Course 18 | Developing Therapeutic Relationships & Case Taking

Learn how to be therapeutically present with others as you seek to help them in exploring the healing possibilities that botanical medicines possess.


Length: 3 hours

Instructor: Peter Conway | Medical Herbalist, Aromatic Medicine Specialist

This course is only available with the following program:

  • Community Herbalist Program

    Full Certificate Program

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Meet your course instructor

Peter Conway | Medical Herbalist, Aromatic Medicine Specialist

Peter Conway trained as a Medical Herbalist in the UK, where he ran a clinical practice for over 20 years. In addition to seeing patients, Peter has taught herbal courses at several UK universities and other academic institutions, been involved in herbal politics as a committee member of the European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association, and written several books about herbalism. He was involved in writing the National Professional Standards in Herbal Medicine in the UK and worked with the UK Department of Health in developing professional regulatory standards for herbal practice. Peter was the President of the College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy for 12 years. In recognition of his services to the herbal profession, Peter was made a Fellow of both the College of Practitioners of phytotherapy and the National Institute of Medical Herbalists. Peter now lives on the west coast of Canada, and he is a member of the Canadian Herbalists Association of British Columbia. He is currently teaching at Pacific Rim College, working on the revised second edition of his textbook, ‘The Consultation in Phytotherapy,’ and developing an online project that aims to share his herbal insights more widely.

Course description

This course aims to explore how we connect people and plants in a manner that is not merely strategic but rather grasps the opportunity for interpersonal dynamics to manifest inherently therapeutic qualities. It considers the ways by which we can conceptualize and enact developing as skilled helpers in a diversity of roles where we may assist others in accessing the potentials of herbal healing. 

The course begins with a consideration of the notion of ‘informal caring roles’, exploring the range and value of this concept. Ideas such as that of ‘domestic medicine’ are introduced. A key continuing theme running through the course is that of developing an inner therapeutic stance that leads to the manifestation of an outer therapeutic persona. Reflection on our healing motives, wants, needs, and desires are strategized and encouraged. Key points in therapeutic work are presented to provide broad guidance and safety-netting. The nature of herbs in therapeutic practice – led by pondering their inherent qualities and characteristics – is introduced to provide a plant-focus and plant-informedness in our helping roles. General case scenarios are outlined and future development is set in motion with regard to a discussion of the pivotal role of reflective practice.

After taking this course, students will be able to open dialogues with others about the capacities of herbal medicine and help navigate toward specific herbal advice in a manner that has the potential to be innately therapeutic, in addition to and beyond the eventual effects of the plants themselves.

 Upon completion of this course, you will have the ability to:

  • Define your plant-based work in relation to the concept of formal and informal caring roles
  • Justify the roles and value informal caring activities
  • Describe your foreground and shadow motivations for engaging in healing work
  • Identify and describe a range of key factors necessary for the safe, ethical, and effective implantation of therapeutic intentions
  • Discuss what both healthcare advisers and healthcare seekers want/need from healing encounters
  • Outline how the specific qualities and characteristics of plants as medicines actively shapes the ways in which we can work with others therapeutically
  • Orient yourself toward navigating general examples of case scenarios
  • Develop your therapeutic persona and strategies via reflective practice and further study

Lesson plan

Section I | Welcome

1. Introduction

Section II | Rational for use of herbs in informal caring roles

2. Informal caring roles

3. Conditions suitable for informal care

Section III | Therapeutic development

4. Developing the therapeutic persona

5. Foundations for effective & ethical caring

6. Health seekers and advisers: what do we want?

Section IV | Where herbs come in specifically

7. How tools (herbs) shape competencies

Section V | Case scenarios & case taking

8. Case taking overview

9. Managing expectations

10.Case intake demonstration

Section VI | Conclusion

11. Taking this forward