Petr Zacharias is the founder and main teacher at the Prague College of Classical Homeopathy. He studied with George Vithoulkas at the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy and has conducted seminars with Dr. A. U. Ramakrishnan, Dr. S. K. Banerjea, Dr. Jorgos Kavouras and Erik van Woensel. He shares his passion and philosophy of practice in this interview.
AS: In 2008 you founded the Prague College of Classical Homeopathy, which is now very successful. What first inspired your desire to learn homeopathy? How did you start learning?
PZ: In my case, homeopathy was a great love at first sight. I suffered from atopic eczema since the age of two and my father took me to a physician who told me about homeopathy. I remember this day as if it were yesterday. When I heard the word “homeopathy” I was almost hypnotized, and later tried to learn everything about it. The homeopath cured my eczema which disappeared and never returned. Other maladies also disappeared. Since that moment I felt that this was what I wanted to do until my last days. The next day I went to a bookstore, but found only one book about homeopathy and that was written by a physician who was against homeopathy! He had devoted himself to destroying this method. But for me it was a starting point and I can say he failed in his purpose because he did not give good arguments and rather he triggered my passion for homeopathy even more. I bought all the books that were available at that time (1998) including A Brief Course In Classical Homeopathy by Elizabeth Hubbard Wright, Kent´s materia medica and his lectures on homeopathic philosophy and Organon and Science of Homeopathy byProf. George Vithoulkas.
AS: It sounds like homeopathy was your destiny. You’ve known a number of important homeopaths, includng Dr. Pavel Dufek, Jiri Cehovsky, Dr. S.K. Banerjee, Dr. Au Ramakrishnan and Prof George Vithoulkas. What was different about the IACH that helped move your knowledge to a higher level?
PZ: I organized seminars for Dr. Ramakrishnan and Dr. Banerjea in the Czech homeopathic community. My first teacher was Mgr. Jiri Cehovsky of the Czech Homeopathic Academy. At that time I felt I needed clinical training which was not part of the studies. Then I met Dr. Dufek who was an experienced homeopath and he took me into his clinical training group. That quickly came to an end as I was the only one who was coming there! I liked it very much but I was a homeopath without a real teacher until I met Prof. Vithoulkas, but that did not happen overnight. I had been studying at the Homeopathic Academy for five years, but since my first contact with homeopathy my mind has been producing questions but nobody knew the answers. To some questions I found the answers and to some I did not. Then I started to read The Science of Homeopathy (Vithoulkas) and after I read just a few pages I knew I had found what I was looking for. I thought “This person really understands homeopathy. He knows the answers to all of my questions.“
It was late one evening when I was struggling with the theory of miasms and I wrote a long paper with my current understanding, and sent it to George Vithoulkas. He didn‘t know me at that time but he answered me, saying that some of my ideas were correct and some not, but that I could be a very good homeopath. It was such an important letter for me, because he quickly explained some things that I had been trying to understand for the last eight years! Finally I joined the complete three year course at Alonissos and then PG courses with George every year until now. For me, he is the only teacher I have ever had, because he just changed my life…. not only by his teaching but also because he helped with my very serious health problems, which nobody before was able to do.
AS: It’s wonderful that found your vocation and your teacher and were also healed. Can you share some of the important concepts you learned from Prof. Vithoukas, that led to your deeper understanding?
PZ: The most important question for me, was whether the concept of the one constitutional remedy was really correct. Since the very beginning of homeopathy in my country they have always taught the concept of the one remedy. That was something my mind was unable to accept, because if you think practically, you will come very quickly to the conclusion that it cannot be true. I was struggling with this concept, trying to figure out if there are layers of remedies, or just one remedy for each patient. I spent years of my life just thinking about it and then George´s theory of the levels of health explained it very easily. Both concepts are possible. There are patients with a very strong organism who can remain within the picture of the one remedy for their whole lives, although they go through several pathologies or diseases. For their entire lives their local symptoms are changing but if you look at the bigger picture, their organism generates keynotes of one remedy. On the other hand there are people who possess weaker defence mechanisms and those people need more than one remedy (of course not in a mixture but in a correct sequence of remedies, each given at the proper time). So his theory of Levels of health and its practical value had a profound effect on my understanding of the whole concept of classical homeopathy.
AS: You also developed a passion for teaching. How did that come about? What was your goal in teaching students?
PZ: I opened my first course in 2006. It was my big wish to open clinical training (taking live cases and making regular followups) because nobody did it here, although it is so essential for every homeopathy student. At that time my first teacher, Jiri Cehovsky, offered me the chance to do a brief lecture for his students. I gave a three hour lecture and went away. After three days students from the class somehow found my email and wrote me, stating that they liked the lecture very much and wanted to see me more often. I called Jiri and told him about it, but he could not offer me regular lectures. I told the students that the academy could not offer me regular lectures but they insisted on seeing me again. Finally one girl from the group gathered six people who wanted to work with me in addition to their studies at the academy. We met one weekend each month and I taught them. So that was the begining of the study group. The course became very popular because I was the only one offering clinical training. The next year I had two study groups, each with ten students.
AS: You emphasized clinical experience from the beginning. How did you arrange the clinical experience?
PZ: Yes, the clinical training is the core of my teaching. Students are sitting in the class while I am taking a case. All students observe the patient and when I finish the interview, they ask them whatever they want to confirm their ideas. Then the patient goes away and I analyze the case with the class. I am focused not just on remedies chosen by students, but on the way they are thinking. Actually the way they think when taking a case is much more important, and you can recognize who is on what level just by observing this. The thought process is the skill needed for finding the remedy. The specific mode of thinking is the ability to connect things, to see the bigger picture from the facts, not from the imagination. You can accidentally come to the right remedy but you can never acidentally think in the correct manner. For me, the way they analyze a case is the core of everything. I am very demanding of my students and they know it. Most of our graduates have very successfull practices. They become so skilled that most of them, when they came to Greece, were able to perceive the right remedy (the same as George) even without a repertory. It sounds like a boast but I am just very proud of them as they are doing a very good homeopathy, and that is my goal. I want to engender good practitioners who are down to earth and humble at the same time.
Regarding patients, we have more patients than we can take because they receive very good treatment for free, including regular followups. On the other hand I am very strict regarding patient followups. If they dont come just because they feel better or don‘t want to pay the ticket to Prague, we do not continue to treat them. I want them to come regularly, because for students it is very important to see the effect of homeopathy and learn how to evaluate remedy reactions, how to manage follow ups, etc.