Helping your clients to build a positive relationship with food – psychology in practice

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This CPD course...

  • is delivered: As an online course
  • is for: Nutritional therapy practitioners, nutritionists, dieticians, naturopaths, other health care providers and final year nutrition students interested in applying psychological principles in clinical practice to support health and well-being (i.e., exploring how psychology and behaviour change can be used to improve and sustain a nourishing relationship with food)
  • is with: Emma Hendricks
  • spans: 1 day
  • provides: BANT CPD 5 hours, NNA CPD 5 hours, ION CPD 5 hours*

This course takes a deep dive into the issues surrounding clients’ relationships with food and discusses the physical and mental health impacts. It discusses the importance of a positive relationship with food and describes how to support this in practice using psychological tools, theories and approaches such as acceptance and commitment therapy, cognitive dissonance approaches and behaviour change tools.

In current times with social media, the rise of influencers and increasing eating concerns and body dissatisfaction, it’s important for practitioners to understand the eating concerns people might be facing. Practitioners play an essential role in supporting clients to build, sustain and nourish a positive relationship with food in all aspects of nutritional therapy. 

This course will define what a positive relationship with food looks like and why it matters. It will then explain why some people have a poor relationship with food and the impact this has on physical and mental health from weight management to quality of life, anxiety and depression. It will then outline the pillars that are needed to build and sustain a positive relationship with food. It will discuss key clinical and behaviour change approaches designed to promote a positive relationship with food with all clients. Finally it will identify areas where practitioners can refine their practice to promote a positive relationship with food.




What will I learn?

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Be able to define a positive relationship with food and understand how it impacts mental and physical health.
  • Understand and apply a range of psychological principles, tools and approaches to support clients to build and sustain a positive relationship with food.
  • Avoid potential pitfalls that might negatively impact clients’ relationships with food.
  • Know how and where to get support should a client be displaying signs of disordered eating.

What will be covered?


  • Webinar waiting room opened

Session 1: What is a positive relationship with food and why does it matter?

  • The reasons why people may have a poor relationship with food and the impact this can have on their health and wellbeing
  • Signs of an imbalanced relationship with food
    • Eating disorders/disordered eating (including emotional eating)
  • The reasons we eat – beyond the physical
  • Individual exercise and short Q and A
  • Defining a positive relationship with food
  • Our responsibilities as practitioners to promote a nourishing and positive relationship with food
  • What traditional NT approaches might have an adverse impact on a client’s relationship with food?
  • Q and A

Session 2: Five foundations of a positive relationship with food (part 1)

  • Pillar 1 - Legalising all food.
    • The impact of dieting
    • Restrictive eating patterns – building value
    • ‘Crowding out’ approach
    • Avoid counting (calories, macros, body weight)
    • Individual exercise and short Q and A (10 mins)
  • Pillar 2 – Tapping into appetite
    • Mindful eating
    • Individual exercise and short Q and A (10 mins)
  • Pillar 3 – The eating setting and routine
    • Using self-monitoring and behaviour change approaches
    • Eating out
    • The table
    • The role of eating beyond the physical
  • Q and A

Session 3: Five foundations of a positive relationship with food (part 2)

  • Pillar 4 – The role of food in emotional regulation
    • Why might this be a problem?
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy approaches
  • Individual exercise and short Q and A
  • Pillar 5 – Social media internalisation and body image
    • Issue with the media – food education, body image
    • Social comparison
    • Cognitive dissonance approaches
  • Q and A

Session 4: Bringing it all together – final considerations and your action plan

  • How to align your practice to promote a positive relationship with food
    • social media – practicing what we preach
    • Use of self-monitoring and food diaries
  • Your action plan exercise
    • How are you going to alter your practice as a result of this course?
  • When to ask for specialist help – disordered eating/eating disorder
  • Q and A

Who is leading the course?

Emma Hendricks MSc (Health Psychology) DipION, fBANT, CNHC, Master Practitioner in Eating Disorders (NCFED)

Emma Hendricks is a leading Registered Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (fBANT & CNHC), Behaviour Change Practitioner, Trainee Health Psychologist (BPS), educator and mentor. Emma’s special interests include disordered eating, body image, eating behaviour and emotional wellbeing. Emma is currently completing her stage 2 health psychology training and doctorate at the University of the West of England in Bristol where her doctoral research focuses on eating disorder and body image interventions. 

Emma is also a guest lecturer, research supervisor and trainer on nutrition in eating disorders and eating behaviour. Emma co-delivers training for practitioners on Nutritional Interventions in Eating Disorders at the National Centre of Eating Disorders (NCFED). She supervises and mentors practitioners working in disordered eating. She completed her Nutritional Therapy training at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition (ION) and received a distinction and an award for top student.

How will I be taught?

ION’s courses reflect best practice for online teaching and learning practice.  We aim to offer a variety of interactive formats to support you with participating in online events.  We also provide regular review and recap sessions and encourage critical thinking and reflection. 

The course will include online presentations (maximum 20 mins) interspersed with individual exercises and Q&A.

How much does it cost and what’s included?

  • The course price is £119.00
  • Live online course and ability to ask some questions (within set time)
  • PDF of Powerpoint(s)
  • Edited recording available to view for 90 days
  • Confirmation of attendance and ION CPD 5 hours*
  • BANT CPD 5 hours, NNA CPD 5 hours

Important information


  • Please check you have read ION’s FAQs including our cancellation and refund policy before booking
  • Click the "BOOK" button at the top or bottom of this page - you will be taken to our webinar platform 'Big Marker' to purchase your ticket.
  • Please ensure you use the same name and email to register, login and purchase tickets on our website and any partner platforms.

What should I do if a course is full?

  • If a course is full when you try to book, please make sure you are signed up to receive our CPD courses mailings. The recording and materials will be available to view on demand a few weeks after the course and you should be notified about this.

Registration links and materials

  • If you successfully book on a course, you will be automatically sent a link to the course when you register. Please do not share this with anyone. This is set up to only allow entry to the first user that clicks it. Further links cannot be generated.
  • Approximately 2 weeks before the course you will be sent an email so that you can access course materials. 
  • Where indicated in the programme, a recording of the course will be available a few weeks after the course to view for 90 days


  • Participation in an ION CPD course forms part of a practitioner's or individual's ongoing learning. It does not qualify a non-clinically trained practitioner or individual to work in a clinical setting. Individual’s boundaries of safe work, advice or practice are primarily determined by their formal qualifications and related personal insurance.
  • ION does not send out certificates for live online courses

* ION will send an automatic confirmation of attendance providing 5 hours of ION CPD when a participant has been present for the duration of the course (as reported via the online platform)

If you have a queries, please email [email protected]