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Perception – A Homeopathic View

by June Sayer(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 287 - June 2023

Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of Homeopathy penned a multitude of books during his lifetime, one of which was entitled The Organon.[1]  I have found this book to be invaluable when teaching my students about the differences between how homeopaths approach healing their patients as compared to that of a conventional doctor.

Whilst there are a number of medically qualified doctors who have turned to homeopathy[2] there are also a large number of ‘lay’ homeopaths.  Those ‘lay’ homeopaths, myself included, will have undergone training in the art of homeopathy for some 3 or 4 years before they are deemed qualified to become registered homeopathic practitioners.[3]

 

Organon of Medicine + Homeopathic Clinical Repertory 650x484px.jpg]

Reprinted from:
Homeopathy – Celebrating the Life of Samuel Hahnemann in PH Online Issue 279

 

As mentioned in the opening paragraph I encourage all my students to study The Organon,[1]  and discuss with them how they view his writings and compare that with the medical practice of today.  The Organon[1]  was written in the 1800s;  one  wonders how Hahnemann’s views would have changed if he were to have written the book today.

His opening aphorism (paragraph) states:

The physician’s highest calling, his only calling, is to make sick people healthy – to heal, as it is termed.[1, §1]

Medicinal practice has advanced enormously since the 1800s and doctors follow the Hippocratic oath[4] first do no harm, their intention being to find ways in which they can promote healing their patient in the best way they know howThe difference between homeopathic medicine and that of conventional medicine is that homeopathic medicines do not cause unwanted side effects and can be taken by anyone of any age.  Inside the packet of every conventional medicine there is a leaflet outlining possible side effects that may occur.  Not everyone will react to these side effects, but it is included so that people taking the medication are aware of such possibilities.

Taking the case in homeopathy, I liken to being a detective. Personally, I use what is termed Socratic questioning in that I do not ask questions of a client that requires them to give a straightforward yes or no answer.  This means that the client has to think more carefully about their answer and then we work through these together in order for me to be able to more clearly interpret their response.  To help with my interpretation of the client’s answers I refer to my homeopathic Repertory[7] and Materia Medica[6] to find the most suitable remedy.

In aphorism 3[1, §3]Hahnemann writes:

If the physician clearly perceives what has to be cured in disease,
 i.e. in each individual case of disease (knowledge of the disease).

My personal interpretation of this is that as a homeopath we have to understand the disease process and how it affects each individual.  Part of our training is to gain knowledge of disease and how it manifests ensuring that should we come across anything during the case taking that would lead us to feel a referral should be made to a medical practitioner, then our ethics recommend that we should do so.   I have done this as a safeguarding issue on a couple of occasions during my 30+ years in practice knowing that I have fulfilled my obligation to the client ensuring that any health issue is checked thoroughly and further tests carried out should they be deemed necessary. 

If he clearly perceives what it is in medicines which heals, i.e. in
each individual medicine, knowledge of medicinal powers

My interpretation of this is that as a homeopath we have to have a full knowledge of how our homeopathic remedies work and understand their action on a particular symptom as presented by the client.  

We learn to differentiate between remedies and take into account their characteristics.  As an example, the remedy Sepia[6]would be suitable for someone who feels physically and mentally worn out, is experiencing menstrual discomfort and describing it as a ‘bearing down sensation’ with a need to cross their legs.   Another remedy for menstrual discomfort is Sabina[6]but here the menstrual flow tends to be excessive accompanied by shooting pains.

If he applies in accordance with well-defined principles what is curative in
medicine to what he has clearly recognized to be pathological in the patient so that cure follows i.e., if he knows in each particular case how to apply the remedy most
appropriate by its character, prepare it exactly as required and give it in the right
amount and repeat the dose exactly when required.

This part refers to the potency of the remedy and how often it should be repeated.  Homeopathic remedies are defined by the term potency and the repetition of the remedy so homeopaths learn how to select the remedy and repeat it when necessary.  It might be that a remedy only needs repeating two or three times before the ailment is no longer a problem.  In a more chronic, long-term condition the remedy will be repeated more often and the homeopath will regularly review how the patient has responded to the potency and repetition of the dose. 

And lastly if in each case he knows the obstacles to cure and how to
remove them so that recovery is permanent, then he knows how to treat thoroughly and efficaciously and is a true physician.

Hahnemann postulated that a homeopath should follow the principles of homeopathy in that we learn the depth of a remedy, give it in the appropriate dosage and understand if there are reasons (obstacles) why the person is not reaping the full benefits of treatment.  

As mentioned above a homeopath undergoes training that includes learning about a range of diseases and how they are treated conventionally as well as interpreting how homeopathic remedies can help.  It’s not easy for a client to describe in detail how they feel and so we have to understand the principle of perception.

The Cambridge Dictionary[5] definition of perception is:

A belief or opinion, often held by many people and based on
 how things seem,   Someone’s ability to notice and understand things that are not
obvious to other people, An awareness of things through the physical
senses, especially sight

I recall a client initially coming to me for help with hormonal/infertility issues.  At the first consultation it was my perception that the lady was holding on to some deep grief due to her inability to become pregnant.   Discussing this in greater depth with the client we both came to the conclusion that the grief was an underlying obstacle in her case.  Giving homeopathic remedies for the grief then unlocked the case so that I was able to proceed with assisting her in helping to promote her hormonal health.  Some months later I was notified that the lady in question had gone on to successfully conceive and later give birth to a healthy child.  And so, we do our best to help the client work through the things that are causing them distress. 

To a medical professional a headache is just that, a headache and this is not a derogatory slur towards the medical profession because dependent upon the severity of the headache, further tests could be initiated.  If medical tests are carried out, they could include full blood count, thyroid function, electrolyte balance, kidney functions, glucose levels etc., but if all testing gives no cause for concern, then there could be other factors at play and this is when we could perceive that the headache is the way of the body expressing its dis-ease at a situation that the person may have been subjected to in the past. 

I have given remedies for patients who have sought homeopathic help for headaches only to discover that the underlying reason for their headaches is a historical fact that they have never resolved.   In this way I have used my perception of the client’s history and explored with them their own understanding of such a situation. 

General medications either prescribed by the GP or purchased by the client from the local pharmacy will help to alleviate the pain of headaches and in so doing will mask the symptoms rather than seek to discover the underlying cause.  To a homeopath a headache is not just a headache.  The remedy selected will be dependent upon where the headache is situated, when the headache began, (after walking in a cold, dry wind or being in an air-conditioned room). For this we would be likely to prescribe the remedy Aconite.[6]   If the person were to describe the headache as being throbbing, we may look towards the remedy Belladonna,[6] or if the headache is associated with nausea and vomiting the remedy Iris Versicolor[6] could be more appropriate.  

Describing pain is not an easy thing for anyone and so it would be the client’s perception and if it were to be described as a feeling of a band around the head yet the person is not wearing anything on their head then we could perceive that the remedy Gelsemium[6] would be suitable.

Some years ago, a client asked for help with her hot flashes.  Remedies were chosen that fitted her symptoms and although things improved the result was not as lasting as we had hoped.  During a follow-up consultation she told me how worried she was about her daughter and this was distressing her.  The more she spoke about the situation I observed that she was exhibiting signs of having a hot flash leaving me to perceive that there was more to be explored. I brought this to her attention and asked her to be more aware of when the hot flashes occurred and if these coincided with them worsening when she was experiencing emotional upsets with her daughter.  On her return the following month, she advised me that this was definitely the case and because of this I was able to prescribe homeopathic remedies that helped ease her frustration. 

In a situation such as this we are aware that life changes cannot be made instantly and remedies cannot bring about such changes it is up to the person to look into their own hearts and reach for a solution.  Sometimes all that is needed is for the people involved to meet up and talk through their issues.

Perception is important as is being the unprejudiced observer when a homeopath takes a case as it helps us to identify what needs to be treated and in what order the treatment should take place.

Studying the philosophy of homeopathy is fascinating and The Organon[1] is just one book that explores that.  One other favourite book is The Principles and Art of Cure by Homeopathy,[8] that goes into detail of how to take the case, understand what is meant in homeopathy by the law of cure, the susceptibility of the patient and so much more.

Homeopathic remedies are obtainable from homeopathic pharmacies or from health shops.   I would always recommend that anyone looking to use homeopathic remedies seek guidance so that they feel confident in selecting the most appropriate remedies.  Chronic ailments should be referred to a qualified homeopath and if in any doubt do not hesitate to consult your GP. 

The remedies quoted above are listed in the homeopathic Repertory[7]and Materia Medica.[6]  New provings are continually being undertaken thereby expanding the range of homeopathic remedies a homeopath has to choose from.

References

  1. Hahnemann, Samuel, Organon of Medicine 6th Edition
  2. https://www.facultyofhomeopathy.org
  3. https://www.a-r-h.org
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocratic_Oath
  5. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/perception
  6. Murphy, Robin ND, Nature’s Materia Medica 3rd Edition
  7. Murphy, Robin ND, Homeopathic Clinical Repertory 3rd Edition
  8. Roberts, Herbert, A, MD, The Principles and Art of Cure by Homeopathy

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About June Sayer

June Sayer DHom (Med) MARH MRHom DNTh DIridol Homeopath Nutritionist Reiki Master/Teacher became fascinated by homeopathy after seeking treatment for her children and herself some 23 years ago; this dramatic change in their overall health led her to train as a homoeopathic practitioner. She qualified from the Hahnemann College in 1992 and has been in practice since that date. She is one of the founding directors of the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths and has a practice in Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex where she enjoys training individuals in the art and practice of homoeopathy. She may be contacted on Tel: 01621 730664;  june@betterhealthnow.co.uk  www.betterhealthnow.co.uk   www.homeopathinessex.co.uk   

 

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