Today, I’m sitting at a desk in a hotel in Paris, looking out over the city as I complete my writing and prepare to give a presentation this afternoon about the role of naturopathic medicine in addiction recovery. I am at the International Conference on Naturopathic Medicine. This is touted as the premier international conference “for the most influential and inspiring complementary medicine practitioners and healthcare professionals who are dedicated to improving patient care.” So far, it is living up to the hype. There are rooms filled with enthusiastic complimentary medicine practitioners and naturopathic doctors looking for connections, resources, and ideas to bring back to their patients.

What inspires me about this group in particular is the way in which their goals for helping their patients achieve health, parallel those we have in addiction recovery. Naturopaths:

1.       work to restore whole health while removing obstacles to healing;

2.       identify and treat the cause of a problem;

3.       recognize the healing power of nature and the individual’s ability to heal him/herself;

4.       first do no harm;

5.       treat the whole person, body/mind/spirit;

6.       consider the doctor to be guide and teacher.

In all these ways, the naturopath sets him/herself apart from the biomedical doctor – as someone who is in conversation with the patient rather than someone who is doing “to” the patient.

I’m refreshed by this perspective on healing – because it is exactly what we do and believe in at Cliffside Malibu! I feel blessed to be part of this event and able to share my understanding of addiction recovery with these great practitioners.