Title: Stepping Into Practice
Publish Date: Oct 07, 2021 by A Crompton, J Panakis
Hardcover, ImageWrap £30.99
This book has come into fruition through the dedicated efforts of two members of the Society of Homeopaths in the UK. Their mission is to help newly qualified homeopaths in the practicalities of establishing a practice, a topic which ex necessitate tends to assume a lower priority during undergraduate study.
I hope I do no injustice by saying that it is Angela Crompton’s 14 years of clinical experience in practice that is the book’s foundation. But clinical experience does not write the text nor bring it into fruition, and colleague Jacqueline Panakis has been the invaluable “Number Two”, to coin a naval expression.
The result is a rather handsome book (I have the hardcover version, but softcover and e-versions are available) of some 240 pages. It is nicely typeset and easy on the eye, with text interspaced with photographs and diagrams and tables. The patient’s own voice is heard in multiple case résumés, illustrating, as best possible on paper, the patient experience.
The book is subdivided into eight main chapters which cover the practicalities of general administration, the patient-homeopath relationship, and personal reflections on prescribing methodologies, in approximately equal measure.
Professionalism is perhaps the keyword pertaining to the advice given in the opening chapters. For each homeopath the task begins with the practicalities of appointment letters, T & Cs, prescriptions and dispensing. Straightforward, one may think, until one must put pen to paper and draft a standard letter, or decide on tablets over pilules, or envelopes over bottles etc. Ongoing supervision and Society membership are also key components of professional delivery of service which are strongly recommended.
Staying with the administrative advice, fees and financial matters generally, can be a challenge to the homeopath without business training, but one that must be faced. Not least, there is the small matter of keeping track of income and expenditure, which does not need to be complex but if neglected can lead to unwanted correspondence with the tax man.
Moving on to the consultation, Angela metaphorically lets you enter her consulting “cabin” to eavesdrop on her approach to a new patient. Free “Discovery Calls” are quite commonplace amongst homeopaths today, but Angela favours a paid preliminary consultation through which she shares with a new client her expectations, and approach to health care.
As we all know (but by no means all patients do) mutual participation in the healing journey is essential. As a parody of a well known phrase, Angela expects her patients to be for “life and not just Christmas”; it’s about mutual commitment.
Advice on case taking, follow-up and prescribing are offered. Constitutional prescribing, taking account of miasmatic predisposition, is the mainstay of Angela’s approach to prescribing, with remedies to support well-being in addition.
Her appreciation of the term “Constitutional Remedy” is explained in some detail, as is her appreciation of the Colour Remedies (drawing on the work of Ambika Wauters), which Angela finds truly valuable in a supportive capacity. The homeopath is unlikely to be familiar with the use of the homeopathic colour palette, but is encouraged by Angela to investigate further.
The meditative provings documented by Madeleine Evans are also favoured. Nonetheless, good classical homeopathy remains the foundation, and her go-to book is Rehman’s, Encyclopaedia of Remedy Relationships. Given the remarkable evolution in homeopathy over the last quarter century, it is perhaps appropriate to say that “other methodologies are available”, and Angela would surely agree; each homeopath finds his or her own way.
A chapter is dedicated to acute prescribing, as this can be somewhat neglected in undergraduate training. “Acutes” can be challenging, after all Hahnemann himself said (Organon 6th edition aphorism 73) that the patient either recovers or dies, as the pandemic has assuredly demonstrated.
Thus, recognising red flag symptoms and seeking allopathic intervention when needed is a weighty responsibility. Angela finds the colour remedies particularly helpful in the early stages. Nice schematics are provided (pp125ff) to demonstrate the general process.
Returning to the longer-term conditions, the homeopath is encouraged to tackle complex cases. Given that these patients almost always have nursing, GP and specialist support in place, the homeopath is less exposed than in the case of a dynamic acute condition, and can often improve patient quality of life.
The final chapters consider patient types: young and old, male and female each of whom has specific needs. Examples of support plans are also given, be it for students facing exams or going to University, maternity or those undertaking some demanding physical challenge.
Overall, I see this as a most useful tool, to be used – as the authors intended – as a reference handbook, and not read once and left on the shelf. If I had any reservation, it is the absence of advice on the digital world of websites and social media. That said, the dynamic nature of that world is so difficult to capture on paper; what is Instagram today, is instant-gone tomorrow. Less so the fundamentals.
A very much needed book – an inspiration to every homeopath starting out in practice – congratulations to the authors