Advanced Diploma in Health Science (Naturopathy and Nutrition)(Level 7)
Naturopathic College of New Zealand
An epiphany in her early twenties was Storm Sommerville’s inspiration for change. Now 12 years later she has not only transformed her own life, but she’s effecting positive change in the lives of others too.
Tell us a bit about your journey.
I was actually very wild and naughty in my early twenties. I used to wake up with a coffee and a cigarette! But I had bad anxiety and one day I realised that these habits weren’t serving me, so I went on a learning quest and entered the rabbit hole of natural health about 12 years ago, initially studying nutrition therapy in the UK. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn, and I’m still like that now. I can’t stop doing webinars and online courses. I want to know every little intricate detail of how the body works. Whether it is hormones, neurology, endocrinology, genes… I want to know it all!
How did you transform your passion into a career?
I started working in Wellington’s Commonsense Organics managing their health section over nine years ago. Over the years I have met people from all walks of life with a range of health issues. In the beginning I would go home and research conditions I didn’t know about, the treatment protocols and spent (and still spend) a lot of time researching new supplements and treatment trends.
I still work at Commonsense Organics part-time, but I also run my own clinic now. I love working with people. Every client inspires me and I often feel energised and content on a level I can’t describe after a consult. I’m a mum too so life is quite busy! I’m always juggling and trying to maintain balance so I don’t get burned out and I’m working on my boundaries with clients this year. We all need these boundaries as a standard protocol so that clients respect us as they would their GPs and nurses.
Why did you decide to study at NCNZ?
Information and knowledge grows and changes so quickly. What we were doing five years ago in treatment plans may not be relevant today. So, you need to always challenge yourself to keep learning. Through NCNZ I was able to complete my education via distance learning. It would have been too disruptive to my children to move them after spending a long time settling them in to school and kindergarten. AT NCNZ I always felt like ‘these are my people’. I loved the workshops and always felt inspired by the tutors and other students.
You graduated from NCNZ in 2019. What are some of the cool things you’ve done since?
Last year I was working on a mentorship with Gina Wilson learning about working with children who are ASD, have tics, PANDAs and neuro-inflammatory conditions. I’ve done some functional medicine training in genetics, OAT testing, DUTCH testing, CAR and Microbiome training. I’m fascinated in this area and spend time in case study groups and interpretation. There’s so much to learn! I’ve also been working on some e-courses. The first one I am launching is E-DETOX. This is a really creative process and I’m enjoying it. “Passive incomes” are where it’s all at apparently!
As well as this – and my work at the clinic and Commonsense – I’m starting the role of regional telecommunications (aka Zoom) coordinator for New Zealand with NMHNZ (Naturopaths and Medical Herbalists of NZ) which will be exciting.
How has a career in natural health enhanced your life?
It enhances my life EVERY day. I really believe in walking your talk and using food choices to help regain health. For me, natural health also includes being mindful of energy, the using, giving and receiving and trying to stay connected. It’s very easy to go down the scientific study rabbit hole….but health also includes understanding our whakapapa and wairua.
Any tips for industry newcomers?
Don’t be scared to ask for help. When I started out 10 years ago, there were no online platforms or support systems. I used to avoid complex cases because I didn’t have the confidence. I’d love to see more free mentorship support for new graduates. We absolutely need to support one another in this industry. I’m not saying I have all the answers – I don’t! But I have a couple of mentors who I can bounce things off and who support me in knowing I’m doing all I can for my clients.