Qualification - Advanced Certificate in Nutritional Counselling

Course CodeVRE014
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)900 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate



It is becoming more evident that a person's psychology has a huge impact on their ability to stay healthy. This is a Unique course in the way that it combines skills in Counselling, as well as knowledge in Nutrition, to give graduates the ability to work with people in a way that addresses both their emotional and physical needs.
It is a great course for people who are wanting to advance or change their career to be working with people to help them with their health (primarily through nutrition), or for anyone already working in the health industry who wish to enhance their knowledge.  
  • Working in a health food shop
  • Life coaches, fitness instructors
  • Health industry support staff
  • People involved with food production, processing or marketing
  • Complimentary health practitioners seeking to broaden their knowledge of nutrition

Recent research in nutrition and health services indicates there is an increasing need for counsellors to have specialist knowledge in the area of nutrition, weight loss and children's nutrition whilst still maintaining professional counselling skills and practice.

Enrol in this course if you are seeking to develop counselling skills, understand counselling techniques and work with people who are focused on improving their health through nutrition.

Health promotion in education is also another huge development area and requires people who know the facts about nutrition and also understand the importance of counselling.

This course is accredited by the International Accreditation and Recognition Council.

This course is made up of 9 modules: 6 compulsory and 3 electives which you can choose to ensure the course is tailored to your needs or choice! (Follow the links in the module titles, below, for more details).



Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Qualification - Advanced Certificate in Nutritional Counselling.
 Industry Project BIP000
 Counselling Skills I BPS109
 Human Nutrition and Food 1 BRE102
 Counselling Techniques BPS206
 Human Nutrition II BRE202
 Human Nutrition III (Disease & Nutrition) BRE302
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 8 modules.
 Counselling Skills II BPS110
 Introduction To Psychology BPS101
 Nutrition For Weight Control BRE210
 Professional Practice In Counselling BPS207
 Therapeutic Nutrition BRE211
 Child & Baby Nutrition BRE304
 Sports Nutrition BRE303
 Weight Loss Consultation Course BRE307

Note that each module in the Qualification - Advanced Certificate in Nutritional Counselling is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Lesson Listings for the Core Modules

Industry Project
The project should last around 100 hours.  There are four options available to you to satisfy this requirement. Don’t worry if you are not sure at this stage, your tutor will be there to help you every step of the way. This includes evidence of work experience or other studies or workshops, a research project or completion of Workshop I.

Counselling Skills I
There are 8 lessons in this module.
Lesson 1. Learning specific skills
Lesson 2. Listening and bonding
Lesson 3. Reflection
Lesson 4. Questioning
Lesson 5. Interview techniques
Lesson 6. Changing beliefs and normalising
Lesson 7. Finding solutions
Lesson 8. Ending the counselling

Human Nutrition And Food I
There are 9 lessons in this module.
Lesson 1. Introduction to Nutrition
Lesson 2. The Digestive System
Lesson 3. Absorption and Enzymes
Lesson 4. Energy Value and Foods
Lesson 5. Carbohydrates and Fats
Lesson 6. Proteins
Lesson 7. Vitamins and Minerals
Lesson 8. Water
Lesson 9. Nutrient Disorders

Counselling Techniques
There are 8 lessons in this module.
Lesson 1. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy l - Freud, Erikson, Jung 
Lesson 2. Psychoanalytical psychotherapy ll - Adler 
Lesson 3. Humanistic/Existential approaches I - Gestalt Therapy; Fritz Perls 
Lesson 4. Humanistic/Existential approaches II - Person-Centred Counselling; Carl Rogers 
Lesson 5. Rational behavioural therapy - Albert Ellis 
Lesson 6. Cognitive behavioural therapy - Aaron Beck 
Lesson 7. Behavioural therapy 
Lesson 8. Solution-focused counselling 

Human Nutrition II
There are 8 lessons in this module.
Lesson 1. Cooking and its effect on nutrition
Lesson 2. Food processing and its effect on nutrition 
Lesson 3. Recommended Daily Intake Of Nutrients
Lesson 4. Vitamins
Lesson 5. Minerals
Lesson 6. Planning A Balanced Diet
Lesson 7. Assessing Nutritional Status And Needs
Lesson 8. Timing Of Meals, And Needs For Special Groups

Human Nutrition III (Disease And Nutrition)
There are 8 lessons in this module.
Lesson 1. Problems With Eating 
Lesson 2. Dental Problems 
Lesson 3. Fibre and Bowel Diseases 
Lesson 4. Different Ways of Eating 
Lesson 5. Food Toxicity A 
Lesson 6. Food Toxicity B 
Lesson 7. Detoxification/Body Cleansing 
Lesson 8. Consulting/Giving Advice

Lesson Listings for the Elective Modules

Counselling Skills II
There are 8 lessons in this module.
Lesson 1. The Counselling Session
Lesson 2. Focus on the Present
Lesson 3. Telephone Counselling
Lesson 4. Dealing with Crises
Lesson 5. Problem-Solving Techniques I, Aggression
Lesson 6. Problem-Solving Techniques II, Depression
Lesson 7. Problem-Solving Techniques III, Grief and Loss
Lesson 8. Problem-Solving Techniques IV, Suicide

Introduction to Psychology
There are 7 lessons in this module.
Lesson 1. The Nature and Scope of Psychology 
Lesson 2. Neurological Basis of Behaviour
Lesson 3. Environmental Effects on Behaviour
Lesson 4. Consciousness and Perception
Lesson 5. Personality
Lesson 6. Psychological Development
Lesson 7. Needs, Drives and Motivation

Nutrition for Weight Control
There are 9 lessons in this module.
Lesson 1. Understanding Obesity
Lesson 2. Nutrition Basics
Lesson 3. Diets -Fads, Fiction and Fact
Lesson 4. Preventing Obesity
Lesson 5. Treating Obesity
Lesson 6. Modifying Eating Behaviour
Lesson 7. Restricting Calorie Intake
Lesson 8. Medical Conditions: Hormones, Drugs, Eating Disorders
Lesson 9. Planning a Diet

Professional Practice in Counselling
There are 7 lessons in this module.
Lesson 1. Understanding Counselling
Lesson 2. Ethics and Confidentiality
Lesson 3. Understanding the Self
Lesson 4. Personality 
Lesson 5. Emotions and Behaviours
Lesson 6. Supervision
Lesson 7. Referral Practice 

Therapeutic Nutrition
There are 9 lessons in this module.
Lesson 1. Introduction to Therapeutic Nutrition
Lesson 2. Allergies and Food Intolerance
Lesson 3. Diabetes
Lesson 4. Heart Disease, Hyperlipidemia and Arteriosclerosis
Lesson 5. Renal/Kidney Conditions
Lesson 6. Cancers
Lesson 7. Digestive Disorders and Diet 
Lesson 8. Other Metabolic Conditions 
Lesson 9. Strategic Diet planning for a medical condition

Child And Baby Nutrition
There are 10 lessons in this module.
Lesson 1. Introduction to Child Nutrition
Lesson 2. Nutrition for Pre-Pregnancy 
Lesson 3. Nutrition in Pregnancy
Lesson 4. Nutrition in Infants
Lesson 5. Nutrition in Childhood
Lesson 6. Nutritional Concerns
Lesson 7. Healthy Eating Behaviour
Lesson 8. Issues in Child Nutrition
Lesson 9. Childhood Obesity
Lesson 10. Diet Plans

Sports Nutrition
There are 9 lessons in this module
Lesson 1. Introduction, human and Sports Nutrition.
Lesson 2. Energy.
Lesson 3. Energy in the athlete’s body.
Lesson 4. The Training Diet.
Lesson 5. The Competition Diet.
Lesson 6. Fluids.
Lesson 7. The Athlete’s Body Composition.
Lesson 8. Weight Management.
Lesson 9. Training for Size and the use of Sports 

Weight Loss Consultation Course
There are 8 lessons in this module.
Lesson 1. Scope and Nature of Weight Loss 
Lesson 2. Managing Physical Activity 
Lesson 3. Managing the Diet 
Lesson 4. Managing the Psychology 
Lesson 5. Tools for the Consultant 
Lesson 6. Delivering Weight Loss Services 
Lesson 7. Conducting a Weight Loss Consultation 
Lesson 8. Establishing a Weight Loss Business


Course Excerpt


To support weight loss it is important to consider the contribution of psychology to weight management. An individual’s psychology can have a big influence on their weight.

Eating and Emotions

People often use food to satisfy or suppress emotional needs. A classic scenario is using food for comfort. Our bodies’ response to food can be comforting. It is also a habit created as a baby, when we cry we get fed. 

Somebody who is feeling sad or bored might use food to satisfy their need to feel happy or stimulated. Somebody who is feeling lonely or frustrated might use food to help suppress their emotions.

Using food to “deal” with emotions can create an unhealthy relationship with food, creating a habit of eating any time an emotion comes up. It also prevents the resolution and release of the emotion, storing it in your body and creating further problems.

Food is also used as a reward or punishment.

Food is often used as a punishment or a reward for children. For exmaple, given as a reward for good behaviour and taken away for bad behaviour. Unfortunately it is usually unhealthy food (e.g. dessert, chocolate, chips) that is seen as a reward and healthy food that is seen as unfavourable, encouraging an unhealthy psychological preference for “treats”.

This can create a habit that psychologically “treat” foods make you feel good so when you feel down you use a “treat” to feel better.  E.g. Someone feels sad so they eat a chocolate bar. Often, if the treat is unhealthy it will actually end up making the person feel worse, so they may have another “treat”… and another… 

In contrast, when food is perceived as “unhealthy” people can also use it to “punish” themselves. E.g. If someone feels like they have failed at something and feel bad about themselves, they may eat lots of unhealthy food to punish themselves to feel worse. 

Food can be used by some people for control
Sometimes people who are in a situation where they feel they have no control may use food as a means to gain control. A person in this situation may see food as the only thing that they have control over. Unfortunately this is only a perception of control and may result in disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. Overeating can also result from using food for control.

The Brain and Weight Management

Physiological aspects of our brain can also have an impact on weight control.

Scientists have identified a part of the brain called the hypothalamus to be responsible for eating behaviour. The hypothalamus communicates with other cells throughout the body to regulate how much and what to eat. Chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain create feelings of fullness or hunger in response to sensory information and messages from the body.
Hunger feelings can arise as a response to chemicals produced by the smell, sight or memory of a desirable food. They can also arise from chemical messages of a nutritional requirement within the body.
Feelings of fullness are thought to be monitored by a chemical called Leptin. Leptin sends a message of “fullness” to the brain in response to the proportion of fat cells in the body. The more fat in the body, the more leptin is produced, and less food is required to satiate the appetite.   An obese person has chronically high levels of Leptin so the brain gets de-sensitised, and the “full” message to the brain is reduced.   

Another major influencing factor is the pleasure response from food on the brain. Food promotes our brain to produce “feel good” chemicals such as dopamine, encouraging us to eat again. This is a major contributing factor to the emotional aspects of eating and can develop into an addiction.

People can have different levels of specific chemicals in their brain which may contribute to individual differences in weight management. E.g. Some scientists suggest that people with obesity may have fewer dopamine receptors than the general population, resulting in an increased likelihood of over eating to stimulate the “pleasure” response.

Managing the psychology

To support someone to lose weight it is important to address the psychological aspects.   Some areas to consider are: 
  • Develop a positive mental approach to healthy lifestyle.
  • Focus on being healthy rather than losing weight.
  • See healthy food and exercise as being enjoyable (reward) rather than a chore (punishment).
  • Identify and address emotional issues.
  • Identify emotional triggers for unhealthy eating and develop alternative strategies to deal with the emotion e.g. going for a walk, talking to a friend, take deep breaths.
  • Address brain chemical contribution.
  • Exercise to increase dopamine levels instead of eating.
  • Use portion control to monitor how much to eat, rather than rely on messages from the brain. 
  • Positive thinking, affirmations and visualisation.
  • Re frame success and failure.
  • Visualise yourself as already being your ideal weight.
  • Use affirmations to reduce effects of emotional eating.
  • Set realistic, achievable goals.
  • Monitor goals through journalling and diary writing.

Study the Qualification - Advanced Certificate In Nutrition And Counselling with ACS

  • Learn about instilling change through greater knowledge and bringing together learning of psychological factors and approaches to counselling.
  • Discover the approaches to help others to understand and change for healthier living.



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