Gut Feelings. A Hermeneutic Exploration of the Literature Crossing the Boundaries Between the Mind and Gut.
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Through a hermeneutic phenomenological review of the literature, this dissertation highlights the substantive and growing literature base for nutritional psychiatry showing the impact optimal nutrition and associated factors has in mental illness symptom reduction. It discusses an aetiological paradigm shift from the dominant dualistic model, to a whole-person multifactorial conceptualisation of mental illness and the growing calls for lifestyle factors to be addressed as a primary mode of treatment. In light of this literature, the question is asked; what prevents us from nourishing ourselves in a way we know (and have always known) is profoundly life changing? An answer to this question emerges in the literature around the less explored unconscious relational dynamics between the mind and gut, and in particular the meta forces that perpetuate early relational trauma. The study finds that food choice is a complex social, cultural, political, environmental, and relational issue which should not be considered the burden of the individual. Rather, the entrenched dualistic divide within many of our institutions is seen to maintain and perpetuate our catastrophic mental health crisis. A concluding call is made for a shift to a whole-person paradigm that considers sociological contexts in psychotherapy practice, training and future research endeavours.