Title: “Homeopathy & Psychiatry Personal Evolution Model -The Foundation Book”
Author: Dr. Mahesh Gandhi
Reviewer: Vatsala Sperling
First Edition: 2017
Black And White, Hard Back, 376 Pages
Since public awareness about the depth and scope of homeopathy is still in the juvenile stage, a question that a homeopath encounters quite frequently is, “Are there any specializations in homeopathy?” If this question was directed at Dr. Mahesh Gandhi, I imagine that his answer might be, “Though homeopaths are trained to offer a general practice, there certainly can be specialists who attain exemplary skills in a certain aspect of health problem.”
As an allopathic psychiatrist who is now a practicing homeopath, Dr. Gandhi can absolutely be described as a specialist in the mental health field. His book, “Homeopathy & Psychiatry: Personal Evolution Model, the Foundation Book” is a testimony to his specialization.
Dr. Gandhi’s Aha! moment during his allopathic days came when he realized that allopathy perceives mental illness through a bio-medical model and tries to treat a diagnosis with a drug. His fortunate encounter with Dr. Rajan Sankaran helped him cross over to homeopathy, which is all about the whole person and not just about a body part, a disease label and a drug. Quite successfully, Dr. Gandhi has blended homeopathy into his psychiatric practice and his unique contribution to the field is his “Personal Evolution Model” that allows him to understand deeply and integrate various homeopathic systems and the symptoms approach under one sturdy umbrella.
This book, Homeopathy & Psychiatry, is presented in six sections. As I read along, I was treated to a sumptuous spread of concepts about the ‘Human Being’ from the point of view of Indian philosophy, homeopathy, allopathy and psychiatry.
In the section on the Personal Evolution Model, Dr. Gandhi explains that though as human beings we all are similar, in truth we are far from being so. All of us are on our own individual path of growth, evolution and development. This observation ties in very neatly with the homeopathic concept that each person is a unique individual. As homeopaths, we relate to the Hahnemannian teaching that each case must be individualized using strange, rare and peculiar symptoms presented by an individual. Dr. Gandhi also highlights the concept of inner age as consisting of five ages: the age of innocence, disillusionment, responsibility, ripeness and wisdom. These ages begin in a state of unity with the feminine principle and end with integration into the masculine principle. The Personal Evolution Model helps locate each individual in a precise point of his inner growth and development.
Section III is about introducing the concept of mineral, plant and animal kingdoms as well as miasms, and the four temperaments: water, air, earth and fire. Cases are used for illustrating all these concepts. A quote from Eric Fromm, “Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve and from which he has no escape”, provides a very strong reason for writing up a whole chapter with cases on the topic of “Human Animal”. After all, no other animal suffers from the problem of his uniqueness as the human animal does.
Human beings swing between the polarities of success and failure, and use denial to mask their inner state. As a result, the human life is a constant striving for balance. In using Personal Evolution Model, Dr. Gandhi makes sure to study and understand the human animal as a one of a kind individual in every single area of his life.
Having educated the reader in the aforementioned areas, now Dr. Gandhi ventures into psychiatric disorders. From the time of Hahnemann, when people with mental illness were treated far worse than criminals and were shut away in asylums in inhuman and cruel conditions, to right now, there is a big difference in receiving a psychiatric case. As Dr. Gandhi points out, the therapeutic relationship begins with “listening”- one of the fundamental teachings of Hahnemann. The technique of zooming in and out of the case is used to obtain a bigger picture as well as get the tiniest details, so that the practitioner can see each tree and the whole forest! The chapter giving the basic outline of psychiatric diagnosis is quite simplified. In fact, I am quite on board with such a technique for writing this book. The interested reader can find an endless list of mainstream medical textbooks on psychiatry and learn as much as he can absorb. A curious seeker can take his individual quest for knowledge to any extent and depth.
Dr. Gandhi wraps up his book with a final section on health and higher purpose. Personally, I love and admire the chapter on inner development ages and spiritual lessons as well as the disease model versus lesson model. After all, we do happen to be on a very personal and highly individual journey of physical and spiritual growth. It is up to us to choose whether we look at ill-health as a form of suffering and punishment that we must endure, or we look at these experiences as an opportunity that life gives us, so we may learn some very important lessons for our spiritual growth. Dr. Gandhi brings the readers to this point where they can contemplate this issue. As homeopaths, we not only get to contemplate this eternal issue of illness as an opportunity for self-growth, we also get to enjoy reading Dr. Gandhi’s book, “Psychiatry & Homeopathy”. I look forward eagerly to his upcoming books on six other topics in psychiatry that he will tackle as a homeopath.
Reading this simple and deep, black and white, hard-cover book has been a delightful experience for me and I hope that, irrespective of your particular interests in the field of homeopathy, you as a reader might absolutely enjoy this book too.