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From the Director

I have been teaching natural medicine since 1973, medical level herbalism since 1989, and mentoring students in teaching clinics continuously since 1996. I have been fortunate in my clinical teaching that I have been able to observe not only the patient outcomes in the clinic, but also the kinds of skills and attitudes that determine the success (or failure) of the clinical herbalist.

  • A vitalist approach to therapeutics, relying on the Life Power and the normal determiants of health and Life for the healing and not relying on the power in the herb. 

  • A sense of Calling to do this work, and a commitment to that Calling. 
  • Experience-based knowledge of the herbs being used. The practitioner has tasted them and felt their effects first-hand and not simply read about them in a book. 

  • Continuous ongoing learning about the herbs, through reading, intuition, and personal, and clinical experience. 

  • Critical thinking, constant willingness to refine and seek authenticity for the methods used, whether new or old. 

  • Case-based learning, using each case as a new learning experience to re-confirm or add to clinical knowledge. 

  • A knowledge of the humoral and energetic properties of patients, herbs, and foods.

  • A knowledge of the reliable and repeatable physiological effects to be expected for each herb. 

  • A knowledge of the skillful combination of herbs sufficient to devise formulas specific to each patient. 

  • A knowledge of dietetics and nutrition, and the ability to explore an appropriate individual diet for each patient. 

  • An openness and curiosity about each patient and their story as it unfolds during an intake. 

  • Self observation and self-knowledge, understanding ones own character traits that may help or hinder a successful relationship with the patient. 

  • A basic understanding of the principles of pathophysiology, sufficient to understand the roots of medical conditions. 

Every course we offer, right from the First Course in Medical Herbalism, and through the progression of our Certificate Programs, first sets a good foundation for this model and skill set and continues to develop it throughout your education. We look forward to training you in these skills, and mentoring you whether you wish to develop herbalism as a life skill, as an avocation, or as a professional occupation. 

     Paul Bergner, February 2012

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