Health. Retrieved on November 16, 2022 from https://wisemindnutrition.com/trauma-informed-nutrition-therapy#:~:text=Traumatic%20experiences%20during%20adulthood%20can,of%20disordered%20eating%20%5B7%5D.