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Mental Health Practitioner: Tyler Woods, Ph.D

Cathy Sivak, Contributing Writer

Industry Trends, Information, and Advice

How do you feel that the naturopathic, holistic and overall medical system could be changed to better serve society?

I wish there was more malpractice insurance for us. It is difficult to find an insurance carrier specifically suited toward holistic mental health. It makes it more valued in our society.

I think holistic mental health should be explored more thoroughly in the media. Medical shows, and news shows about medicine, but it is not often we focus on the positive aspects of alternative health in prime time.

What I really wish, though, is that more medical doctors would refer their patients to holistic health providers. It is rare to hear a doctor say, “Yeah, go see Dr. Tyler Woods, she will suggest that you incorporate some Omega fatty three, GABA and follow a good diet to improve your general well-being. All I can offer you is a prescription for Zoloft.”

What are some common myths about the naturopathic/holistic healthcare profession?

Just today someone said to me, “Did you hear someone died from mixing vitamins?” I smiled and said, hmmm one person died today from taking vitamins huh, well 250,000 people die each year from adverse side effects of their medication, which means 684 people will die today from their medication. So tell me, why is it so important that we pay attention to the one person that died from a supplement?

That is the myth. We are told we are quacks; that we are undereducated, that we are witches, or as someone once called it “voodoo.”

My favorite myth is “supplements and vitamins just give you expensive urine.”

Has the popularity of the Internet affected your profession?

Oh yes, it has increased my services. Yeah for the Internet! It is a great and affordable way to advertise as well.

How is the job market now in the naturopathic field? How do you think it will develop over the next five years?

I live in Arizona. So of course I think it isn’t that great here. We are getting better. Since I specialize in mental health, and not just health, it is different for me because most people have such a taboo around mental health issues, now mix that taboo with holistic health..need I say more? That won’t stop me though, because I believe holistic mental health works and so do my clients.

What other career advice can you offer future naturopathic and holistic healthcare specialists?

Be patient, excuse the pun! It is not like you go to school and come out and find the perfect job in this field. It in fact is a competitive field. There is not an alternative clinic on each street corner like there are doctors’ offices.

The other important thing is to specialize. You can’t know everything and be good at it, so know some things and be the best at it. Again, it takes time to establish a name, allow yourself the time it takes be become good at what you do. If you are good at what you do, then you will succeed.

Is there anything else you can tell us about yourself, your career, or the profession that would be interesting or helpful to others aspiring to succeed in the field of naturopathic and holistic mental healthcare?

It’s a new field. It is cutting edge. The pharmaceutical companies will be going out of their way to make this difficult for us. What if proper diet prevents ADHD, or if acupuncture relieves stress, or if massage helps with insomnia, or if amino acids help with depression and fibromyalgia? The pharmaceutical companies do not want that to happen because they stand to lose billions and billions of dollars. There will be a fight ahead of us because the FDA wants to prohibit the sale of certain supplements. It could be that one day we will require a prescription for vitamin C.

So the best thing we can do is be sincere to our practice, and be exceptionally informed about and good at what we do, because in a way “the whole world is watching.”

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