Clarissa Kennedy RSW

Event Speaker

Clarissa Kennedy RSW, FAC, SUGAR Certified, Mental Health/Addictions Certification


Clarissa Kennedy has worked in the addiction and mental health fields for the past 12 years and enjoys a reputation as being a skillful clinician yet “down-to-earth” with common-sense solutions to problems that occur when clients are struggling with food addiction recovery issues.

She has a passion for empowering and supporting individuals, coupled with her commitment to education and best practice, provides clients with a strong, supportive foundation to assist in navigating challenging times for them and loved ones.

She hopes to create real change in the awareness of the disease of Food Addiction & launched the podcast Food Junkies: Recovery from Food Addiction with Dr. Vera Tarman this year. She is on the Executive Committee of the Board of the Food Addiction Institute and was on the team which created and submitted the ICD proposal for Food Addiction to be recognized by the World Health Organization last month.


Food Junkies: Recovery from Food Addiction

Speakers: Clarissa Kennedy RSW, FAC, SUGAR Certified, Mental Health/Addictions Certification, Molly Painschab LCPC, LAC, FAC, Dr. Vera Ingrid Tarman, MD, MSc, FCFP, ABAM, Specialist in Addiction medicine

In our field we have seen a rise in cases in regards to the additional emotional eating behaviour of ultra-processed foods during the COVID-19 isolation. Food addiction is a lifestyle and health concern confronting men and women of all ages and from all walks of life. Significant emotional, physical and relationship trauma can result from the inability to manage a healthy relationship with food.

In this session Dr. Vera Tarman will explain the science behind Food Addiction from a clinical perspective. She will address how obesity is a metabolic issue and how that relates to the bodies hormonal structure and the neurochemistry involved. She highlights: Normal Hunger and Satiety, Ghrelin, Insulin, Leptin, Cortisol, The Limbic / Reward Pathway and the how our Neurotransmitters: Dopamine, serotonin, endorphin are involved in Food Addiction.

Molly and Clarissa will demonstrate how to support clients identifying with Food Addiction. They will present assessment and screening tools, speak about abstinent and withdrawal, abstinent food plans, recovery and craving management, addiction interaction disorder, and relapse prevention. They will also share resources to help connect clients with free support groups and introduce them to the Food Addiction Professional Community for additional information and education on the topic.

Key Take-aways

  1. Food Addiction Syndrome: The Clinical Perspective
  2. Basic practical suggestions regarding how you can help potentially food addicted patients at each of the progressive stages of the disease.
  3. How to utilize the screening protocol for Food Addiction (UNCOPE, Yale Food Addiction Scale, Diagnostic Tool SUGAR) and how to connect clients to the appropriate resources.