Updated: Oct 31, 2019
Every now and then I will see in the news about a so called "naturopath" facing trial for advice causing harm to someone. A background check on most of these cases will show that they are not qualified to practice as a naturopath or that they are not members of any of the current professional associations. I thought I'd write a post explaining the current situation here in Australia and what you can do to protect yourself.
Naturopathy is currently an unregulated profession here in Australia. What this means is that anyone can claim to be a qualified "naturopath", even though they may not have the level of education and experience required to practice as a naturopath. For health and safety reasons, it is important that in this current unregulated environment to exercise due diligence. Before you book an appointment with a practitioner, ask the following questions:
Does the practitioner have any formal qualifications in the field? The current education standard is a Bachelor level degree requiring four years full-time study, which also includes significant supervised clinical practicum. Historically, the minimum was an Advanced Diploma requiring a minimum of three years study and in some cases minimal supervised clinical practicum.
Is the practitioner a member of a professional association? To be a member of a professional association requires the practitioner to meet a minimum standard and therefore anyone who does not meet these standards cannot become a member. Current valid associations include: N.H.A.A, A.N.P.A., A.N.T.A., A.T.M.S., A.R.O.N.A.H and C.M.A.
Does the practitioner have professional indemnity insurance? In order to obtain P.I.I. a practitioner needs to meet certain requirements (i.e. to be a member of a valid association).
If you are uncertain then do not hesitate to ask the practitioner to provide evidence of their qualifications, current association membership and professional indemnity insurance cover. If needed, contact the relevant association for confirmation.