Mentorship Model

Build a future worth protecting

Cooking

Week 1: Initial Assessment

Defining Objectives

What insights do we expect the client to attain? What actions will they take this week, both in and out of session?

  • Client will speak about his relationship to cooking and food preparation, paying particular attention to his favorite foods, memorable meals, and family traditions around cooking
  • Client will be able to connect cooking to self-sufficiency and understand how becoming a better cook can lead to greater independence, confidence, and autonomy
  • Client will be able to articulate his own motivations for seeking support and express openness to implementing cooking as a part of the work he is engaging in with his mentor

Taking Action

What will you look for in this session? What actions will you take to facilitate the desired outcomes for 

the client?

  • Provider will gauge client’s motivation and willingness to change in order to best support the client’s progress
  • Provider will deliver psychoeducation on the the value of cooking and the role it plays in a healthy lifestyle
  • Provider will use motivational interviewing to help the client make a connection between cooking and a desired future the client hopes to attain, such as having more independence or developing more self-confidence
  • Provider will guide a conversation around any past cooking experience, paying particular attention to the client’s favorite dishes
  • Provider will develop a plan along with the client to cook a meal together in the next session, gauging interest in the activity as well as the practicality of the client’s selected meal, Provider will introduce a longer-term goal of learning to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner through collaborative work during sessions
Questions to Consider Resistant Client Corner
  • Who usually does the cooking in the client’s family?
  • Were home cooked meals or traditions around food part of his childhood?
  • What does the client eat on a typical day? Are there any dishes the client is already comfortable making?
  • What are the biggest hurdles this client is facing with regard to cooking more often?

For better or worse, teenage boys in particular may have internalized attitudes that cooking is primarily an activity for girls. If the client displays some of these attitudes, consider counterexamples or personal anecdotes to demonstrate how cooking and masculinity intersect.

Some clients with no experience whatsoever with cooking may find it helpful to focus on a side dish, like a dip or salad, before digging into a full meal.

Think: improving functioning. Learning how to cook one breakfast, one lunch, one dinner is a step in the right direction for many of these clients.

Think: college-like you…this doesn’t have to be fancy…it may not even have to taste too good. For starters, just choose your client’s favorite protein and cook it up!

When to Check In

Since this module primarily focuses on collaborative skill building, there may not be the same types of bright red flags as highlighted in other modules. However, if the client exhibits any of these behaviors during the course of the sessions devoted to cooking, it is likely time to loop in your supervisor:

  • Destructive or disrespectful behaviors like deliberately leaving a mess or spilling ingredients
  • Resistance!  Your client probably isn’t going to want to come into a session to learn how to cook.  If you find that you’re unable to work with the resistance in a way that seeks to convey the importance of this intervention without being overbearing, be sure to chat with your supervisor
  • If you’re overthinking it and don’t know where to start
  • If you don’t know how to cook, or feel uneasy about cooking, make sure to bring this up

Week 2: Building Confidence

Defining Objectives

What meal will the client learn to prepare? What emotions will he feel while cooking alongside his mentor?

  • Client will be able to understand the basic skills and ingredients** required to prepare a meal of his choice
  • Client will be able to name a positive emotion associated with the experience of preparing and eating a meal he cooked himself, such as a sense of accomplishment or pride
  • Client will demonstrate willingness to gaining greater proficiency in this area by cooking with his provider in future sessions
  • Client will extend this sense of mastery or accomplishment to cleaning up after cooking and enjoying the fruits of his labor through a shared meal

Taking Action

What steps can you take to strengthen the burgeoning connections between cooking and positive outcomes for the client?

  • Provider will remain mindful of client’s history and current stage of change when conducting the session
  • Provider will support the client in safely preparing his chosen meal
  • Provider will look out for opportunities to affirm and spotlight the client’s efforts, offering specific encouragement to build positive associations with cooking
  • Provider will help the client identify another meal to prepare in the next session, encouraging the client to prepare a more nutritionally complete meal or take on something more manageable depending on how the session went
  • Provider will take time to eat with the client, pointing out specific aspects of the meal that they enjoy and modeling mindful eating practices
Questions to Consider Resistant Client Corner
  • How does the client usually eat his meals? Does he typically eat in front of the TV? With family? With friends?
  • What does the client feel like he is “good at?” How often is he praised or rewarded for his efforts in that domain?

Pro Tip: you might consider blending the cooking and eating experience with something fun, like watching his favorite show or sports team. Remember: be creative! If your client likes to watch football, feel free to bring him in for Monday Night Football.

When to Check In

This module is focused on really building motivation.  If you struggle to know how you’re going to get your client to be motivated to continue working on these domains related to cooking, you may want to consult your supervisor:

  • If you client is pushing back on wanting to work on these skills 
  • If your client’s schedule seems to be prohibitive from him coming in to work with you on this intervention

Week 3: Deepening Knowledge

Defining Objectives

What meal will the client learn to prepare next? 

  • Client will be able to understand the skills and ingredients required to prepare another meal of his choice
  • Client will be able to name a skill or technique from the previous session that he applied while preparing a new meal
  • Client will demonstrate openness to cooking on his own outside of session, reflecting on any instances of independent meal preparation that occurred during the previous week
  • Client will direct clean-up efforts and describe the work that went into each element of the meal while eating with his provider

Taking Action

What will you do to extend more responsibility to the client while encouraging ongoing reflection?

  • Provider will support client in safely cooking another meal
  • Provider will give the client more responsibility in the cooking and clean-up process
  • Provider will help the client identify another meal to prepare in the next session, encouraging the client to prepare a more nutritionally complete meal or take on something more manageable depending on how the session went
  • Provider will eat with their client, asking questions to prompt reflection on the tastes and feelings that the client is experiencing while eating
Questions to Consider
  • What opportunities are there to offer the client greater independence and ownership over meal preparation?
  • How does the client respond to mistakes, setbacks, or outright failures in the kitchen?
  • How readily is the client able to apply lessons and skills from the previous session to a novel situation?

When to Check In

This module is focused on really building motivation.  If you struggle to know how you’re going to get your client to be motivated to continue working on these domains related to cooking, you may want to consult your supervisor:

  • If you client is pushing back on wanting to work on these skills 
  • If your client’s schedule seems to be prohibitive from him coming in to work with you on this intervention 
  • If you’re having a hard time knowing how to manage a session like this or set it up
  • If you’re client is resistant to coming in, or is avoiding booking sessions that involve cooking
  • If you’re getting mixed messages from parents that suggest they would prefer you to be working on something else

Week 4: Lesson Learned

Defining Objectives

What will the client take away from his work in this domain? What emotions does he associate with cooking after gaining new skills?

  • Client will cook a final meal with his provider, taking a leading or “head chef” role in the preparations
  • Client will be able to name a skill or technique from the previous session that he applied while preparing a new meal
  • Client will feel that time spent learning to cook has been productive and identify major lessons or skills he plans to apply on his own
  • Client will be able to identify a positive emotion associated with preparing and enjoying food while eating with his provider

Taking Action

What aspects of the cooking process is the client ready to take the reins on? How can you create an atmosphere of support while placing more responsibility on the client to lead?

  • Provider will support client in cooking his final meal, stepping back to allow the client to lead wherever possible
  • Provider will engage with affirmations and specific encouragement to continue to build a sense of accomplishment from the experience 
  • Provider will provide client an opportunity for closure in reviewing the work done, discussing any challenges overcome and successes experienced while promoting discussion with the client about future plans to incorporate cooking in a healthy routine
  • Provider will enjoy a final meal with the client, sharing stories of favorite restaurants, foods, and dining experiences
Questions to Consider
  • How does the client respond to have more responsibility placed on his shoulders?
  • How effectively is the client able to synthesize and summarize lessons learned over the preceding weeks?
  • How has the client grown or changed throughout the module? How can you help the client recognize and appreciate those changes?

When to Check In

This module is focused on really building motivation.  If you struggle to know how you’re going to get your client to be motivated to continue working on these domains related to cooking, you may want to consult your supervisor:

  • If you client is pushing back on wanting to work on these skills 
  • If your client’s schedule seems to be prohibitive from him coming in to work with you on this intervention 
  • If you’re having a hard time knowing how to manage a session like this or set it up
  • If you’re client is resistant to coming in, or is avoiding booking sessions that involve cooking
  • If you’re getting mixed messages from parents that suggest they would prefer you to be working on something else