FULL MEMBER INTERVIEW – Maria Bliss (continued)

When did you qualify?

I qualified in 2001-2002 but I did not begin my own practice until 2005. Good things take time!

How many years have you been in practice?

Technically I have been in practice for 14 years. However, for the last seven of those years I have ventured off into Social Work, Counselling, Youth Work, Drug and Alcohol Group and Support Work positions. Naturopathic medicine has been integrated into those roles in various ways.

What led to your joining ANPA?

The fact that ANPA is a Naturopath-only association really appeals to me, as it feels like one team and very supportive. This has been my experience so far. All of the members I have dealt with so far have been super welcoming, supportive and generous with their time. Thank you.

What motivated you to become a Naturopath?

Where to start? I could start with the fact that my mother passed on to me her love and awe for nature and the natural world. But secondly, I have always been drawn to the healing arts and how we can achieve full health and happiness. I imagined that I might be a healer at a very young age, but I did not want to endure a label of flakiness that might go with it. The first time I went to a Naturopath was in my early twenties, and I received a herbal tincture that I instinctively knew was having a powerful healing effect. I began buying the Wellbeing magazine in my mid-twenties, where I came across an advertisement to study Naturopathic medicine. I enrolled right away.

Is this still the same nowadays as compared to when you first began?

I believe that natural medicine is far better appreciated and understood in the general population than when I first began studying in 1994. I think that we also have a more culturally diverse population which takes natural medicine far more seriously and so it should. In general, we seem to be coming out of the dark ages where topics like herbal medicine were thought of with suspicion and contempt.

What modalities do you use in your practice? Have they changed over time?

When I first went into practice I was very much a “general practice” using all of the therapies that I was trained in like herbal medicine, mineral therapy, nutrition and therapeutic massage. My natural interests went off into areas like Gestalt Therapy, Counselling and mind-based modalities, hence why I gradually found myself in the social sciences. My new practice involves a return to Naturopathy, integrating it with social science and will focus on working with young people. My practice has changed greatly over time. It has been a natural and slow progression.

Do you have a vision for Naturopathy in Australia?

Yes, I do. I am keeping some of my ideas under wraps for a while. Watch this space! I think Naturopathy is key to offering healthcare that orthodox medicine is increasingly too busy and too systemised to deal with.

What are your interests besides Naturopathy?

I am a great lover of art and expression of self and creativity in any form- music, poetry, art, books, gardening, cooking. I love drawing, writing, listening to old and new music, painting and absorbing myself in film and documentaries. The material world does not interest me of itself except as a reflection of inner wealth, abundance and creative ideas. I have also been an astrologer since I was 15 and have written astrology columns professionally. I believe there is much to discover about ourselves and our path to wholeness through consideration of our birth chart.

What words of wisdom would you share with a new graduate Naturopath?

I’d love to commend new graduates for making it this far. Well done. It takes a lot of hard work to gain your qualification in Naturopathy. It can be daunting taking the first steps into your own business, but just begin. A journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet. Seek out like minded practitioner; don’t be afraid to do your own unique thing and never compromise your integrity to materialistic aims. Remember the simple laws of nature that Naturopathy is built on. Our modern lifestyles cause imbalance and poor health in so many ways. A return back to source holds the keys in every way.