VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
A Healthy Gut and a Healthy Brain: Implications for Counseling and Lifestyle
Harriet A. Bachner
The complex interaction of diet, early development, and lifestyle has a reciprocal relationship with the body’s microbial environment and emotional and neurological function. Understanding the enteric micro-environmental impact on gut and brain communication and modulation may help counselors develop strategies for assisting individuals to cope with stress-related and mood disorders. Recently, there has been burgeoning interest, both in research and in public discourse, about the effects of lifestyle and diet on mental and physical health. Some studies show a possible association between the gut microbial environment and stress-related, mood, and cognitive disorders, which interestingly coincide with many gastrointestinal problems. Counselors need to consider the profound implications for counseling regarding diet and lifestyle factors, as they may impact early emotional and cognitive development, particularly in the biopsychosocial aspects of family and individual well-being. Therefore, treatment can include some attention to the complex etiology and to the interplay of diet, lifestyle, and the gut microbiota on early development and the resulting neurological, emotional, and physical well-being.