People often ask “where’s the best place to study homoeopathy in ……. (fill in town of choice).” I no longer know how to answer. Or more precisely, I know how to answer, but it’s usually not the answer they are looking for.
In the past, I used to be able to give a breakdown of schools in my area which offer a qualification that will be acceptable to the local associations. I myself studied at a “recognized school”. With the world’s direction towards uninformed regulation, it is the associations, the boards, and the schools connected with them that have the best chances of survival.
Qualifications are important. Society shows them respect. They offer some form of validation for what you do. Oh, so you’re a homoeopath? What qualifications do you have? Well yes, I have a …… (fill in string of letters after the name), and I studied with…. (fill in names of many homoeopaths both living and late). So you must be good, right? (at which point, homoeopath gracefully inclines head in modest acknowledgement…)
So here is the difficult question: do you want good qualifications, or do you want to be the best homoeopath you can be? Unfortunately, these goals often don’t overlap.
The underlying principles of homoeopathy are simple and straightforward. When you identify the core principle of “like cures like” and separate it from the doctrine of signatures, for example, when you learn it correctly, it becomes clear that whatever happens to homoeopathic methodology this principle is unchanging, and the nature of the sources of information which enable us to make use of this principle also don’t change.
If someone is open and desires to learn, it would take about a day to teach this – if not less. Here, let’s do it in 5 minutes:
Me: Homoeopathy is based on the principle of like cures like
Fred: What does that mean?
Me: If a substance causes symptoms in a healthy person, it can, and by default will heal similar symptoms in the sick, if nothing is holding it back
Fred: So you give substances to healthy people to find out what symptoms they can cause?
Me: Yes, exactly. What do you think the prescription should be based on?
Fred: Well, I guess they should be based on the symptoms you got from giving substances to healthy people, at least first of all…
QED. I have had this conversation so many times with people who have no idea about homoeopathy, and follow simple logic. It is that central and basic, and unchanging. It is also based on the most boring reading material in the homoeopathic bookcase – provings. Grocery lists of symptoms, many of which you really don’t want anyone reading over your shoulder in a crowded cafe.
How do people practice homoeopathy without ever accessing this basic material? By studying regurgitated material provided by teachers and gurus. Without anchoring the material in the primary proving sources, we are now in the land of hit-and-miss, and have moved very far from ideas of certainty and unchanging principles.
So you can do a fine qualifying course without ever reading a proving. Many such courses are available. “But we give our students a solid foundation in Kent and Phatak,” declare those schools which have not chosen to follow the route to the far more exciting pastures of Sankaran’s sensations and Scholten’s magic minerals and elements. Students emerge from such training equipped to hunt the snark of the Kentian constitutional remedy through endless hours of case-taking, rather than to hone in on prescribing symptoms and exploit the default in nature, the cure by means of similars. (with apologies to Lewis Carroll).
It is possible to find qualifying courses which do not rest on Sankaran and Scholten. But to the best of my knowledge, it is almost impossible to find qualifying courses which are not based on Kent and Phatak.
How about the nature of the work, the “how-to” of homoeopathy? Those who are familiar with my writing know well what’s coming here. The primary “how-to” of homoeopathy is Hahnemann’s Organon, preferably in 6th edition. This is the work where the building bricks of homoeopathy are presented, each logically built on the previous, tracing back to the principle of like cures like.
Many qualifying courses give minimal attention to the Organon, dismissing it to dusty shelves as a philosophical work. I am told that there are courses where the Organon is not taught at all. That’s the same as trying to replicate a scientific experiment while refusing to follow the method set down by the scientist who devised it.
It is the nature of man to look for ways to improve what he is doing. When this is done to principle it is an excellent thing. But when it’s done to avoid the boring work of studying provings, to shrug off the somewhat archaic language of the Organon, to take shortcuts which distort the work or to gain personal fame by providing something new and so much more interesting – none of this leads to courses which will ensure better practice of homoeopathy.
You can learn more about actual practice of homoeopathy in one week with the IHM, such as in the intensive course currently offered by Gary in Spain which will also be available in Israel and in other countries, than you would learn in many of the qualifying courses available today.
But… the study of how to practice focused, practical, uncompromising homoeopathy in a brief period of time will not bring you the qualifications you may think you need. And the courses which grant the qualifications you may be seeking , in addition to being time consuming and probably expensive, will ingrain information which you will need to painfully unlearn in order to practice homoeopathy the way it should be practiced.
Hahnemann and Boenninghausen – or Kent and Phatak….a dilemma indeed.