Joe Nelson


Bridging the Gap between the Gut Biome’s Effect on Clinical Anxiety and Depression through a Biopsychosocial - Focused Program for Practicing Clinicians.


This presentation explores the significant relationship between nutrition, gut health, and mental well-being, highlighting the Gut-Brain Axis (GBA) as a key link in mental health. It discusses how dietary patterns and gut microbiota diversity significantly affect mental health outcomes, prompting a reconsideration of traditional medication-focused treatment approaches. It emphasizes the importance of gut dysbiosis as a critical factor in mental health disorders and critiques the current medical treatment methods, advocating for an integrated bio-psychosocial model that includes 9-hour training sessions. By reviewing contemporary research, the presentation aims to showcase the crucial role of GBA theory in explaining the complex, two-way relationship between gut health and mental disorders. It presents new findings that support the benefits of dietary changes, such as adopting the Mediterranean diet, in reducing depression and anxiety risks, contrasting with the negative effects of Western diets. The presentation argues for recognizing nutrition and gut health as key factors in mental well-being by clinicians and other stakeholders. It calls for training mental health clinicians to integrate treatment models that include dietary adjustments, probiotics, and overall lifestyle changes. Proposing a multidisciplinary approach to mental health care, it stresses the need to incorporate nutritional insights into comprehensive treatment plans for mental health issues linked to gut dysbiosis. Ultimately, it suggests that adopting nutritional psychiatry principles can lead to more effective and holistic mental health care strategies, representing a significant advancement in developing comprehensive treatment methods.


Joe Nelson, an LCSW in Indiana and Kentucky, has a diverse career from child development to gerontological care. He earned a Bachelor’s in Social Work from the University of Tennessee at Martin (2016), a Master’s focused on military and mental health from the University of Louisville (2017), and is nearing completion of his DSW at the University of Kentucky, expected May 2024.

Nelson’s professional roles include Clinical Director at Harrison County Hospital’s senior care center, Clinical Therapist at Auxilium Psychological Services, CEO of JClinic LLC, and Lead Instructor at Bluegrass Community and Technical Colleges System. His work, which balances clinical practice and education, is complemented by his involvement in boards and committees across Kentucky and Indiana.
In literature, Nelson co-authored “Social Welfare Policy | OEN Manifold” and edited “The Marketing Blueprint.” His military social work expertise is highlighted in specialized guides, and he addresses complex issues like infidelity in the aging population in “Why did I do it?”

Driven by his Romanian heritage and personal experiences with malnutrition, Nelson’s research focuses on the nutritional gut biome’s impact on mental health. This innovative work underscores his commitment to improving mental health care.

Nelson’s dedication to social work shines through his active engagement with organizations such as the National Association of Social Workers and the Council on Social Work Education. A lifetime member of honor societies Phi Alpha and Phi Beta Sigma, and mentor for Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity, his contributions to education, research, and community service mark him as a leading social work professional.