The Wisdom Of Plants Herbal Apprenticeship Program: F.A.Q.s
Who usually takes this program?
Women & men of all ages have taken this program - 15 year olds, 65 year olds & everything in between; doctors, nurses, social workers; homesteaders, computer types & professionals of many other kinds; mothers of young children, mothers of grown children & singles; cooks & gardeners of all persuasions; people who are fairly healthy & people who are less so. Basically, people who are interested in some aspect of this fascinating green world.
I am thinking about maybe going away this summer. Can I miss any sessions?
It is not recommended. Each month is being built upon the knowledge of the previous one. Particularly due to our short growing season, a month to be away from the plants is a long time in their lifecycle affecting your ability to make positive identifications. As well, there are no make-up dates.
The program dates are given well in advance so for most people it is not a problem. Depending upon the circumstances, I may make an exception for a participant missing one date if they really want to be in the program & they would get all of the relevant handouts.
How can I get there? I don't have a car/I don't want to drive in the country?
Many participants are willing to carpool. Just fill that section in on the registration form if you need a ride.
What if I decide that I don't want to complete the Program partway through? Will I get a refund?
There is no cancellation policy for any Level of this program. If you register & show up for Day 1, then you are expected to attend all the course dates. Since all of the dates are given well in advance, there should not be any problems scheduling attendance. If there is some sort of drastic change in a participants' life, I may offer a partial refund but not for simply changing your mind.
What will I be able to do with this program? Will this mean that I am qualified to be an Herbalist afterwards?
This is a complicated question, since the more a person understands plant-based therapies, the easier it is to see that there are degrees of knowledge that are acquirable within Herbalism, just like any other field of study. For instance, in the medical model, the levels of knowledge & responsibility are roughly, Nursing Assistants, Nurses, Doctors, then Specialists, & then Surgeons.
Currently, "Clinical Herbalists", those of us whose qualifications are on a par with those of a Doctor, but who specialize in natural therapies, consider ourselves to be in a different category of knowledge & experience than people who have some basic hands-on knowledge that they can use for themselves & their families minor ailments. (See Educational Standards at www.herbalists.on.ca)
Those with some knowledge have often been seen to know "Folk Medicine". To be clear though, "clinical herbalists" value & support the requirement of this basic sustainable health care. Which is why I, like many other clinicians, teach herbalism in some format.
So, upon completion of Level 1, you will have the confidence & the beginnings of sufficient knowledge & experience in self-health-care. You will also be able to build from that foundation successfully over the rest of your life. I am happy to report that I can make this claim since it is what my former students have told me, since this program began in 1995, many of whom I still see on occasion.
What one of my students said toward the end of 2006 Level 1:
"A friend of mine asked me, 'So, are you an Herbalist now?' [Towards the end of Level 1] & I said, "Are you kidding? Do you know what you have to know to be an Herbalist? You have to know anatomy & physiology; how to ID all the plants & how to grow them; how to make all the different medicines; how to diagnose people; & how to create & monitor an herbal program! I'm happy to be able to make some preparations from my garden & know how to use them." - Nathalie M.
They have given themselves the gift of true knowledge (it lasts) versus information (it changes). After all, Herbalism has been around since there have been people & while it has evolved an array of diagnostic practices, & is the forerunner of modern medicine, it has not really changed significantly.
But no, you will not be qualified to be a "clinical herbalist". This program does provide significant hands-on knowledge, which is required to become a clinician. By taking Level 1, more formal institutions see that you have some familiarity with herbalism & that you are therefore serious about further education & becoming a clinician. This enables you to qualify more easily for entering into their programs, should you choose to take that route with the plants.
Many of my students over the years have entered Level 1 with thoughts of becoming a "clinical herbalist" & were surprised to discover that they would need, at this point in time, to acquire a depth of knowledge comparable to that of a doctor & did not wish to do so.
While there is broad consensus now about the need for qualifications to be more so, there are many people across North America who call themselves Herbalists without having done so. The reasons for the upgrades in education for "clinical herbalists" are mainly:
~ Even though herbal medicine is much gentler than drug medication, it is still chemically based & taken internally so possible complications, which are rare, still need to be monitored by someone who knows what to look for. This is more important now due to large numbers of people on prescription drugs who also want to try, or co-take natural medications, increasing the chances of problematic interactions.
~ It is only a matter of time until the medical model includes us (as it already does in Britain) & Herbalists want to be in integrated clinics where we can do the most good, since we have so much to offer that will alleviate suffering. For that reason, we need to be able to communicate with the allopaths & have them understand the appropriateness of our natural options.
I hope that answers those questions.
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Includes our 15th Anniversary Photo Album of the program.