Can culinary arts therapy change your life?

When you’re feeling stressed, there are all sorts of practices and things you may try to do to calm yourself down. One of these activities might be cooking. But have you ever heard of culinary art therapy? It’s an actual therapeutic practice, even though to many cooking is such an obvious therapeutic activity.

The process of assembling a meal, or even baking something sweet for something is very thoughtful, requiring a lot of intention as well as attention. It shifts the focus of your mind to a task that is tangible and shuts out the outside noise around us.


Julie Ohana who is a culinary arts therapist wrote her master’s thesis in 2004 on this concept. She explains culinary that it’s a means of therapeutic expression, and that although traditional methods of therapy are always useful, that sometimes having a less conventional way be obtain therapy can be very useful for many people.

She offers culinary arts therapy sessions for both groups and individuals and works with them closely in order to cater the session to their unique likes and needs. She makes all kinds of dishes from breakfast to main courses and dessert, of course. However, she explains that the preparation process is much more important than the dish itself.

Her office space includes a kitchen and she also began doing sessions online. Ohana does everything she can to provide her unique therapy to all kinds of clients with various needs. She sometimes even does office visits for entire companies.


This talented entrepreneur even gives her clients homework, in order to encourage them to be more mindful. Sometimes she manages to combine traditional therapy within her practice, but it requires clients that are very aware, and then she can make connections in the kitchen.

Ohana believes that culinary arts therapy can help people deal with anxiety, depression, and grief.  Learning how to leave negative thoughts of actions can provide a great deal of relief. Starting from the kitchen, learning to manage alone with one’s time and thoughts can spread to all areas in life.

Ohana, while not an expert in art therapy, says that they are similar in the sense that any therapeutic process of about the process.  Culinary art therapy is not as recognized as other therapeutic techniques are, but she strongly believes that one day it will be on the same level as art therapy and music therapy with such an evolving world. She believes that more people are increasingly searching for more meaningful experiences outside of the ordinary.