Kitchen therapy uses food and cooking to explore and enhance our relationships with ourselves, one another and our environment. Looking at the importance of nurturing oneself and sharing food with others, helps us to connect with our creativity, passion and satisfaction in the world. This leads to building positive feelings and making constructive life changes for ourselves.
Kitchen Therapy is a new, though natural and practical therapeutic model. Grounded in an understanding of "Attachment Theory” , inspired by a personal love of food, people and story telling. For a more detailed description of Attachment Theory and how Kitchen Therapy works please look at the following three sections:
Our first experience of love in the world is through food. Food plays a vital, often taken for granted, role in our bonding behaviour, carrying with it a promise of care and attention. Welcoming guests into our home, we offer food and drink, and watching someone we love enjoy a meal we’ ve made is one of life’ s most grounding pleasures. Kitchen Therapy looks at how we can feed this sense of unconditional love back to ourselves. Our mindfulness around both the nutritional and emotional content of the food we make forms the basis of self-care. Unfortunately, for many of us, our early experience of nurture may have been disrupted, leaving a sense of lack. Because of this lack, later in life we may try to overfill or indeed deny ourselves with food -so close is our experience of being fed to that of being loved. Therefore, re-addressing our relationship with food is an embodied, practical vehicle into our inner landscape, food indeed is the ‘ key to our hearts’. Supported in the natural environment of the kitchen, we can rework our personal stories, feelings and patterns.
The food we eat carries information, meaning and intention into our bodies. Our gut houses the digestive system - our first brain - and it is often here, through our ‘ gut instinct’ , that we first experience a sense of contentment or distress. It follows therefore that our approach to food and cooking can tell us so much about ourselves, revealing our state of mind, acting as an emotional barometer. It offers a therapeutic tool for us to understand our inner world at a practical, indeed, guttural level, holding the potential to look at deeper psychological issues; allowing intuition to connect with the inner healer.
Standing on our own two feet: Our earliest steps into independence often centre around food. Deciding what, when and how we will eat are crucial moments in forming our personal creativity and sense of identity. (Witness the toddler’s fierce grasp of the spoon, how children love to cook, the enthusiasm of teenage culinary experts...) Cooking offers a direct connection with our unique creative potential – sourcing good ingredients, finding the flavour balance, presenting the plate with imagination and care - simple, possible steps that can nudge our creative confidence outside the kitchen too.
Cooking is a crucial element to being human. Our discovery of fire being the key to our species’ success, as being able to cook meant access to more food sources and multiplying our calorie intake. At once we had more time available and were more confident in our potential. The turning of raw into cooked food gave us our first taste of alchemy: the transformation of the base (raw) resource into the noble (cooked) product of our imagination and knowledge. The simple daily task of cooking symbolically connects us with our capacity for change, our sense of potency and healing potential.
In Kitchen Therapy’s approach, meals have a story to tell, ingredients a role to play and a character to develop. Cooking contains the beginning, middle and end of its unique story. This can hold our focus, giving the taste of satisfaction from completing a cycle. Our kitchen achievements provide a symbolic gesture for our imagination to take into life, inspiring confidence in our unique creative capacities.
Bringing what we can hunt, gather, and make to the campfire is the earliest form of exchange and cooperation. By sharing food together, we communicate our social belonging – food and friendship (con-panis) as vital as one another. The modern world of TV dinners, isolated households and consumerist culture, with its various trappings, removes us from these basic pleasures and the primitive security a campfire offers. Witness the increasing popularity of festival culture, which harks back to this bare necessity: the simple fun of sharing with your neighbour. Kitchen Therapy draws attention to the social significance of food. How breaking our daily bread together, affords a sense of belonging and personal value as we give and take food with one another. Food lies at the heart of our physical, psychological and spiritual well-being, providing a truly holistic therapeutic system.