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Cooking Therapy

Grandmother and child cooking

In this day and age, our society is relying more than ever on takeouts, restaurants and fast food. Unfortunately, we are losing the benefits of experiencing how cooking and serving food to others makes us feel. Over millenia, people have formed a sense of community by cooking and preparing meals together and sharing said food. In addition, when preparing food as a community, people learn the skill of cooperation and teamwork.

The so-called Food Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy first developed in Korea (Kwisoon Choe & Lee, 2020). This particular form of therapy enables people to express their inner self through creative play and artistic activities using food ingredients, which lead to positive thinking and self-discovery.

I have had first hand experience of how cooking therapy is used in rehabilitation centres, as well as prisons. I could feel the sense of community and camaraderie being transmitted amongst those participating, through the acts of food preparation and cooking. A recent experience that I am very fond of is when I was invited, alongside my colleague Sharlet, to eat with a number of clients in a therapeutic community, while two clients of mine had the important role of kitchen crew.

Although not my cup of tea personally speaking, I am starting to introduce baking in my therapeutic sessions with children. I have had children not wanting to talk or else not wanting to engage in any music, art or other creative play, but cooking has offered another alternative in my therapeutic sessions. I have noticed that children improved their self-expression, and this approach helped them build a rapport with me as their therapist. Food art therapy may help people with mental illness, who generally have low self-esteem and difficulty adjusting to society, as well as establishing interpersonal relationships and evaluating one’s abilities and values (Kwisoon Choe & Lee, 2020). Additionally, self-esteem is related to a sense of accomplishment, psychological satisfaction, and good interpersonal relationships. When self-esteem increases, psychiatric symptoms and anxiety decrease (Kwisoon Choe & Lee, 2020).

Man cooking

Cooking is good for mental health because it requires concentration and can serve as a form of mindfulness. Cooking can support you to awaken your senses, as it requires you to pay attention to the present moment. It encourages you to learn new skills and expand your knowledge-base. It also may help you feel less anxious, depressed or overwhelmed, since cooking gives you a feeling of accomplishment and can also provide pleasure. Additionally, it’s a way to practice gratitude for the food made available to you, as well as boosting self-esteem when you take the time to appreciate and enjoy what you’ve created. So why don’t you try it? Both baking and cooking give you outlets to express yourself and produce something tangible. An added bonus is that you can relish the food you prepared, as well as sharing with others your culinary craftmanship!


Kwisoon Choe, J-H K & Lee, K. (2020). Effects of Food Art Therapy on the Self-Esteem, Self-Expression, and Social Skills of Persons with Mental Illness in Community Rehabilitation Facilities. Department of Nursing, Chung-Ang University.

Maria Mifsud

About Maria Mifsud

Maria graduated with a Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) in 2008, then went on to read for a Masters in Probation Services at the University of Malta. After years of being part of the Government workforce, she realised that to better understand her clients and be more equipped, she had to further her studies by enrolling in a Masters in Systemic and Family Psychotherapy with IFT-Malta. Some years later, she continued to pursue her studies in Clinical Supervision with IFT-Malta. Maria is also a qualified Victim Offender Mediator.

TherapyPacks Terms and Conditions

1. TherapyPacks come in bundles of 5 or 10 sessions. Prices of bundles:

  • 5 sessions – €270 – must be utilised within 3 months from date of purchase
  • 10 sessions – €520 – must be utilised within 6 months from date of purchase

2. Bundles are not transferable. This means they cannot be used by, or gifted to, anyone else but the person whose name is listed as the TherapyPacks bundle holder.

3. Bundles which are purchased for Couples Therapy and Family Therapy can only be used by members of the couple or family with one therapist. If members of a couple or family decide to take up individual therapy with another therapist, the bundle will only apply to sessions with the therapist originally referred and cannot be also used for the individual sessions with another therapist. Exceptions will be made if the original therapist is unable to see the client or family and the couple or family are referred to another therapist. After referral, the same conditions will apply.

4. Bundles are valid for a limited time period, as listed above. This means that the bundles will expire once the respective time period has elapsed. Any sessions not utilised within this period will be lost. This means that a refund will not be given for unused sessions. Start date commences on date of purchase of bundles.

5. Bundles are only valid for full price sessions (charged at €60) and not for sessions with trainee psychotherapists, reports or assessments.

6. Full payment needs to be made on purchase, via bank transfer, cash or credit card.

7. Management reserves the right to terminate or suspend the use of the bundles. Reasons for such are at the discretion of the clinic.

8. Refunds or extensions of time period within which bundles may be used is at the discretion of management and will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

9. Management reserves the right to modify or replace the terms and conditions. In such circumstances, clients will be given adequate notice and time to adhere to such.

10. The clinic’s cancellation policy is applicable also to bundles. Late cancellations or no shows will result in the forfeit of a session within the bundle allocation.

11. Responsibility for ensuring timely use of session bundles remains that of the TherapyPacks bundle holder or, in the case of a minor, their carer/legal guardian.