Think Group Nutrition Counseling Isn’t For You? Think Again!

Alyssa Cohen, MS, RD

While individual nutrition counseling is certainly beneficial for weight management, many people discount the effectiveness of group nutrition counseling. Although a personal meal plan and one-on-one time with a registered dietitian can help to identify barriers to your goals and overcome obstacles, there are many instances when group counseling can enhance your individualized counseling experience and/or may be a better option for you depending on your individual situation.

Curious about how group counseling works? It usually goes something like this: A small group of people with a similar interest or goal gather together. This goal can be broad for a wide array of individuals (such as weight loss) or it can be a specific goal for a particular group (such as decreasing blood pressure in those with hypertension). The registered dietitian acts as the group facilitator and introduces a topic. The floor remains open for contribution by anyone in the group and as people contribute, they find that they are able to learn from others regarding their goal, or can teach others (or both)! This counseling technique has been shown by research to be an effective method of weight management and/or coping with various stressors, conditions and habits. Also, it is fun! At Caruso, our group counseling puts speak into practice when we go to restaurants (to practice ordering from a menu), supermarkets (to give tours and demonstrate what to look for in a nutrition label), and when we have special guests visit to lead yoga, promote positive psychology, and utilize their many specific skills!

In reference to our blog last week, group counseling can be a less expensive alternative to out-of-pocket nutrition counseling if your insurance benefits have run dry, since typically each group counseling session is less expensive than each individual counseling session. Also, it is great to try new approaches, because each approach offers different benefits.

Group nutrition counseling may be for you if:

  • You have run out of insurance-covered individual nutrition counseling sessions and would like a less expensive alternative
  • You would like to combine the benefits of group counseling with your individualized counseling
  • You would like social support from others to help you reach your health goals
  • You would like to meet other people with similar goals and interests
  • You like to learn from others and their personal experiences, while ensuring information is accurate (which a registered dietitian, acting as a facilitator, can ensure)
  • You like to teach others and share your personal experiences

Interested? We offer a weekly group counseling session every Tuesday evening at Caruso Physical Therapy and Nutrition and would love to learn from your experiences and help you through your journey to health and weight management.