You are interested in seeing a naturopathic doctor and begin researching who you would like to see. Likely you have asked friends, family and searched online for NDs in your area. But how do you know your ND is the right fit for you? Is there anything that you can do as a patient to help make the patient-doctor interaction an effective therapeutic relationship? Absolutely.
First, do your research. Read up on naturopathic medicine, the possible therapies NDs perform, the clinic and practitioners you are considering. Know what to expect. Find out as much as you can online and then contact the clinic directly to ask questions you cannot find answers for. By speaking in person you can get a sense of staff demeanour and effectiveness of clinic operations. All of which will help your decision of which ND to see.
It is also important to have an idea of what you want. Why are you going to see a naturopathic doctor in the first place? What health concern is the priority for you and what about that health concern do you want to modify? Being specific helps the ND focus the treatment protocol. For example: Do you want natural treatments to soothe your eczema or do you want to find the cause of the eczema and eliminate it? Each of those would have very different approaches to treatment.
When you have your first appointment with your ND, it is important to be honest with your answers. Do not tell them what you think they want to hear, tell the truth. There is no judgement with what you are saying, it is just information that we need to know in order to help you effectively! If there are certain aspects of your life or health that may be difficult to talk about, you can write this down and give it to the practitioner for them to read and put in your file after the visit. You can also talk about how a certain trauma affected your health but not about give the specifics that event. Because the details of a trauma usually are not important, it's how it affected you that matters in our treatment protocol.
After the appointment pay attention to how you feel? Did you feel like the ND listened and understood you? Do you feel like you had a positive experience? Now, it is important for you to follow through on your treatments or homework that the ND has prescribed for you. Perhaps you need to pick up some supplements or get copies of lab work. Following through on what you agreed to do is very important in the relationship, to show the doctor that you take their expertise and your own health concerns seriously. This also gives them faith that you will be compliant in future treatments to continue to obtain the best outcomes.
Now, NDs are also accountable to build trust in the doctor-patient relationship. This trust and empathy training is built into the education for NDs which helps make the patient feel comfortable in discussing their health concerns in a non judgmental healing environment. So the ND should be doing these learned tactics on a consistent basis. But if they are not, then perhaps it is time to seek a different practitioner. Sometimes personalities of patients and doctors do not mesh or we all just have an off day. Whatever it may be, feeling comfortable and trusting your ND is going to be invaluable to your overall health and experience in healthcare. So honestly assess your effort, truthfulness and communication that you are putting into the relationship as you move forward in your health journey.
Hi I am Dr. Laura: mum of 2, Naturopathic Doctor, Health and Wellness Expert, Educator, Speaker, & Entreprenuer