Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Nutrition-Psychological aspects, Overweight persons-Mental health, Psychotherapy, Motivational interviewing, Food-Psychological aspects, Yalom, Irvin D., 1931-, Nutrition, Food


In light of our nation's growing obesity epidemic, this paper will explore the growing body of research indicating clear links between nutrition and mental health, and the implications for clinicians treating mental illness in chronically ill clients who are overweight or obese. I will analyze the intersection between nutrition and mental illness according to the concepts of motivational interviewing (MI) and Irwin Yalom's group therapy theory in order to inform social work practice with these adults. Medical professionals who tend to shoulder the responsibility of addressing diet concerns in mentally ill patients rarely have adequate time nor training to fully examine the evolution of their patients' complex relationships with food. As a result, wellintentioned physicians, nurses, dieticians, and nutritionists may unintentionally be insensitive or ineffective in their attempts at these dialogues, and they may miss critical emotional pieces of their clients' weight-loss puzzles altogether. In this way, clinical social workers - particularly those working in teams with medical staff - can fill this void through implementing holistic treatment approaches which aim to integrate health and wellness goals into psychotherapy.




vi, 67 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 62-67)