Baking class helps people with mood disorders, anxiety, addiction

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SANTA MONICA, Calif. (CBS) The holidays can be a difficult time for people dealing with loss or coping the idea of being around relatives. There's a special cooking class in Southern California that helps students tackle emotional issues through baking.

Thea Golden loves cooking for her family, but says she struggles to manage the stress that comes with it. "Oh holiday cooking -- big anxiety for me because you know you're kind of like putting on a show in a sense, you want everybody to like what you've made," she said.

Golden is taking pie therapy 101, a baking class that also helps people with mood disorders, anxiety, and addiction, to focus on their emotions. She says she's working on control. "When I'm cooking I like everything clean. If there is too much clutter around my workspace, it makes me feel a little bit anxious," Golden said.

Licensed counselor Stacie Cox leads the class. She says baking brings out many feelings. "You'll usually see comparison, you might even see hoarding with the cutting of the apples. It's fascinating to see this, and it's all just an extension of anxiety that we are talking about -- a lot of it falls under perfectionism," Cox said.

The class opens and closes with mediation to focus on mindfulness, and students take breaks to share their feelings.

Pie therapy is also designed for team building and conflict resolution between couples and families.

"A lot of people are scared to go in and get treatment, so this is another avenue for people to travel down and work through some of the issues," Cox said.

Golden says the class is helping her confidence. "I feel like I don't have to aim for perfection now," she said.

She hopes to practice letting go so she can enjoy the holidays with her family.