Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Therapist Uses Cooking to Communicate with Children

I am so proud to be a part of the ASD Publishing family where such a diverse line-up of books are published.  This week, they have their latest book - therapist/author Allison Carver who has a unique approach to therapy and cooking. With her new book, she is looking to reinvent the 'family meal time' by bringing families back together - something I was used to growing up with in the 70s, but is very difficult for those raising children in 2013. 

In her debut book, "Cooking Therapy: The Recipe for ImprovingCommunications with Your Children through Cooking" (ISBN: 978-0-9853441-8-4, ASD Publishing), Carver gives practical advice for parents looking to involve their children in the kitchen while cooking.

Carver is a Licensed Professional Counselor who earned her Master's of Education and Educational Specialist Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Virginia. But it is the unique business, A Taste of Therapy, LLC, she owns and develops that I wanted to discuss with her: a one of a kind company that combines the power of therapy with the process of cooking. As a Culinary Therapist, she believes that through the process of cooking, one can relax, unwind and connect with others.

I asked her a few questions for my blog and in the middle of her busy launch; she was able to get back to me!

Gregory: Thanks for joining me, Allison! So, when did you start A Taste of Therapy?

Allison: Back in 2010.
Gregory: What made you decide to launch your own company around cooking and food?
Allison: I've always felt that cooking was relaxing and when working with clients in therapy I always wondered if it would help to relax them to. Also I found that in the therapy world there was very little use of creativity in actual therapy practice. I wanted to change that. When working with clients (especially kids and adolescents) I found they enjoyed doing something while talking. And I started thinking...hmm...what about cooking? I felt that keeping them busy helped them to engage in the therapy process more. I always felt that the process of cooking was relaxing and felt that if incorporated properly into the therapy process it would work for many different types of clients! And it did!
Gregory: Where did the idea of mixing therapy and cooking originate?
Allison: Honestly, It just came to me one day. I knew that I wanted to make therapy more approachable, creative, and engaging for people who may feel a little hesitant about therapy. I also wanted to provide folks with a tangible way to relax and deal with life's stressors in the comfort of their own home. Therapy can seem intimidating, and this allows for therapy to come into your home in a fun and calming way. Plus, you have to eat, so why not use that process as a way to help you relax!
Gregory: What is your favorite kind of food to cook and/or eat?
Allison: This is ALWAYS the hardest question for me! I love to cook and eat everything. I find all kinds of food exciting and fun to try. I know that doesn't help. But I do love to cook southern comfort classics, because it reminds me of my past and childhood. But my favorite kind of food to eat that I don't make for myself is Indian food.
Gregory: Lastly, does your husband help out in the kitchen and if so...what's his favorite 'job' that you talk about in your book?
Allison: Yes! He and I always cook together. He's a huge help and we switch up jobs in the kitchen and it actually works well. It's how we get caught up with each other from the day. He always says he's my sous chef and he enjoys that job.

Here is the info from the back cover: Many people hear the word therapy and run the opposite direction. Carver hopes it will have you running to your kitchen. With "Cooking Therapy," she has created a way for families to communicate, connect, and come together all in one location. Through recipes, anecdotes, and therapeutic tips, Carver has mapped out a way to reinvent the family mealtime by bringing everyone together before and during a meal. It is that time at the dinner table and the act of cooking together that Carver believes is the secret to improving communication in the family.

Follow Carver on her websiteFacebookor Twitter to learn more about this unique form of therapy.

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