Desire in Homoeopathy – a musing

shoulder injuryDesire in Homoeopathy – a musing

A recent sample case showed a patient who said he kept wanting to move – even though he knew it would hurt him. When and how should we use such symptoms?

In this case the patient had dislocated his shoulder. He stated a constant desire to move even though movement was painful for him. I looked for the rubric in the P&W and found:

Sensations and Complaints, Generalities, Movement, Desire for {789} [58]

In this case the symptom seemed particularly relevant, as the patient knew it would hurt him to move, but felt the desire to move anyway. Sounds pathological to me.

We are used to seeing desire within different contexts in homoeopathic repertories, especially within the context of food and drink, and of presence or absence of sexual desire. Just for the fun of it (yes I should get a life…) I looked for other rubrics concerning desire in the P&W. This is an exercise I recommend to anyone wanting to find their way around the Therapeutic Pocketbook. Pick subjects and do searches. Choose colours, for example – red, green, white etc. to discover the rainbow options of coryzas, expectorations, tetters and leucorrheas at your disposal… You can use the reversed materia medica to compare remedies – but doing a search through the repertory itself will lead you to rubrics that may pique your curiousity.

Anyway, back to the plot. Perhaps not the plot you expected, but a useful plot nonetheless.

Desire. I found the following rubrics which were not (directly) related to food or sex:

Fever, Heat, Desire to uncover with {2066} [37]
Sensations and Complaints, Generalities, air open, desire for, {977} [76]
Sensations and Complaints, Generalities, carried, desire to be (in children) {1112} [2]
Sensations and Complaints, Generalities, lie down, desire to {974} [76]
Sensations and Complaints, Generalities, sit, tendency (desire) to {1069} [81]
Urine, Urination, desire (urging) to urinate {473} [112]
Vision, Photomania, (desire for light) {120} [4]

So how can we use such rubrics? Or perhaps let’s start with how not to use such rubrics…

Desire to be carried – that’s like people who are needy, who always want others to carry them emotionally, financially…isn’t that a way to use the rubric?

Desire for light – aren’t those the people who are looking for enlightenment and salvation?  Isn’t it appropriate because the word “enlightenment” actually includes the word “light”?

No, no, no, no, NO. (no…)

The rubric is what it is, desire for light means desire for – light.  And most of us have had children who expressed a desire to be carried when sick.

Do not translate rubrics into deep meaningful life experiences.  To do so is not only speculative.  It draws the homoeopath into ignoring what the patient is actually saying because he or she is so busy looking for some “deeper meaning”.

So how do we use such rubrics?

As always,  Aphorism 6 serves as the best starting point. Is the desire part of the pathological state? And in order to determine that – is it something that has changed? Many people constantly desire open air, sleep with the windows open and prefer being outdoors to closed rooms. We must ask the patient – is this new for you? Has it changed? Is it more marked than usual?

The second issue to be checked in a “desire” rubric is whether it’s unusual within the context of a disease state. If a patient knows it will hurt him to move after dislocating his shoulder, but he still feels a strong desire for movement, the symptom is part of the disease state. Other examples would include a patient who knows his cough gets worse in the open air but still feels a need to go out, or one who aches after prolonged sitting but still desires to sit.

If we are trying to decide between two remedies for a patient who has a clearly non-pathological desire for movement, open air etc., and one of the remedies has that symptom but the other one does not, if both remedies are an equal fit for the patient and the disease state we may choose to use the rubric as a “deciding vote” – but this choice has to be based on a careful read of the materia medica and provings for both remedies to be sure we’re making the best possible choice.

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