A homeopathic practitioner’s point of view
Patients often say how much the homeopathic consultation, or first constitutional interview, is like therapy. I believe what they mean is that they did not expect to reveal, nor had they ever done so in a doctor’s office before, parts of themselves or their life story so completely. That their telling was more similar to what they share with their therapist or counselor than a physician.
And my psychotherapist colleagues, who I share patients with, often marvel at the depth and breadth of what the patient reveals in their first hour with the homeopath. One therapist said it took her months to get the same body of information from a mutual patient obtained after an hour and a half in the homeopath’s office; and it is true, the skills of the homeopath are particularly masterful at uncovering and discovering the patient’s inner world.
Homeopaths have learned how to create a space where the patient narrates their story and symptom picture in such a way that creates texture, dimension, and connections. In some ways it doesn’t matter what the story is, it can be in the telling that much is revealed. How the patient experiences their asthma is more important than that they have this complaint. To help the patient tell their story and to use this information well is the artistry of the homeopath.
One significant difference between the therapist and homeopath is what we do with the narrative offered by the patient. The homeopath serves as witness to and translator of the patient’s story. We find a thread in this tapestry of seemingly unrelated symptoms. We see this strand, hear this note, repeated in different ways but all conveying the same theme. Not just one theme, but two or three, that create a three-dimensional image and portrait of the patient.
We then translate the patient’s words and experience into a meaningful pattern that is evocative of a homeopathic remedy’s pattern of symptoms and expression. This matching and corresponding with a substance, a substance that is a dilute but potent medicine, is one of the primary challenges for the homeopath.
The therapist, on the other hand, works directly with the patient to move through their story and experience of the story to heal. They use the story and their relationship with the patient to this end. We also, undeniably, are in relationship with our patients and this, too, is hugely influential in our patient’s healing. I do not think a patient would heal as deeply or as quickly without the relationship. I believe we all need connection, to be understood, to be guided at times, and to feel we have a companion in the walk towards better health. It is not just a remedy that is the healing agent, but a remedy, a relationship and a dynamic confluence of concurrent life experiences. It is true that a bee sting or a sprained ankle may not require this, but a life-long affliction of depression or eczema requires more, from both the patient and the doctor.
One of the pleasures for me as a homeopath is this relationship. I enjoy caring for my patients, I enjoy the trust of their lives, story, and health. I also enjoy the analytic aspect where my skills in pattern recognition are honed. As homeopaths we are doctor, anthropologist, sociologist, psychologist, and scientist, all in one.
Thanks to NCH