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Jazmine V.





Do you or have you thought about mashing nutrition and psychology into one career? Has it worked out or do you think it will work out? Why or why not?

I am interested in nutrition's effect on emotional and physical diseases. I want to replace pills and medication as such with nutrition and all natural, super-food diets. I have not heard of a psychologist who, for example, would replace antidepressant pills with cashews, which are natural anti-depressants. I am planning on double-majoring in nutrition and psychology, but am not entirely sure how that would work out considering I know no one in this career field.
#career #psychology #college-majors #clinical-psychology #clinical-nutrition #medical-nutrition-therapy #super-foods

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6 answers

Jazmine, This is a great mash-up idea! Although I have never heard of a nutrition focused concentration in the field of psychology, these areas are not mutually exclusive. There are many people in the field of psychology/ counseling whom understand the importance of nutrition (and other facets of healthy living) in the understanding of their clients well being. There is a progressive movement of people in the field who believe psychotropics do more harm than good, and that food/ exercise/ meditation are more appropriate means of helping people heal. I do not see any reason why you could not combine these fields successfully. Albeit, if you have visions of working in the medical or school systems this would not be acceptable. If however, you are interested in private practice, you could advertise your methodology and would attract clients who are interested in the types of services you offer.

Last updated Sep 19 '14 at 09:23

I actually did a double major in nutrition and psychology ( neuroscience) and finished it 10 years ago. I will give you several paths that you may take from experience with fellow classmates who had similar interests .

  1. Dietician/ nutritionist -get involved in health promotion and research in nutrition and develop research skills through a masters in community / public health or clinical epidemiology to answer some of the questions that you are posing. Many of my friends in nutrition got accepted into a one year dietician program and became a dietician in a year. You can work as a hospital dietician and really get involved in changing a patient's diet to assist in their recovery both inside and outside of the hospital. After becoming a dietician, you can consider doing integrative health as suggested above. You cAn also do a research based career as a nutritionist and study these types of topics in more detail through years of work completing masters, PhDs post doc, etc

  2. Naturopathic medicine program is a program to consider to become a certified naturopath. I am unsure if they have funding for research in this area but I think that they would be me open to consider ideas do research In this area.

For myself. I did some research work in clinical epidemiology - one part involved doing a literature review on vitamin d deficiency and it's connection with type 1 diabetes. After that I went to medical school and am in a family medicine residency. Right now I am thinking of a career in public health informatics. So my path is not very traditional and my interest have changed abit over the years.

Last updated Sep 25 '14 at 02:23

Hi Jazmine,

I'm not sure if you're still looking for more information on this topic. There actually are many clinicians in the field who are beginning to do research into that exact "mash-up" that you describe. It's called Integrative Medicine or Integrative Health, and the psychiatrists and therapists in the field look at the entire person and their problem more fully than just through a physical lens. So for example, one field of interest that's being studied right now includes how bacteria in people's "gut" (digestive tract) affects OCD, depression, and other mental health diagnosis. Clinicians are finding that by increasing the healthy bacteria (through natural and fermented foods/drinks), people's symptoms lessen or even disappear. There are many universities and hospitals who are on the forefront of this sort of work. I would look specifically for psychologists and psychiatrists who are interested in Integrative Medicine to seek out some possible future opportunities for yourself.

Hope this helps! Shelly

Last updated Nov 08 '16 at 10:41

I think this should be the wave of the future! I also am in the process of getting my degree in Nutrition. I have had some counseling experience as a job, and I know first hand that nutrition plays a huge huge part of a person. It's not just giving pills to someone that is going to help them heal from hurts. You have to take the entire body into perspective. How can a person even stay focused to listen to a counseling session if their body is not working correctly? Dehydration is one of the biggest problems with our culture. When you get dehydrated you cannot think clearly. I have been to many nutritionists in my life, and not one of them has ever mentioned the importance of staying hydrated. So I would absolutely go for mashing both degrees. I am on the same path as you!!!!

Last updated May 02 '17 at 18:29

One thing would be to distinguish between Psychiatry ( someone who can prescribe pills and for this you need to have a medical degree and clinical experience) and psychologist/counselor (who try to understand a patient's mindset and cannot prescribe pills. Psychologists are people you can talk to and get some insight on life etc.)

Combining nutrition with psychology or psychiatry would be a good combo but as someone else suggested if someone can prescribe pills then they won't suggest that you take the alternative like cashews as anti-depressant.

Last updated Sep 22 '14 at 19:32

It seems like dietitians and nutritionists who counsel their clients use a lot of psychology to understand the particular issues of their clients, the motivators, etc. If you practice as a psychologist, you could possibly focus your practice on counseling clients who want to lose/gain weight and those with eating disorders.

Last updated Sep 19 '14 at 23:06
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