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SANTA MONICA (CBSMiami) — The holidays can be a difficult time for people dealing with loss or coping with the idea of being around relatives. However, there is a baking class in Santa Monica which offers more than just recipes; if offers students a way to tackle emotional issues through baking.

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Thea Golden loves cooking for her family but says she struggles to manage the stress that comes with it.

“Ohhh 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,” explained Thea who is now taking Pie Therapy 101.

“It’s a totally safe space,” said the chef.


Pie Therapy 101 is a baking class that also helps people with mood disorders, anxiety and addiction focus on their emotions.

Thea says she is 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.”

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Licensed counselor Stacie Cox leads the class.  She says baking brings out many feelings.

“You’ll usually see a 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,” said Cox.

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,” said Cox.

Thea 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.

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The class is not recommended for patients who are new to sobriety.