Motherly advice and Dr. Kefferputz’s road to naturopathic medicine
Dr. Rigobert Kefferputz (BINM, class of 2012) was well on his way toward a career in conventional medicine when, as he interviewed with prospective schools, something dawned on him.
His epiphany came when he was continually asked about his approach toward treating patients.
“I became disenchanted with the medical system and the way to practice,” Dr. Kefferputz said. “The medical system didn’t fit inside that mold for me.”
Dr. Kefferputz shared his struggles with his mother, who introduced him to the world of naturopathic medicine. That introduction was all he needed to discover his true calling: to become a naturopathic physician.
Dr. Kefferputz is no stranger to the principles of naturopathic medicine. Growing up in Germany, the use of plant medicine in day-to-day life was common practice, as was knowing the importance of eating good, healthy, whole foods.
So it’s no wonder he took to naturopathic medicine so naturally.
There’s something out there for everyone
There’s so much about naturopathic medicine that speaks to Dr. Kefferputz, but one of the most compelling aspects to him is how naturopathic medicine consists of a wide variety of modalities that allow it to be extremely inclusive to a broad patient base.
“Not every medicine speaks to every person,” he said. “But there’s something out there for everyone.”
Take, for example, acupuncture. This form of treatment might not be ideal for every patient (perhaps due to a fear of needles). Naturopathic physicians can turn to a myriad of other options, such as homeopathic treatments or other therapies.
Becoming the most authentic version of yourself – The best part of becoming an ND
Helping people grow – that’s what gets Dr. Kefferputz most excited each day.
“Helping people grow physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally … I believe to me that that is my life’s calling,” he said. “It’s not about having a business with 10 clinics and leaving the name Dr. Rigo behind. It’s about becoming the most authentic true self that I can be in my life, and being able to share that with others so that they can do the same.”
Another part of his day that brings Dr. Kefferputz true joy is helping his patients understand that they don’t have to live with their chronic pain or health issues.
“Naturopathic medicine treats the root cause, and I love that we deal with that,” he said. “I love when a patient sees tremendous results, especially when they say, ‘I’ll never get better,’ or ‘This is what life has always been like for me.’ When I give them that, and I see a spark, it’s empowering. They know they can do it, so they’re driven to continue with that.”
Dr. Kefferputz’s career path
When Dr. Kefferputz first started practicing, he loved change and variety. He assumed that meant he was destined to practice in several clinics in order to feed his hunger for variety.
What he discovered following that path was that he was growing thin. He became energetically spread out, and struggling to give his full self to his patients.
He decided to settle down at Integrated Health Clinic in Fort Langley, B.C. He completely accepts that he’ll, from time to time, wonder about other opportunities.
“But I think it makes sense that you have to find the right niche and environment,” Dr. Kefferputz said. “But that can be hard to find when you first come out of naturopathic school.”
The need for your own website In addition to his work at IHC, Dr. Kefferputz has his own website, an accomplishment he’s very proud of.
“I feel like I have an identity on the Internet, he said. “People can look me up and resonate with me. You might not have needed that 10,20 or 30 years ago, but now you need to have it.”
What do you think the future of naturopathic medicine is?
Although naturopathic medicine has been around for a long time, Dr. Kefferputz feels that it’s finally getting an identity and voice in the public. With that, however, comes responsibility.
What Dr. Kefferputz would like to see is naturopathic medicine become incorporated into the Canadian public health system. He’s not sure how this could happen, but “I think naturopathic medicine has to become more available to the public.”
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Dr. Kefferputz suggests students find a mentor and nurture that relationship. He believes finding a mentor in your third year is the most ideal.
Another tip Dr. Kefferputz subscribes to is to nurture yourself so that you can nurture your patients. A part of that means being careful not to allow debt to dictate choices.
Dr. Kefferputz, for example, took a year off following naturopathic school in order to nurture himself, gain perspective, and prepare for his career. This type of break isn’t possible for some students, of course. However, what Dr. Kefferputz suggests – if possible – is to avoid choosing a job motivated by debt, rather than passion.