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Domenique Barbaro- The Journey to Becoming a Doctor of Naturopathy

By Mr. John Hunt

Domenique Barbaro (2016), Del graduate is on a health journey that will ultimately result in her becoming a Doctor of Naturopathy, the field of medicine most of us have heard of but perhaps of which we have little firm knowledge. After speaking to Domenique about her blossoming career, we have a strong desire to learn more and more about it. Since everyone has health problems, we tend to believe in our age of science that science is taking care of us. However, a glance at the news reveals a grim summary of “hallway medicine, strained facilities, shortage of nurses, burnt out health workers, dangerously postponed operations of every conceivable kind, the familiar difficulty of seeing a doctor of any kind, all of this and more as the bell tolls a grim total of deadly numbers, too often hidden behind the bureaucratic of political expedience.” What to do? Can we merely tolerate more of the same? Do we paint the whole medical profession with the same brush?

Domenique advises making better choices, informed choices, based on preventive measures that treat our health issues before they get out of control. Instead of merely writing a prescription for a known, family problem, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, she treats such chronic illnesses by being a detective, to use her own analogy, searching through a long list of questions to assess the entire human personality composed of body and soul, memories, hopes and dreams, psychological forces, stress, anxieties, frustrations and many such issues. These may ultimately manifest in, shall we say, high blood pressure again, which is all too readily shunted aside, with another prescription, after the five-minute consultation in the doctor’s office that we are all too familiar with. That is medicine today. A breath of fresh air may be sorely needed. As an alternative, the naturopath detective will probe and search looking into the dark corners of mental health, home of a thousand curses, probing into diet, another thousand curses, our exercise habits, which is another tangle of issues. A mandatory food sensitivity test in naturopathy, checks to see if we are inadvertently, compromising our own health. This is not uncommon as we are often surprised to hear of the damage we are unknowingly doing to ourselves. We all know someone affected by gluten once it became news.

In fact, Domenique herself was plagued by this gluten problem until she tracked it down by some astute detective work. She had a chronic fatigue problem, feeling lethargic with dull responses, caused by, she ultimately unravelled, a sensitivity to gluten. After some detective work, her own proclaimed analogy, she took the appropriate measures required by naturopathy and returned to normal health.

Illness comes in many guises, which naturopaths are specially trained to seek, search and cure. The detective work she practices dissects all aspects of our lives with the prime emphasis on educating the patient to be alert to all the uncanny possibilities in our complex nature, to be aware of all the signals, and to be a keen analyst. In our search for health, theories abound. We are only too aware that hallway medicine is a curse of our times and our ways. In naturopathy, the search for solutions is more profound, more shall we say, unconventional. Our conscious mind may amount to a surprisingly small portion of our mental capacity, the majority of our “awareness” residing in the subconscious mind always operating but hidden from our conscious knowledge.

Freudian and Jungian, conclusions support such notions, that these notions or “thoughts” enter our minds without our volition. Uninvited, these sprigs from the unconscious intrude rudely, “going their own way”, Freud claims in a telling and famous essay, as we passively but permanently accumulate the mounting tale from the unknown side of our being. As Hamlet says, “This was sometime a mystery but now the times give evidence of it.” A hoard of analysts of every description now populates this nebulous field of inquiry, which allows everyone to indulge their own idiosyncrasies, to muddle the accumulation of intangibles arriving from what Shakespeare called “an undiscovered country”, referring to that portion of the mind that we surely live with but somehow ignore. Does familiarity breed contempt?

No one has ever come close to matching Shakespeare’s insights into human existence. In-play after play, line after line of unfailing iambic pentameter he adds to the treasure of his revelations. Indeed, a Canadian Prime Minister, Sir Arthur Meighen, twice elected to that office, wrote that even if Shakespeare had written nothing else but the four lines in which Macbeth asks “Is there enough water in the seven seas / to wash the blood from these little hands” Shakespeare would deserve the reputation he has. The lines represent an unmatched economy of insight, compression and brilliance never to be equalled. We see the bravest of soldiers, in the clearest most accessible language shutter and tremble before the condemnation of a guilty conscience.

The real war has been avoided. In short, naturopathy works. A is indeed to connected to B, C and D. We must admit the efficacy to soothe troubled minds. Admittedly the tendrils may seem so tenuous as to cause some hesitation but as Pasteur noted, “Fortune favours the prepared mind” that searches more deeply. The depth of the search was confirmed by Dostoievski a giant, in literature. The search requires great care and understanding. He stated that “our conscious mind satisfies only 5 percent of our entire capacity to live.” Thus a major author of essential classics, the author of the Brothers Karamazof among other classics, possibly the most compelling novel ever written, commanding the attention of all astute readers in the Western World. This overwhelming sadness requires exceptional detective work, for one-twentieth of our capacity to live is very little. Still, waters run deep. Domenique’s detective work is exactly what is required to probe the dark corners of the soul – analysis, analysis.

After leaving Del in 2016, Domenique studied Health Science for four years at Wilfrid Laurier in Waterloo. Then she entered the Canadian College of Naturopathic medicine for four more years of study of which she is now half-finished and then she goes off to private practice. Along the way,  she will be trained in all business practices she will need to run her own business: accounting, tax laws, bookkeeping, records, and various management concerns. Finally, she would be happy to locate her office just north of Metro Toronto in an area offering a good potential for growing her business from a sensible, patient-first treatment based on total analysis and astute detective work for a happy resolution. Studying her career has been an education.  Moreover, Domenique attributes some of her successes to DEL – as she tells us:

“Del prepared me for the educational journey I have embarked on in more ways than one. Initially when I first got to university after graduating Del in 2016, I found that I felt prepared and comfortable starting my undergraduate degree in sciences almost immediately. The science courses I had taken at Del were extremely thorough and well taught, so much so that they continue to serve me in the present day as I work through my medical degree. The courses taught the fundamentals of the hard sciences in a way that allowed me to remember them and apply them, which allowed me to succeed and flourish through my Bachelor of Sciences degree. Del not only served me well over the course of my degree due to the content of the courses I took during my time there but also due to the study habits I was able to form as a Del student. Upon applying to the Doctor of Naturopathy program after graduating my undergraduate degree in 2020, I felt well equipped to enter graduate school for the same reasons why I felt well equipped to successfully obtain my undergraduate degree. The lessons and skills I gained at Del have never left me and continue to play a part in the way I organize my work, study for assessments, and collaborate with my peers. Del not only prepared me academically, it instilled the importance of community involvement and creativity, which carried on with me through my educational journey. Del was my home and continues to be a supportive family for me. They taught me the importance of making a school a home and how to give back to the community while balancing academics. This notion has continued to inspire me as I love to be involved in the school community and have a passion for make a difference in the lives of those around me. I could not be more thankful for my experience at Del and I will continue to be grateful for all that it taught me and inspired me to do.”