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The Art of Counseling Step 3: Track - Blog Image

The Art of Counseling Step 3: Track

BY: Andrea Nakayama

DATE: 2018-06-12

It’s my mission to educate practitioners (and truly, the rest of the world!) about the benefits of Functional Nutrition. I know it’s how we can empower both patients and practitioners, and how we can move the dial towards a more functional healthcare system.

You might already understand many of the scientific principles behind practicing Functionally, such as looking for root causes and paying heed to bio-individuality.

And if you’ve been following my posts lately, you also know there’s an art to the practice as well.

The 3 Steps to the ART of Practicing Functionally:

A.R.T. | Functional Nutrition Lab

Step 1: The ‘A’ in the Art of Counseling—Assess

Practicing Functionally means that before we offer suggestions, we thoroughly assess what’s going on with our clients. This ensures we’re not missing crucial information. (Read the full article on Step 1 HERE)

Step 2: The ‘R’ in the Art of Counseling—Recommend

After a comprehensive assessment, and a clear understanding of both Empathy and Consent, Functional practitioners recommend both dietary and lifestyle modifications. (Read the full article on Step 2 HERE)

Step 3: The ‘T’ in the Art of Counseling—Track

Working Functionally means that we are continually looking to individualize our solutions with more and more precision.

Unlike the X for Y Paradigm of many medical practices, we’re not looking to match up a symptom (X) with a remedy (Y) that has been shown to work for most people. (That’s what is called “population”, not “precision” healthcare.)

Your client isn’t most people. She is a unique individual, and she’s going to have unique responses to everything you recommend. Some of her responses are going to be what you expect, and some aren’t. And beyond that, everything you recommend she add or subtract from her diet and lifestyle is going to shift the entire terrain of her physiology.

This is exactly what you want. Shifting the terrain is where we work our Epigenetic Mastery, altering the expression of genes, physiological expressions, infections and dysbiosis, and turning on the innate healing capacity of our clients.

But here’s the rub…

If you’re going to successfully bring your clients to resolution—to help them find sustainable relief from their symptoms—you need to pay close attention to how each and every change your client makes affects her.

How did that coconut oil impact your client’s eczema?
Did changing her bedtime alter her blood sugar response?
Did the magnesium supplement you recommended help her have regular bowel movements like you suspected it would, or did it have the opposite effect?

You see, if you don’t understand what impacts your recommendations have had on your client, you won’t know where to go next. (Do you see how painstakingly creating a 3-month plan for your clients in advance could actually be counterproductive?!)


The answer, as you might have guessed from the title of this article, is to track.

When you use Functional tools to track your client’s diet, habits, symptoms, and even her poop (yes, we talk a lot about poop in our clinic and our classrooms!), you’ll be able to connect the dots of her history, biology, diet, habits, and her symptoms. And this will allow you to unlock the answers to finding the root causes of what ails her.

And that’s what we all want—to be able to help people feel better.

In the Functional Nutrition Lab curriculum, you’ll learn to use all the tools shown in the image below. Notice that there are four different tracking tools—Food/Mood/Poop Journal, Supplement Tracker, Guideline Tracker, and Lab Tracker!

Functional Nutrition Tools | Functional Nutrition Lab

When you truly know how to work Functionally, you’re able to weave all the data gathered together and see how it’s interrelated. This is where the ART of the clinical practice kicks into gear—where your work with clients and patients is based on the beautiful interconnection between information and intuition.

The 3 Steps to the ART of Practicing Functionally:
Step 1: Assess
Step 2: Recommend
Step 3: Track

Related Blog Posts

The Art of Counseling Part 1: Assess
The Art of Counseling Part 2: Recommend
Functional Nutrition Matrix
Ditch the X for Y Paradigm

Andrea Nakayama

By: Andrea Nakayama, FxNA Founder & Functional Medicine Nutritionist

Functional Nutrition Alliance provides the comprehensive online Functional Nutrition training in the Science & Art of the Functional Nutrition practice. Learn to address the roots of your clients’ suffering with client education, diet & lifestyle modifications.


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