People are often curious when they find out I am a naturopath running my own clinic here in Melbourne but that my first career was as a Chartered Accountant. They remark that it seems like quite a change. Interestingly, I don’t really see it like that. From my perspective I still have clients who pay me to help solve their problems and achieve their desired outcomes only now I am helping them with their health problems and goals which, personally, I find much more satisfying (no disrespect to all the accountants out there).
When I consider my service providers (to whom I pay my hard earned cash), I look for someone who, as well as being well qualified and knowledgeable, really cares about what they do and treats me like an important individual, not just another customer.
As a member of your healthcare team, I believe you deserve the same, as does my colleague, Lee. So, here’s why I (we) love being your naturopath.
I am a partner in my clients’ health goals
I choose to refer to you as a client, rather than a patient. This is because I respect that you don’t have to see me but rather, it is your choice. As such, I am not here to tell you what to do but to provide you with the service and information you need at the time, and to support you in your quest for optimal health and vitality. I am here to advise, educate, encourage and work alongside you. I have a vested interest in your outcomes.
As a consequence, I get to see the results of my clients’ efforts. I am in the privileged position of being able to help you make changes to enhance your enjoyment of life.
I get to play health detective and problem solver
It would be fair to say creativity is not my forte. My strengths lie in logic and problem solving; asking questions with the goal of putting the pieces of the puzzle together or joining the dots. This sits well with the philosophy of naturopathy (or functional medicine) which is to, not just relieve symptoms, but get to the underlying cause of your health issues. It’s also incredibly satisfying to help my clients understand what has brought them to this point.
I get to learn, not just from science but from my clients
The workings of the human body are just fascinating to me. Every day, I learn something new from reading books and journals or attending conferences and seminars. But I also learn from my clients. No two clients are the same so I am constantly challenged and stimulated by what I do.
And it never gets boring. There are new discoveries and research findings coming out every week. Even compared to when I first started in this field in 2002, we now know so much more about the role of genetics for example; or the influence of our microbiome (the important bugs in your digestive tract) on our physical and mental health. So I practice quite differently to when I first started and no doubt, my approach and treatments will be different again in another 10 years.
The long term fix not the quick fix
I get to go deep, take some valuable time and work on solutions that can last for a lifetime. “Time” is one of the benefits of seeing a naturopath. Sure you could take a painkiller for the pain but what’s causing that pain in the first place? The further we can go “upstream” from the symptom, the more likely we are to be able to make long-lasting changes.
Sometimes, the answers don’t come quickly and you might need some herbal or nutritional support along the way (I liken this to putting up some scaffolding while you are fixing the foundations). And the real results will require some engagement and commitment on your part. I have had clients whose health problems have only fully resolved when they changed jobs for example. No amount of nutrients and herbs can overcome the debilitating effects of a job that doesn’t meet your intellectual and emotional needs.
What does this mean for you?
If your health concern has been bubbling away for some time, it is likely to require preparedness on your part to participate in your healing.
This does not suit everyone. If you are not prepared or able to do the work right now, you might be better off looking for the “quick fix”. (Think of it as “you can keep pumping up that flat tyre which will work in the short term but eventually you will have to find and fix the puncture”).