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Homeopathy and the City: Looking for Clues

by Elizabeth Kaye(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 124 - June 2006

He sits opposite me. He's asked to be there, in my consulting room. He's paying for my time. Yet his legs are crossed, his arms are folded, his body slants away from me at a curiously uncomfortable-looking angle as if he's trying to make a break for the door with his shoulder.

"He's shielding his left side", I think, shifting my own body to mirror his position, "Might have mother issues…"

She tells me something completely horrifically spine-chillingly awful about her personal life, and bursts out laughing. I remember she's done this before, whilst recounting a previous tale of woe. Her bared teeth remind me of a chimpanzee in distress.

Instead of saying "My children are driving me nuts" he says "My children are driving you nuts." Is he referring to himself here as one of my children? Does he really want to say I'm driving him nuts? Would Sigmund find this funny?

Then there's the one who, in telling me her current problem, perfectly reflects some aspect of my own. She starts to talk and I know what she's going to say next, because I woke up today dealing with the same thing and …she says it. I'm aware of struggling not to betray myself. It's a close call. She sees a flicker of my eyelids and some part of her recognizes I am in a state of empathy, of rapport, beyond the usual. She doesn't know she knows this. I concentrate very carefully, as I suspect she has something unspoken about her person which I need to recognize in some way. As I offer her a new perspective on her situation, which may help her to deal with it more effectively, I realize that I'm telling myself what to do.

Erroll, my neighbour and a tough cookie, says to me, "Have you ever thought about the fact that if you put a space between the 'e' and the 'r' of the word 'therapist' it looks like 'the rapist?' His wife, Marjorie, a goddess who by her very physical presence puts most other women in the shade, sneers knowingly at the dark circles under my eyes. "Your adrenals are shot, darlin. Too much time spent listenin to other people's crap. It too excitin for yo' ass".

"So which is it?" I bleat, holding the cup of dark, bitter liquid Marjorie has thrust into my hand with a firm, taking-no-prisoners look on her face. 'Certainly, it can be argued that the uneven power dynamic between therapist and patient will inevitably render the patient a victim on some level. However, as any homeopath will tell you, the existence of psychic vampires masquerading as unwell humans is an undisputed reality'. "Just be quiet now and drink," Marjorie says.

I realize later, whilst lying in a very hot bath wondering if my adrenals are enjoying the rest or being pushed further into meltdown by the temperature of the water, that negative influences from either practitioner or patient can only take hold when synergy, or the making of something greater than the sum of its parts, is not on the agenda. And synergy is only possible with reference to the unconscious.

Since I discovered the unconscious I find myself to be in receipt of information which can be used for or against the patient depending on the state of my own chattering ego. I endeavour to translate a language whose meaning is unknown whilst being constantly reminded, (I'd just like to take a moment here to thank all my teachers, patients, children, parents, lovers, friends, cats and my many, many fans who've made it possible for me to be lying in this bath today) that my translation is, by its nature, a subjective one. The only way I can assure that my skill as a healer is not corrupted by this is to anticipate synergy.

I need to meet the patient as an equal in our humanity, provide a safe space between us in which hey can lay out the concerns that have driven them to come, note all the different nuances of communication happening simultaneously on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels, put them into some kind of coherent pattern or shape, scan my conclusions for contamination from my own issues, scan myself for vampire bites, offer this new configuration back to the patient in a way that invites them to engage in their own healing process and gives them something constructive to take home with them, reflect on what they in turn have given me in the way of new insight and knowledge, and last, but not least, prescribe a remedy. (Some of you wonder why it is that homeopaths always have to look things up in books. Well, guess what. We're not looking anything up at all. We're just playing for time. You think you've come for a little something for your eczema. Think again.)

Hopefully, this dynamic interchange between us acts as a conduit for mutual growth. The tricky bit is allowing the unconscious forces of expression, whilst not getting caught up in my own interpretation. No wonder we call it practising.

The bath water is now the wrong side of tepid. I dry myself off, hoping I've succeeded in forestalling burnout for another day. Burnout? Meltdown? All this heat-inspired imagery. Is my unconscious trying to tell me something? Has the bath scorched my linguistic faculties? What was in that drink Marjorie gave me, anyway? Why do I ask so many questions?

The phone rings.

It's Erroll to say my cat's been pooing on his lawn again. "How do you know it's not foxes?" I counter, paradoxically now sharp as a pin after my long soak.

"Because", he says, "I happen to know cat shit when I see it".

Hmm.

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About Elizabeth Kaye

Elizabeth Kaye qualified as a homeopath in 1998 and works in London, both in private practice and as part of a team delivering low-cost complementary therapies through a publicly funded agency. She can be contacted on elizabethkaye@hotmail.co.uk

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