Yes. While some of the research informing these two fields overlaps, the fields of Nutritional Psychology and Nutritional Psychiatry are different fields. Nutritional Psychiatry is generally concerned with the connection between diet and mental health, including possible clinical intervention (diagnosis and treatment) in patients who suffer from psychiatric disorders including depression and anxiety. Nutritional Psychology offers a broader conceptualization of the relationship between dietary and mental health by including the psychological, cognitive, sensory-perceptual, behavioral, psychosocial, and interoceptive aspects of human functioning.
Not quite. Nutritional Psychology is its own interdisciplinary field that spans the disciplines of psychology, nutrition, and education. NP is aligned with principles of integrative health, and the newly emerging healthcare approach referred to as 'whole health.'
Yes. We are using peer-reviewed scientific research to inform and guide the development of this field. However, the specific tools, methods, and concepts used in Nutritional Psychology education have not yet been validated through research.
Nutritional Psychology does not involve treatment, intervention, or cures. NP uses psycho-nutritional tools to build individuals' internalized awareness of how the foods they are consuming contribute to the way they feel. This process advocates for an internalized shift in one’s understanding of the benefits of eating for nutritive value, rather than for convenience, impulse, or perceptual triggering. In doing so, NP aims to bypass some of the failure-prone demands associated with navigating the western diet (i.e., willpower and control). Nutritional Psychology is designed to be complimentary to standard medical interventions and treatments supportive of mental health.
NP is not designed to treat or cure mental illness, nor is it designed to replace therapeutic interventions by professionals trained to intervene in mental health disorders, illness, or mental crises. Rather, this field can help individuals increase their awareness of the effects that their dietary intake may be having on their mood, sense of well-being, and mental health. This educational process can support mental health, but is never to be used as a substitute for psychiatric or medical interventions. If you or someone you know is suffering from suicidal thoughts, please seek medical attention immediately.
There is no formal title of “Nutritional Psychologist” in existence today. CNP has been working to develop the specialty of Nutritional Psychology and advocate for its use in the future of mental healthcare. We have begun building the new educational curriculum for students and mental health professionals, as well as the methods, concepts, tool, and scope of practice guidelines within the field. Part of our mission is to support the establishment of degree programs and a licensing board for Nutritional Psychology. To support this future, please consider taking two minutes to complete an NP Advocacy Form.
Yes! There are several ways you can support the growth of Nutritional Psychology. Individuals with professional education and/or experience in areas related to Nutritional Psychology can apply to become CNP Contributors. These are volunteer positions to contribute to the development of the field. If you are interested in a volunteer position, please complete the application form here. Everyone, regardless of education and professional background, is invited to complete an NP Advocacy Form. By taking two minutes to submit this form, you lend your voice in support of Nutritional Psychology in education, healthcare, and policy. Finally, a great way to support NP is to spread the word! Please follow CNP and engage with our content across our online platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Youtube.
CNP developed the first university-based curriculum in Nutritional Psychology for the Continuing Education (CE) program at John F. Kennedy University in 2008. This program evolved over the last 12 years to include a seven-course certification. In 2020, the authors elected to retire this long-standing program to make way for vastly updated research and conceptualization in the field of Nutritional Psychology. In 2021, we released the first course in the next-generation Nutritional Psychology curriculum and certification. NP 110: Introduction to Nutritional Psychology Methods covers the foundation concepts, terms, and research findings in the field. It is designed for mental health and allied professionals, nutritionists, students, and other interested individuals. NP 110 is worth 8 CE credits.
The previous Certificate in Nutritional Psychology taught through JFK University was retired to make way for current research and updated conceptualization. A new certification program is in the works! NP 110: Introduction to Nutritional Psychology Methods is the first course in this next-generation curriculum. It is available now through CNP. Three additional courses are currently being written, with the first expected to launch in fall of 2021. You can expect to see the full certification program available by 2023.
If you are near completion in your certification, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with proof of the courses you completed. Depending on your progress, you may be able to take NP 110: Introduction to Nutritional Psychology Methods to complete your certificate. Please note that we cannot guarantee credit.