Honouring our Teachers by Patrick Kooyman

Honouring our Teachers by Patrick Kooyman
June 2, 2022 Colleen Emery

Honouring our Teachers

How did you become an herbalist? Learning the art and science of herbalism can come from many sources, but the best place to learn is from an experienced practitioner. Most herbal knowledge has been passed down from teachers who are experienced practitioners, to students who are learning the practice. As such, it is important to honour and acknowledge our teachers, so that people know the quality of our training and where it came from, and the lineage of herbal wisdom that we as students are carrying on.

I would like to honour and acknowledge my most recent teacher of herbal medicine: Colleen Emery, owner and founder of Emery Herbals in Winlaw, British Columbia. When I signed up for Colleen’s Holistic Herbalism Advanced Clinical Program, I came in already having extensive training in herbalism, botany, and many years of experience working at a community herbalism level. The Holistic Herbalism Advanced Clinical Program turned out to be way more in depth and comprehensive than I expected, and I can honestly say that I have learned so much from Colleen in this program.

Some of the things I found especially valuable were Colleen’s teaching of using different perspectives to understand herbalism, shifting seamlessly between the lenses of science, western herbal traditions, traditional Chinese medicine, and Ayurveda. Integrating assessment tools, understanding of herbal energetics, and models of understanding disease and wellness from these diverse systems into a holistic model gives a very flexible tool kit for understanding people, plants and how to practice herbal medicine effectively. In the holistic model, you can read the blood work from a scientific perspective, examine the tongue from a TCM perspective, consider the person’s constitution from an Ayurvedic perspective, explore the energetics of the condition and the herbs, and all this information makes sense when it comes to putting together customized herbal formulas to support that person. Colleen also teaches a very unique and interesting method of formulating that is beyond anything I had seen before.

The practice of herbalism is about working both with plants, and with people. Working with plants has always come naturally to me, but working with people has been more of a challenge. I really appreciated Colleen’s teaching of a client centred approach to herbal practice. Colleen draws upon her decades of clinical experience when teaching a professional and respectful approach to working with clients. I learned so much about how to help clients feel comfortable to open up, how to really listen to their story so they know that they are heard, and also how to get in there and ask the right questions to get the important details you need. On the practical side, Colleen teaches how to keep excellent records, in order to be able to provide the best quality care for clients on a long term basis. I highly recommend the Holistic Herbal Advanced Clinical Program to anyone who is interested in deepening their level of herbal knowledge, or if you are interested in becoming an herbal practitioner.

Patrick Kooyman

Blue Lotus Ethnobotanicals