NUTRITIONAL PSYCHOLOGY (NP) EDUCATION

Building Continuing Education Excellence for Professionals

The Center for Nutritional Psychology (CNP) is a 501(c)(3) Educational Organization

A NUTRITIONAL COMPONENT TO MENTAL HEALTHCARE BY 2030

In 2008 when we developed and taught the first course in nutritional psychology at JFK University, providing mental health professionals with skills and education in nutrition was a radical concept! With the understanding that our curriculum would focus on the theoretical underpinnings of this new field and provide awareness and the ability to educate (as opposed to assess, treat, or prescribe), Introduction to Nutritional Psychology was approved for Continuing Education for mental health professionals. By 2012, we expanded this single course into a 7-course online certificate in nutritional psychology, which was housed in the university’s continuing education (CE) program.

We soon realized that to keep up with the expansive body of research informing this multi-disciplinary area of study, we needed to develop an educational organization focused on continually identifying, consolidating, and utilizing the expansive body of evidence in NP. This we believe, was needed to inform the development of future educational curricula in the growing field of nutritional psychology.

In 2015, we formed The Center for Nutritional Psychology (CNP). This organization’s mission was, and is today, to identify, consolidate, and utilize the world’s research on how diet and nutrition interconnects with how we thinkfeel, and experience. In 2021, CNP was granted 501(c)(3) non-profit status and continues its mission today, which is to build its continually expanding repository of research informing the field of nutritional psychology. We are leveraging these efforts to shape university-level continuing education and effect our mission of supporting the development of a nutritional component to mental healthcare by 2030.

Proceeds from our curriculum go towards expanding our online Nutritional Psychology Research Library (NPRL), which contains five different research libraries and houses several thousand research studies and abstract summaries. These funds also support the development of university-level curricula for professionals approved by several major organizations (the American Psychological Association (APA), Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), and the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), the continued development of free online Diet-Mental Health Break Educational videos in nutritional psychology, the development of quality evidence-based educational CNP Articles in Nutritional Psychology (ISSN 2993-3773) to expand the public’s awareness of the connection between diet and mental health, and the inclusion of a dedicated NP 110 Scholarship Program to allow global accessibility to learners in NP education.

NP Education is parsed into two developmental areas: The Introductory Certificate in Nutritional Psychology (NP 100 Series) which is theoretical and serves as the evidencelanguage and concepts informing nutritional psychology, and the NP 200 Series, which is the Applied Certificate in NP, providing the the structure, tools, and scope of practice necessary to provide DMHR support within the context of clinical practice. Read on to learn more.

 

LAYING THE FOUNDATION FOR A NEW FIELD OF STUDY

The purview of nutritional psychology lies deep within the intersection between the psychological, behavioral, and social sciences and nutrition, neuroscience, biochemistry, physiology, and psychiatry. Leveraging these diverse disciplines facilitates the development of innovative languages, concepts, and methods that seamlessly integrate into the knowledge and skills necessary for today’s professionals tasked with supporting psychological and behavioral health and well-being.

CNP’s university-level continuing education curriculum serves learners worldwide. NP learners come from Belgium, Finland, Italy, Argentina, Spain, India, Turkey, Nepal, Bermuda, Jamaica, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United States, and many other countries, allowing NP education to extend worldwide. Learners range from students to educators, researchers, therapists, and healthcare providers across different fields.

Curriculum development for CNP courses involves consolidating multinational research from across disciplines and presenting it in a way that people from varied educational backgrounds, expertise areas, and cultures can understand. CNP strives to promote respect, inclusion, and promotion of diversity in developing course content and related materials.

Introductory Certificate in Nutritional Psychology
(NP 100 Series)

NP 110:

Introduction to Nutritional Psychology Methods
10 CE/CPE Credits

Available now

NP 120 Part I:

Microbes in our Gut: An Evolutionary Journey into the World of the Microbiota Gut-Brain Axis and the DMHR
18.25 CE/CPE Credits

Available now

NP 120 Part II:

Gut-Brain Diet-Mental Health Connection: Exploring the Role of Microbiota from Neurodevelopment to Neurodegeneration
21.25 CE/CPE Credits

Available now

NP 150 Part I:

Mechanisms in the Diet-Mental
Health Relationship (DMHR)

Coming June 2024

NP 150 Part II:

Mechanisms in the Diet-Mental
Health Relationship (DMHR)

Coming June 2024

Total CE/CPE projected for Introductory Certificate (75)

Applied Certificate in Nutritional Psychology
(NP 200 Series)


The NP 200 Series Certificate is applied and builds on the theoretical foundation established in the Introductory Certificate in Nutritional Psychology Certificate (NP 100 Series). The Advanced Certificate in Nutritional Psychology (NP 200 Series Certificate) facilitates the application of psychonutritional tools and education within clinical and applied settings. Scope of practice guidelines for nutrition and mental health professionals are provided to facilitate the appropriate inclusion of psychonutritional tools and education within the applied environments.

More information regarding this certificate will be available in 2025, with the first course projected to launch in June of 2025. The Introductory Certificate in Nutritional Psychology is a prerequisite for courses within the NP 200 advanced certificate.

NP 100 Series Certificate in Nutritional Psychology
Theoretical Foundation

NP 110: Introduction to Nutritional Psychology Methods

10 Continuing Education/Continuing Professional Education (CE/CPE)

Course Description: NP 110 is the foundational course in the study of nutritional psychology, and is a prerequisite for all NP curriculum. NP 110 introduces the language, concepts, and methods within the study of nutritional psychology. This includes the in-depth introduction of the six major elements characterizing the DMHR. These elements include the diet-psychological relationship (DPR), diet-cognitive relationship (DCR), Diet-Behavioral Relationship (DBR), Diet Sensory-Perceptual Relationship (DSPR), Diet-Interoceptive Relationship (DIR), and Diet-Psychosocial Relationship (DPR). Enhanced by its own language and terminology, these structures form the conceptual basis through which new research in the field can be illuminated and conceptualized.

NP 110 meets continuing education requirements for Licensed Psychologists and Registered Dietitians/Dietetic Technicians Registered. CNP is approved to sponsor continuing education through the American Psychological Association (APA), the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), and the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT). CNP is working to sponsoring continuing education for nurses and allied health professionals.

Course prerequisites and requirements: None. Note: This course is reading-intensive and language is science based. Must be completed in 90 days (three months) from date of enrollment.

NP 120 Part I: Microbes in our Gut: An Evolutionary Journey into the World of the Microbiota Gut-Brain Axis and the DMHR

18.25 Continuing Education/Continuing Professional Education (CE/CPE)

Course description: NP 120 Part I prepare you with the knowledge necessary to enroll in NP 120 Part II, which provides the first evidence-based conceptual model directly connecting the MGBA with the DMHR. This course introduces the MGBA and its major systems, including the gastrointestinal system (GI), central nervous system (CNS), peripheral nervous system (PNS), autonomic nervous system (ANS), neuroendocrine system (NE), enteric nervous system (ENS), the immune system, the vagus nerve, and the microbiota. The historical discoveries illuminating the MGBA’s existence are explored and the primary methods used within MGBA research are reviewed and the in-depth discussion of microbiota is presented, — including its characterization, evolution, and the major factors shaping its unique composition, abundance, and diversity.

We explore the anatomy and physiology of the gut barrier of the gut barrier and how it protects our gastrointestinal tract (GIT), internal organs, brain, and circulatory system from harmful bacteria and toxins. We learn how a weakened gut barrier increases intestinal permeability (or “leaky gut“), which sets the stage for influencing brain function, psychological processes, and mental health outcomes. The intricate structural and biochemical communication pathways linking the microbiota with the gut and the brain are presented to make way for the conceptual model presented in NP 120 Part II.

Course prerequisites: NP 110 highly recommended.

NP 120 Part II: Gut-Brain Diet-Mental Health Connection: Exploring the Role of Microbiota from Neurodevelopment to Neurodegeneration

21.25 Continuing Education/Continuing Professional Education (CE/CPE)

Course Description: This course deepens the study of the mechanisms interconnecting the microbiota-gut-brain axis with the diet-mental health relationship (MGBA-DMHR) from NP 120 Part I. We begin with the exploration of how certain foods contain keys to unlocking the mechanisms within the MGBA-DMHR, and in doing influence and shape our moods, emotions, psychological experience, social functioning, and dietary intake behavior. In this course, you’ll gain knowledge of the major MGBA-DMHR mechanisms including myelination, synaptogenesis, neural plasticity, neurogenesis, hormones, neuropeptides, gut peptides, short-chain fatty acids, BDNF, and the guardians of the brain—the mighty microglia. These mechanisms operate within an intricate symphony to orchestrate and influence our psychological states, moods and emotions, social behavior, stress experience, resilience, cognitive processes, dietary intake behaviors, and mental health outcomes. By the end of this course (and two part series), you’ll understand the intimate role these mechanisms play in the development of psychological, psychiatric, neurodevelopmental, and neurodegenerative diseases.

This course provides professional with a complete conceptual model through which to understand how the microbiota gut-brain axis interconnects with dietary intake patterns to influence all aspects of the diet-mental health relationship.

Course prerequisites: NP 120 Part I

NP 150 Part I: Mechanisms in the Diet-Mental Health Relationship (DMHR)

18.25 Continuing Education/Continuing Professional Education (CE/CPE)

NP 150 (available early 2024) introduces innovative mechanisms influencing the diet-mental health relationship (DMHR). The cutting-edge course creates fresh opportunities for exploration, delving into the complex and reciprocal relationship between nutrition and psychological well-being. It provides students with a thorough comprehension of how dietary choices can significantly affect mental health outcomes and how this knowledge can be effectively applied in clinical and public health contexts. By skillfully combining evidence-based research and intriguing perspectives, this interdisciplinary course thoroughly investigates the diverse biological, psychological, and social mechanisms that form the intricate connection between our dietary choices and mental well-being.

NP 150, in conjunction with NP 110 and NP 120 Parts I & II, constitutes a crucial element of the Introductory-Level Certificate in Nutritional Psychology (NP 100 Series). Upon completing this course, students will be equipped with essential knowledge and critical insights to bridge the gap between nutritional science and mental health. These skills can contribute positively to the well-being of individuals and communities worldwide.

If you’re passionate about making a difference in mental health, we invite you to embark on this enlightening journey of discovery with us!

Course prerequisites: NP 120 Part I

NP 150 Part II: Mechanisms in the Diet-Mental Health Relationship (DMHR)

18.25 Continuing Education/Continuing Professional Education (CE/CPE)

NP 150 Part II (available early 2024) introduces innovative mechanisms influencing the diet-mental health relationship (DMHR). The cutting-edge course creates fresh opportunities for exploration, delving into the complex and reciprocal relationship between nutrition and psychological well-being. It provides students with a thorough comprehension of how dietary choices can significantly affect mental health outcomes and how this knowledge can be effectively applied in clinical and public health contexts. By skillfully combining evidence-based research and intriguing perspectives, this interdisciplinary course thoroughly investigates the diverse biological, psychological, and social mechanisms that form the intricate connection between our dietary choices and mental well-being.

NP 150 Part II, in conjunction with NP 110 and NP 120 Parts I & II, constitutes a crucial element of the Introductory-Level Certificate in Nutritional Psychology (NP 100 Series). Upon completing this course, students will be equipped with essential knowledge and critical insights to bridge the gap between nutritional science and mental health. These skills can contribute positively to the well-being of individuals and communities worldwide.

If you’re passionate about making a difference in mental health, we invite you to embark on this enlightening journey of discovery with us!

Course prerequisites: NP 120 Part I

Who is Nutritional Psychology Education for?

  • Mental Health Practitioners: Psychologists, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Mental Health Counselors who seek to enhance their understanding of the role of nutrition in mental health and its implications for therapeutic interventions.
  • Nutrition and Wellness Specialists: Dietitians, Nutritionists, Health Coaches, and Culinary Chefs who aim to augment their expertise by exploring the intricate connections between dietary patterns and psychological well-being.
  • Academia: Undergraduate, Graduate, and Post-Doctoral Students in various related fields, including psychology, nutrition, and health sciences, seeking comprehensive insights into the field of Nutritional Psychology.
  • Healthcare and Social Service Professionals: Case Managers and Social Workers interested in integrating nutritional principles into their practice, fostering holistic approaches to mental health care.
  • Educational Practitioners: Educators and School Counselors who recognize the significance of nutrition in students’ cognitive development and emotional regulation.
  • Substance Use Therapists: Substance Use Counselors eager to comprehend the interplay between nutritional factors and mental health in the context of addiction and recovery.
  • Medical Practitioners: Nurses, Physicians, Psychiatrists, and Physician Assistants who wish to deepen their awareness of the microbiota-gut-brain axis and its implications for mental health management.
  • Enthusiasts and Self-learners: Individuals from diverse backgrounds who possess a genuine interest in unraveling the intricate relationship between the microbiota-gut-brain axis, diet, and mental health.
  • Public Health Professionals: Public health officials and professionals working in community health programs could gain insights into how nutrition and psychological factors intersect to affect the well-being of populations.

  • Wellness Coordinators: Professionals responsible for designing and implementing workplace wellness programs can benefit from understanding the psychological aspects of nutrition and how they influence employees’ mental health and productivity.
  • Fitness Professionals: Personal trainers, fitness coaches, and exercise physiologists may benefit from understanding the relationship between nutrition, psychology, and mental well-being, as it can impact their clients’ overall health and fitness journey.
  • Researchers and Scientists: Professionals from various scientific disciplines studying gut-brain interactions, nutrition, and mental health could benefit from a broader perspective through a Nutritional Psychology course.
  • Occupational Therapists: As experts in helping individuals with various mental health challenges, including stress and anxiety, they might benefit from understanding the role of nutrition in mental health.

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