What's Cookin'… – Culinary Group Intervention for Adults with Eating Disorders

Adi Stern, Noa Lavi, Analu Verbin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Food and its significance are core issues individuals with eating disorders face, affecting their thinking, behavior, and function. Cooking interventions are being used in various therapeutic settings with various benefits. Specifically, occupational therapy practical food groups are a meaningful intervention for individuals with eating disorders. Practical food groups involve eating-related outings (going to a local cafe or restaurant) and meal-preparation activities. They do not however, usually discuss issues related to food and cooking, their role in the disorder, and their influence on relationships. Culinary-art therapy is a novel approach that broadly perceives food and cooking as enabling participants to explore needs, patterns, and relationships and facilitate therapeutic processes. We implemented a culinary-art therapy group intervention for inpatients with eating disorders. The group's main objectives were to use cooking to explore attitudes and feelings towards food and eating, facilitate a group and interpersonal process, provide psychoeducation on healthy eating, and improve eating behaviors. Thirty-eight adults participated in five consecutive rounds of the group. The intervention's impact was assessed using detailed notes of the sessions, group feedback sessions, and interviews. Participants reported that the group enabled them to deal with food anxieties and reexamine food-related cognitions and habits. Behavioral improvement also was observed among patients who began touching and preparing food they had previously avoided as they experienced new dishes. Culinary-art therapy has therapeutic potential for individuals with eating disorders, yet further applications and evaluations of this promising approach should be undertaken.
Translated title of the contributionמה מתבשל? קבוצת טיפול באמצעות בישול למבוגרים עם הפרעות אכילה
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E5-E22
Journalכתב-עת ישראלי לריפוי בעיסוק
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note


IHP Publications

  • ihp
  • Cooking -- Therapeutic use
  • Eating disorders
  • Food
  • Group psychotherapy
  • Occupational therapy


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