Studying and using the Sensation Method of case-taking and analysis over the last few years has added immensely to my fascination with and enjoyment of homeopathy. I like to think I am becoming increasingly skilled in using this approach, and indeed use it with all my adult patients. I know many practitioners use Sensation to determine the remedy for children as well, though I have hesitated a little here, not always being confident in being able to draw out the information I need from the child and parents. I have had some successes though, and the case I share here illustrates one approach to helping a child reveal their remedy. It also brings out the materia medica of a less commonly prescribed remedy.
DO, an 11-year-old girl, was brought to see me in March 2013 with a presenting problem of eruptions on the scalp for the last four years. The eruptions typically started with itching followed by a graze-like appearance, which developed a thin, watery, yellowy discharge. They would then become bigger, and deeper, looking like a raw wound. The hair in the area would fall out, leaving bald patches that looked like dry white scabs. These would come off and it would start somewhere else on the scalp, always returning to the same 3 or 4 areas. Tests by the doctor had not identified any cause and the prescribed anti-fungal cream had not made a difference. The only modality was that the eruptions were better if the hair was washed quite frequently, three times a week.
The onset of symptoms was in March 2009, shortly after moving to a new house. Her parents had separated in October 2008. She told me the story of the family split herself.
Dad would shout a lot, Dad was shouting and mum was crying. A few weeks later mum went to court, and we had to stay with mum. Me and S (her brother) both get treated the same on Contacts (arranged visits with the father). We get presents. My brother used to be the one given the good stuff. When my brother wanted something, he got it. My brother always agreed with Dad when he was talking, as if he was scared. If I said something’s not good, Dad started shouting. I asked her about the shouting. – I knew something bad would happen, or somebody would get hurt. I was scared that Dad was going to leave. What was the worst thing was about the break up. I felt confused. When there was shouting, I thought something was about to happen. I saw mum crying and I felt upset. My future life wouldn’t be as good as someone else’s.
Her mother reported that D would frequently get tonsillitis and earaches about half an hour after an episode of her father’s shouting. These had stopped since the move.
At this point D had given me some good clues as to the kingdom of remedies she was likely to need. It was interesting that she went so directly to the comparison between herself and her brother in the way the Dad treated them, and the concern that her future life wouldn’t compare favourably to others’. This could be an animal remedy. It was also time to move away from the sad story of the family break-up, and the normal reactions of sadness and confusion, which I did not want to dwell on.
I asked her to tell me whatever she wanted to about school. Her first response was about people noticing the flakes on her head. Two girls had said “I bet no-one in your family likes you”. I told the teacher and he talked to them about it.
I remember when I was playing sport and I was told I was a girl so I can’t play football. I said that’s not fair and the teacher said OK if you can score a goal, you can play. So I did. I’ve been selected for the football team. In hockey, the teacher puts the best people in the teams. I told the teacher the team is not giving 100%, the others aren’t very good.
I had left the question completely open for her to tell me whatever she liked. As soon as she started talking about sport, she became very animated and engaged, and from here the whole case unfolded.
Why do we have be put with people who can’t even play? The teacher explained and he told me I was one of the good players, he understands who are the best. Not everyone is just the same as everyone else. Next time he said he’ll put the best people with the best people.
Why is it important to have the best people with the best people?
It’s easier because imagine you’re trying to teach somebody. You can’t be the best teacher if you’re not the best. I’d be happy to win and happy because others can do things properly. There are two girls who don’t even like hockey. If they’re put on my team to do skills practice and they do it wrong, it’s frustrating.
What’s position do you play in hockey?
I’m a striker. You have to trust the other team-mates. Sometimes I block. I depend on my team-mates that they can do whatever they have to. The striker is the person of the match, the most depended on, the best, the most favoured on the team. You score the goals, you’re the most important one for the team to trust to win the game. That’s why I like playing hockey. You’ve got to be everywhere. It’s hard to be all alone versus ten others that are a bit better. There’s a 10% chance you’re going to lose, you’ve done all the hard work for nothing. If your team don’t do things properly, you can’t win.
How does it feel to win?
Happy. When the other team lose, it’s like “See we can do this. Ha Ha. You think you’re the best, but you’re not.” When we lose, the other team is running around hugging, shouting “You can’t do it!” “We’re the best!”, as if they’re the best, on top of everyone. If the other team wins, it’s a ticket to laugh at you. Somebody else is to blame, the team wasn’t helping. Sometimes before a match you feel you’ve got no chance. I’m going to punch or kick them. You need to be the one. It’s a responsibility given to you. The whole world depends on you to get the team to win. All the tension is in you to make sure you’re the one that wins. You try not to let them down. You make your family happy. You push yourself to do 100%, to be the best in what you do.
What does “best” mean?
You know no-one else is better than you; you’re at the top; you’ll always win; you have the chance to say I can do this, I told you; when everyone is doubting, you know there’s a thing you can be good at. It’s a good feeling about yourself.
How does it feel if everyone is doubting?
It puts you off, you feel small, they might be right. They try to put you down even though you’re helpful to them. It’s your responsibility to have high standards. You know you might be the best. You still have to keep your hopes high, even though you might not win. Like in maths, you have targets you have to reach.
By now I felt sure of the animal kingdom: the competitiveness and the blaming others for not winning are strong indicators that she sees the problem as outside herself, as me versus you, rather than as a lack within herself. There is also the hint of the aggression within.
The importance of the team, i.e. the group, and her dependence on the team to win indicate the likelihood of a group mammal. And how does she see herself within the group? Notice just how often she uses the word “best”. She is the “best”, and wants everyone to know it, but she is also the one with the greatest responsibility to teach, to maintain high standards, to get the team to win, to not let anyone down. Her ego is strong, but there is a vulnerability. If others win, she feels laughed at, small, and put down, and she wants to react with violence (punch and kick)
These are the characteristics of the King (or Queen!) of the Jungle: the lion.
Her mother described her as very caring and courageous. She’ll defend me and her brothers if she thinks we’re in any danger. She’ll defend me like a lion. She also described D as empathetic, very quick to pick up on emotions. She told me she’d been badly treated by her father, not allowed to do anything, and she’d been quiet and withdrawn, but since the split had become very outspoken, lively and noisy.
I asked her what she liked in nature, and her unhesitating response was
I like lions. They’re loud, the manes are big, they look cuddly and soft. They hunt for prey, and roar all day and feed the family. I remember a game, I had to run and chase everyone, and I could do proper roars. They’re the king of the jungle.
Rx Lac Leoninum 1M single dose
At the one month follow-up, the mother reported that the scalp eruption had cleared up by the next day. There was no itchiness, dryness or discharge. She also commented that D was more relaxed and smiley, and had only had one angry outburst at home compared to quite frequently in the past. She was handling disappointments without getting angry. There was less ‘bossing” of her brothers. She was also enjoying hockey even more, she had led the team well and won, and was more encouraging with her team, rather than getting frustrated with them. She was also eating in a more balanced way. Whereas she had used to eat biscuits or other comfort food when cross, this was now not happening. Her mother said I really didn’t expect so much.
There was no need to repeat the remedy, and I didn’t see her again till one year after the initial appointment. She continues to do very well generally, and now plays girls’ football. The first day I became hero of the day. At home there were a few issues about being asked to do chores, when her younger brother doesn’t have to. I feel rage, it’s not fair!
Rx Lac Leoninum 1M single dose
I must acknowledge the teaching of the Joshis in helping me solve this case, especially the webinar of March 2013, which demonstrated so well how the case can come out nicely by following the topics that particularly engage the child. The materia medica of Lac Leoninum is also drawn from their lecture notes.