A widely-embraced holistic healthcare approach could "ultimately be embraced for economic reasons. Prevention is more cost-effective than long-term disease," says Nancy Buono, a Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner (BFRP) of flower essences with 21-plus years of experience in the field.
The flower essence modality Ms. Buono studied at Dr. Edward Bach Foundation in Mt. Vernon, England, offers clients flower remedies to assist them address quality of life issues such as "anxiety, worry, sleeplessness, work struggles, relationship issues and problems with learning or concentration," she explains.
In addition to her practice, Living Enrichment LLC, she serves as the Education Director for the BIEP in North America and provides support for BFRPs and BIEP teachers. She also proffers meditation information from her web site, Web of Good. It all goes along with her personal commitment, "to empower people to manifest their highest personal and spiritual potential. Working with the flower remedies facilitates this commitment," she says.
A member of the American Holistic Health Association (AHHA), the International Association of Integrative Medicine (IAIM) and the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), Ms. Buono notes it is important to unite with different groups to work towards a common goal, vision and purpose.
A long-term interest in healthy living led her to build on her formal educational background in education and psychology, with a bachelor's in education from State University of New York at Cortland, to complete not only the BIEP program, but also to train in energy- and vibrational-related modalities such as JinShin Jyutsu and Reiki Level. "The many studies I have undertaken over the years allow me to coach my clients about a variety of techniques that may help them to achieve their wellness goals," Ms. Buono says.
Ms. Buono & Her Career
Your formal educational background is in education and psychology. What inspired you to seek a naturopathic career as a Flower Essence Practitioner?
I am also a lifelong student of healthy living – nutrition, diet, exercise, meditation, spirituality, and various healing modalities. My personal commitment is to empower people to manifest their highest personal and spiritual potential. Working with the flower remedies facilitates this commitment. As a flower remedy practitioner, I educate clients, helping them to gain more control over their lives and to become more self-empowered by developing greater personal and spiritual wellness.
Tell us about your career as a Flower Essence Practitioner and as director of the Bach International Education Program for North America.
For me, these two roles are very interrelated, because in both roles I coach people to be their best.
As a practitioner, I work with individuals who are facing the daily difficulties of life – anxiety, worry, sleeplessness, work struggles, relationship issues and problems with learning or concentration – and assist them in selecting flower remedies to help relieve their concerns. Clients may contact me for a variety of very personal reasons, but in the end, each one is seeking a better quality of life and the remedies can help them attain that goal.
As Education Director for the BIEP in North America, I provide support for another group of individuals, the BFRPs and BIEP teachers. I train qualified BFRPs to become outstanding teachers, helping them to accomplish their goal of spreading Dr. Bach's healing system through education.
As part of your outreach efforts, you participate in TV & radio interviews, make presentations about flower essences at professional seminars and health expos, and write magazine articles. What drives your involvement in outreach efforts?
Enthusiasm for spreading wellness and for helping to bring more joy into people's lives. We would all like to see a world in harmony and each of its people in a state of wellness. Flower remedies truly help individuals and families. As each one of us is relieved from our personal suffering, we have more energy to manifest our dreams.
What are some of the messages you offer the public?
To experience true health, we need to be in harmony with ourselves in body, mind and spirit: you cannot be healthy and at peace when you are conflicted, when your mind is filled with worries, fear or tension. The Bach flower remedies can help us to achieve this harmony.
Today, doctors agree that 50-75 percent of all disease is stress related; in fact, the entire field of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is filled with studies showing the relationship between the emotions and heart disease, autoimmune disorders, cancer, allergies and the like. Dr. Bach recognized this over 70 years ago; when working with his patients, he saw that their emotions were contributing to their physical ailments and he deliberately created a natural healing system to help people restore balance and maintain their well-being. People suffer so greatly from fear, anxiety, the blues, learning disorders, etc., yet there are so many side effects from many allopathic medications on the market. It is prudent to learn to how relieve anxiety and stress with these safe remedies.
The Actual Work
What is a typical day (or week) of work like for you?.
My typical work week is quite multi-faceted, which I truly enjoy. There are dedicated times for client consultations. In addition, numerous email inquiries about consultations, courses or the remedies need replies daily. I also review the teacher reports from recent trainings sessions, and support the educational programs by writing materials and training teachers. I run the Bach Foundation distance learning program in North America, sell Bach books and products on my website, and teach all three levels of the Bach International Education Program. Periodically, I write articles for the media or do radio/TV interviews and write bulletins for our practitioners. In addition, I maintain a separate website called the Web of Good which sends out a monthly meditation.
On a basic level, what skills does your job demand?
Communication skills and empathy are a key component of my work. In addition, excellent organizational and business skills and an entrepreneurial spirit help me to get my work accomplished.
Can you describe a ‘typical' client consultation?
A consultation with a new client generally takes an hour, during which time we discuss the concerns of the client, and how the remedies could best assist them. As a practitioner, it is my role to provide a supportive environment for the client. It is essential to ascertain what a client means when they tell me they are "stressed" or "upset" – the same words connote a variety of underlying feelings for different people. By dialoguing with the client and really listening to them, I am able to pinpoint the flower remedies specifically indicated.
Can you share a client care anecdote that exemplifies your practice focus?
There is no ‘typical client' that comes to see me – my clients range in age from young children to the elderly, from those suffering from a recent death or trauma to those who are overworked and have too much to do or are too tired to do anything. Anxiety and problems sleeping are frequent complaints.
What unique challenges and rewards come from working with your clients?
I find it an honor to work with clients. People are so resilient in the most challenging of circumstances, and it is a privilege to assist each individual to regain footing in life.
What unique challenges and rewards come from working with students?
I enjoy the intellectual stimulation and challenge of working with students, sharing my 21-plus years of experience and answering their questions. Most importantly, the quality of the students and their sincerity of purpose constantly reinforce my commitment to working with the Bach remedies.
What are the tools of the trade that you use the most? Favorite gadget?
My full set of Bach remedies, of course, and plenty of mixing bottles. I do love my wooden beech box for carrying the remedies; it is so organic and simple.
Education Information & Advice
What led you to the Dr. Edward Bach Foundation in England to become a Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner?
The Bach Foundation in England is at Mount Vernon, the home of Dr Edward Bach. I wanted to ensure that I learn the system correctly from the outset and so sought out courses that were approved by the Foundation. In addition, since flower remedies are not a regulated profession in most countries, I wanted to be aligned with a professional group governed by a Code of Practice and Ethics.
Can you describe the Bach curriculum and practitioner registration process?
The Bach International Education Program is a three-tier training program which runs in 22 countries worldwide. Upon successful completion of all three levels, a student may apply for inclusion on the Foundation's global registry of practitioners. Registration is contingent upon adherence to a Code of Practice and Ethics.
In North America, Level 1 is available both by distance learning and onsite classes. Distance Learning is the Bach Foundation's introductory course, which I run in North America. Onsite classes are taught by BFRPs who have successfully completed the BIEP teacher training and are run over a series of weeks or a full weekend. Level 1 shows a person how to use the remedies for themselves, for their friends and family. Level 2, the Advanced Workshop (two days) offers a deeper look at the remedies, the subtle differences and comparisons between the remedies as well as the personal application of Dr. Bach's philosophy to the student's life circumstances. Level 3 is Practitioner Training. It is comprised of four days onsite plus a six- to 12-month home study period. The course addresses not only the use of the remedies, but consultation skills necessary for a practitioner and how to set up a practice. It is a practical course, with many interactive exercises. Case studies are required of all students during the home study period and all work is assessed by trainer BFRP assessors.
You also have completed JinShin Jyutsu and Reiki Level 1 training. How did you choose these modalities?
I have studied many modalities related to energy and vibrational healing including therapeutic touch, magnetic healing, etc. All of these modalities support the thesis that we are energetic beings, and that we can promote wellness and vitality by caring for our energetic field. As such, these modalities are in alignment with flower essence therapy.
What factors should prospective students of naturopathic fields consider when choosing a school or training program?
I would recommend taking courses from someone close to the original source of the modality in which you are seeking training – take courses from someone who is properly qualified for their particular field by the regulating body for that field of study.
What types of students seek flower essence practitioner training?
Our student body is extremely varied, ranging from complementary therapists and medical professionals to lawyers, office workers and stay-at-home moms. That is because this system is truly for everyone; we are all seeking peace of mind. The common thread that unites the students is their desire to help those around them to live happier, well-adjusted lives. Many massage therapists take the courses as well; Back offers continuing education units for massage therapists through National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB).
Industry Trends, Information & Advice
How is the job market/client demand? How do you expect demand to develop in years to come?
Since the remedies can do no harm, the demand for them is ever increasing. As we expand our practitioner base, we are finding practitioners who wish to specialize with various groups: children with learning disorders, abuse victims, corporate burnout and even animals.
What can recently trained Flower Essence Practitioners expect to earn starting out? Once they get established in the profession?
Earnings are similar to those in other complementary fields, such as massage therapy. The hourly fees vary greatly regionally, with those in the city earning substantially greater fees per hour than those in rural areas. The fees earned also depend on the effort of the practitioner and their ability to make connections within their local healing community.
How has the Internet affected naturopathic healthcare as a whole, as well as interest in flower essences?
The Internet is so exciting: it has connected us all via its ‘web,' which has greatly increased the flow of information and awareness of flower remedies. I am constantly astounded at the inquiries I receive from very far-away countries. However, the Internet is just that, an open web with no filter or discrimination that can also increase the flow of misinformation, so a person needs to verify that what they read is from a credible source.
Do you feel that is important for someone to be passionate about the holistic approach in order to be successful as a flower essence practitioner?
Yes, indeed. Practitioners guide and educate, so a successful flower essence practitioner takes a holistic approach and wants to empower clients to help themselves.
What contributions do you feel a widely-embraced holistic healthcare approach could make to society?
First, it could offer increased well-being at a lower cost for all. I would love to see holistic modalities recognized for their efficacy; however, I do believe holistic modalities will ultimately be embraced for economic reasons. Prevention is more cost-effective than long-term disease.
Second, it could create more personal responsibility for wellness that would spill over into other aspects of life, creating a more successful and accountable society.
Editor's note: If you would like to follow-up with Nancy Buono personally, click here.