This basically means that any person whishing to do so can call themselves and practice the Therapies in this category. That includes Herbalists, Homeopaths, Naturopaths and more.
For a potential client it is therefore very important to determine the qualification/reputation and professionalism of the therapist they are looking at consulting.
Homeopaths may be in practice;
- with no formal qualifications at all
- with limited qualification after a short course
- with (valid/ recognised- or not ) overseas qualifications
- with qualifications from a recognized and specified NZ Homeopathic College (4 years of training)
- with qualifications as part of a qualification in i.e. Naturopathy (which means they have had some study on Homeopathy as part of their course)
- with Qualification and registration with the New Zealand Council of Homeopaths
Homeopaths may practice Homeopathy in conjunction with other modalities which they also may or may not be qualified in. Some Homeopaths may also be qualified medical doctors, nurses or midwives.
Homeopaths may be specialized in or have extensive experience with providing Homeopathic support in certain situations; like Autism or Women’s issues or Children’s health. There are Homeopaths who are trained to provide Homeopathy for Animals and those who may support both Animals and Human clients.
The choice for a homeopath may be also dependent on practical factors like availability, proximity to you, cost and urgency of your needs.
And lastly all Homeopaths are also people with their own values, belief systems, preferences, experience and personality that may determine what they find important in their practice, what they feel comfortable with and how they view Health in general and how that could be best supported by what they provide.
So when looking for a Homeopath one will need to be aware of these things.
It is always important to find a practitioner you feel comfortable with, since you will share much information with this person (especially in Chronic Health issues) in order for them to assess your situation and find you a remedy.
It is also important to find some references for this practitioner to see what others’ experience have been with this person. However you have to bear in mind that opinions are always personal things. Also that a newly qualified practitioner may not be able to provide you with references; due to the limited length of time they have been in practice. In this case you could possibly contact the College they graduated from for a reference as all Student Homeopaths will take cases under supervision.
It is by no means always the case that a practitioner without formal qualification should be less competent or professional then a fully qualified and even a registered one. Many factors come into play where competency is concerned.
The Field of Natural medicine and the public’s access to this is very much under threat, world wide, of being drowned out, driven by motivations and opposition from the Pharmaceutical industry.
While this is a whole other topic in its own right and I won’t go into it at this moment, it does mean that Homeopaths (in this case) are particularly aware of the need to practice responsibly and professionally at all times.
In New Zealand Homeopaths can opt to (this is not compulsary) become Registered with the NZ Council of Homeopaths (NZCH). This council is a self regulatory organization, which encourages professionalism by accreditation and on going education of their members.
In order to become NZCH registered, Homeopaths are required;
- To be qualified
- To have completed a recognized Study Course
- Complete a max of 2 year intern process
- Go through an accreditation process; submitting cases and being interviewed
- Practice to a set code of conduct and ethical behaviour
- Undergo ongoing and set amount of hours of Professional Training each year
Registration gives some assurance to clients that the Homeopath they are seeking support from is supported by and accountable to a Regulating body.
Homeopaths who are not registered may also be Qualified, very much up to date with developments in the field, involved in the Homeopathic community through organised events, social media and newsletters and definitely may be undergoing ongoing professional development and practice to very high standard. However this needs to be ascertained by the potential client on an individual basis.
In case of a dispute about a Homeopathic service received there is a benefit to becoming Registered as a Homeopath or choosing the services of a Registered Homeopath. The NZCH provides a Complaints procedure in case of disputes. This offers both practitioner and client the assurance that pathways are in place to work through any issues in a professional way.