Tag Archives: Boenninghausen

Viewed through proving: Sulphur and the art of map-reading

Sulphur is a huge remedy.  With 1969 symptoms listed in the Chronic Diseases proving, it is unwieldy to “just look at”.

You can work with provings just as you would use maps to get to know a new city.  Perhaps Sulphur is an ideal proving to show the importance of this way of working.  When visiting a place you have not been before, it’s often interesting to get to know it on foot, with no prior information, absorbing the sights and sounds and getting interestingly lost. Continue reading

The Homeopathic Diet – Coffee and Cigars..

cappucinoThe Homeopathic Diet – Coffee and Cigars…

Many practitioners struggle with the question of how much to limit patients in terms of diet. Patients ask quaveringly “does this mean I can never have coffee any more?” as they clutch cans of caffeine-laden Coca-Cola with whitening knuckles. Is Homeopathy intended to be draconian in food and lifestyle restrictions? Continue reading

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. Continue reading

How confident are you? How confident should you be?

Organon pic

On confidence:

How confident should we be as practitioners? This is a question which worried me greatly when I started out. I felt uncertain (not surprisingly as I was entering the world of sickness and health armed with a copy of Kent’s repertory – a copy of which a colleague justly through out of a window in a different continent – and some basic core delusions about Sankaran’s teaching.). I was qualified, I had the grades, supervised clinical work and diploma to prove it. And after all that training, I did not feel confident.

It will come, some said. The more patients you work with, the more confidence you’ll feel. Until a cold voice cut through the general internet babble, as a colleague (armed with a handbag full of plumbum crude – if you’re reading this, you know who you are) said sharply “if you’re not confident in what you’re doing, you shouldn’t be practicing.”

I see my own inner debate of that time reflected in many forums, where some few honest souls admit to worry and lack of confidence. With hindsight and its freedom of constraint, I see that confidence, for a homeopath, actually relates to at least two separate issues.

We must feel confident in our tools. If we do not feel confident in the principles of homoeopathy – not a blind faith but a clear understanding of the rationale of our practice, if we only know how to parrot “like cures like” without understanding what that means and more specifically, what that demands of us – we really should not be practicing. If we do not grasp that there is a quirk and a default in nature, whereby a stronger similar disease can annihilate a weaker one and will always do so unless something else is standing in the way of cure, whether it is a maintaining cause or a deeper inherited miasmatic taint – if we don’t get that then we really should not be practicing. We’re not talking about confidence in our ability. Here this is the confidence that our tools work. That “like cures like” is a prescribing principle, not a holistic “airy-fairy” slogan.

Personal confidence is another thing altogether. We have to get used to working with patients, to eliciting the information we need for prescribing, to listening to our patients without interrupting, to allow the picture of the disease to take shape before our eyes. We have to keep studying Organon, materia medica, provings, Hahnemann and Boenninghausen’s writings and works of similar value to keep our abilities honed and our homoeopathic knowledge checked and re-checked. We have to gain confidence in prescribing, in case-management, in effective follow-up.

Personal confidence is something every practitioner gains in time – in any field. But without confidence in our tools, that personal confidence is worthless. It’s worthless in the sense that if we are genuinely trying to work according to principle and don’t understand it, our confidence is a thin shell, a shiny veneer covering a world of insecurity in practice.

However, the worst expression of the worthlessness of personal confidence without true professional conviction is that those bumping up their levels of such personal confidence to overcome the lack of professional conviction are drawn to the new and the shiny, to developing their own new and shiny theories to astound the world.  As a result, they never investigate the tools properly, and learn to work faithfully and honestly to principle.

Something Hahnemann said in the Organon within a slightly different context seems an apt quote to close this post:

“A true homoeopathic physician, one who never acts without correct fundamental principles, never gambles with the life of the sick entrusted to him as in a lottery where the winner is in the ratio of 1 to 500 or 1000 (blanks here consisting of aggravation or death)…” (note to Aphorism 285).

Homoeopathy – on one leg…

Pulsatilla, anyone?

Pulsatilla, anyone

“If it’s so easy, why isn’t everyone working this way?”

I was asked this question at a seminar I gave several years ago. This is a question that frequently puzzles us at the IHM. Because it is easy.

True, a lot of hard work is needed to get expertise, and then to improve expertise. To read, re-read, and analyze materia medica. To read and discuss cases. To comb the Organon and Hahnemann’s other writings for better understanding of the underpinning of homoeopathy – essential for prescription and case-management; for case-taking clues; for accurate work with remedies. It’s not always easy to get rid of our preconceptions regarding remedies, to learn to be able to prescribe Pulsatilla on prescribing symptoms whether the patient is a sumo wrestler or a petite, sweet blonde. It’s not always easy to focus on absolute, presenting symptoms when our learned “knowledge” is giving us all kinds of useless hints regarding constitutionals, core delusions, sensations and similar.

Jewish tradition records a story of someone who came to a venerable Rabbi and asked him to explain the entire teachings of the law while standing on one leg.

Well here’s homoeopathy on one leg. Take your case. Take only what has changed and is presenting for prescribing, against the backdrop of the patient’s life and habits. Only use symptoms you could swear to in a court of law. Use symptoms which show the individual expression of illness in your patient.  Look for a remedy that can produce similar symptoms in the healthy, and thus create a similar, slightly stronger, artificial state in your patient. Find the core of that information in the proving. Prescribe.

Still standing here…

The thing is, once you drop the theories, the speculations, once you move away from trying to be clever and insightful, you start looking at what is in front of you. You work with the information the patient gives you about his state of illness (morbid state) – not with your speculations about his personality, or information about whether he’s always loved chicken, or whether he played with Barbie dolls as a child. You work with what you can know about remedies – information contained in the provings. You work with some information gleaned from poisoning and clinical work.  Some of this information was chosen by Hahnemann for inclusion in his provings.   This information should only be taken from the most reliable practitioners (in case you didn’t get it, at the IHM we focus mainly on Hahnemann and Boenninghausen’s work). You put it together and prescribe.

Aphorism 3, my friends. And as the learned Rabbi is reputed to have said, now go and learn the rest…

Mental/emotional symptoms in context

depression

Also a form of treatment for mental/emotional symptoms…

The debate regarding emotional case-taking (double entendre fully intended) rages (or meows) around mistaken understanding of the therapeutic and seems to coalesce into the belief (equally mistaken) that one must choose between two approaches: Continue reading

Viewed through proving: a sideways look at Oleander

oleanderHahnemann writes about Oleander: “It will be found to be if not a complete remedy yet an indispensable intermediate remedy in some kinds of mental derangements, e.g. absence of mind, and in certain kinds of painless paralysis, in eruptions on the head, and some external head affections.” Continue reading

Relearning Homoeopathy

books

By Gary Weaver

One of the saddest things in a 30 year career is realising that several years of my practice were conducted using incorrect information and wrong thinking.

I have had the privilege of being able to travel the world and spend time examining original documents and being able to commit to the study of Hahnemann’s writings in detail. Continue reading

Evil spirits and Aphorism 148, or…I dreamed a dream…

Featured Image -- 1722I had been planning to revisit the issue of the mistaken “spiritualistic” approach to homoeopathy with some pithy words – but found the words had already been written!  So here it is  – I dreamed a dream…

A chat with the Master:  Evil spirits and Aphorism 148 Continue reading

Taking the case – and the teacher’s dilemma

crossroadsTAKING THE CASE – AND THE TEACHER’S DILEMMA

Recently my colleague Gary Weaver posted an article by Carol Dunham on case-taking. The article was wise, learned, extensive and – let’s face it – somewhat wordy. Extremely wordy.  So on an initial reading, the brilliance of the actual comments regarding case-taking becomes dulled, presented within an analytical and theoretical context which is either familiar from the Organon, or Dunham’s own form of analysis which is not a matter of consensual self-evident fact. Continue reading