Dr. Philip Bailey hardly needs introduction.
He is a physician, homeopath and author of Homeopathic Psychology, Carcinosinum-A Clinical Materia Medica and Lac Remedies in Practice. His books provide many new insights into constitutional types, which along with his accessible writing style, have made them favorites in the community.
AS: Greetings Dr. Bailey, we’re delighted to have you with us today at Hpathy. You started out studying general medicine, neurology, general surgery and orthopaedics. How did you go from there to studying and working at the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital?
PB: I was always more interested in the mind than the body, and whilst a medical student, I learned that homeopathy can treat the mind and body simultaneously. That sounded more attractive than studying psychiatry, so as soon as I had finished my in house jobs, I moved to the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital.
AS: Most people living in the in the U.S. today have never experienced a homeopathic hospital. What was it like working at the Royal London? What was the ambience there?
PB: When I was at the Royal London it was already past its best. The amount of homeopathy practiced on the wards was quite limited, although the situation was better in out-patients. It was a very old hospital with an ambience of ‘fading’. But it gave me a chance to practice homeopathy on the poor, unsuspecting patients. I learned more from attending seminars, for example by George Vithoulkas, whose meticulous observation skills with regard to patients influenced my case-taking style.
AS: In addition to studying with Vithoulkas, you also studied Gestalt Therapy and Eriksonian hypnosis. How did those disciplines affect your current work and your approach to homeopathy?
PB: When I see a patient for psychotherapy, I get to know them at a deeper level than a homeopathic client. Eventually they may either see me for a homeopathic consult, or I spontaneously identify their simillimum. Because I have got to meet them at such a deep level, I learn a lot about their simillimum when I learn about them…both details of symptomatology, and the feeling of patients who need that simillimum. So when I see another patient who needs that remedy, it is easier to identify. My immersion in psychotherapy has also affected the way I take a case. It makes it easier for me to identify the client’s defense mechanisms, and to gently challenge them. This is a little like poking a hornet’s nest. It provokes a reaction that can be revealing, providing more information with which to prescribe.
AS: Meeting patients at that level enabled you to elaborate the personalities with wonderful nuance, as we see in Homeopathic Psychology. It seems there’s been an evolution in case taking, with deeper emphasis on mentals. Sankaran’s Sensation Method takes it very far and has become popular, even with novice homeopaths. Is Sensation or even deep probing a method that anyone can or should use?
PB: Sensation is an advanced method that I find very useful. It can be used by anyone who understands the method. However, it requires patience, sensitivity and practice to use this method, so it would not suit all homeopaths! Every homeopath develops their own way of probing the client’s psyche. The best methods are subtle. They require the homeopath to be sensitive to subtle cues, and then to ask that question which would peel off the next layer of the symptom. Peeling off is not the same as blasting through! For example, a client may appear rather superior. A direct assault on that symptom would be a question like, “Are you proud?”. It is liable to be denied by the client. Instead, the homeopath may say, “Tell me about your negative qualities”. Typically, proud clients will name few or none, or name physical symptoms instead of psychological weaknesses. Or the homeopath can appear to empathise with the proud client, and say, “How does it feel when people do not recognise your intelligence/strength/beauty?”
AS: Subtle methods such as you mention are particularly important with very disturbed individuals. I’ve had a handful of these clients (Nitric acid, Stramonium etc.) and it was quite a chore dealing with them. Do you have any advice for handling such cases? Is there one particularly difficult case you can relate?
PB : Handling very disturbed individuals is always a challenge. I remember one man who was clearly delusional, believing he had special powers to heal
people he touched. He was also overconfident and very analytical. I found there were two ways of dealing with him which helped. Firstly, it was necessary to humour him to some extent, to speak as if I believed his delusions. This established more trust between us. Secondly, I was able to ask him to focus quite specifically on particular sensations, which helped to cut through his tendency to over-analyse.
In cases where the patient is hysterical, similar methods can be applied. It also helps to take the patient back to a time when they were less disturbed. They usually calm down as they describe this earlier personality, which still usually fits the current simillimum.
AS: How do you decide which patients to offer remedies to? Do you ever offer remedies to patients not familiar with homeopathy? Is there still a need for allopathic drugs?
PB: I offer remedies to all patients who come for a homeopathic consult. Additionally, most of my counseling patients will benefit from constitutional treatment, so at some point I offer it. Yes, there is still a need for allopathic drugs. If I had pneumonia I would take both the antibiotic and the homeopathic. And if I had thyroid deficiency I would take the thyroxine, as well as having constitutional treatment. It is much harder to find the effective homeopathic remedy than an effective allopathic one in many serious conditions.
AS: In Homeopathic Psychology you frequently mention giving 10M’s of a remedy. Since the 6th edition of Organon many homeopaths have shied away from such high potencies. When should those potencies be used, and when should they not? What advantages do they offer?
PB: 10Ms offer the possibility of a very profound healing, particularly of emotional and mental levels of imbalance. These days I do not use them often, because I like the gentle projectory when using LM potencies. However, in some cases I want a quick deep effect, eg., in depression or anxiety. Then I usually give 1M, and after a few months, when this begins to wear off, I may give a 10M for a longer deeper action. In cases of psychosis I like to use LM6 daily, interspersed with 10M about 3 times a year. 10M will aggravate symptoms for a week or so in cases of functional symptoms, but longer where there are long standing tissue changes. It is not safe to give in inflammatory autoimmune conditions such as eczema and asthma, where LM1 is best.
AS: Thank you for clarifying that potency issue. In your book Lac Remedies in Practice you offer some new insights into the Lacs. Could you tantalize our readers with a few observations from the book?
PB: I find Lac cases interesting because they are usually people who have a degree of spiritual sensitivity. And very often they see themselves as advocates for people who are victims of injustice. However, they do not usually realise to what extent they run victim stories about their own lives. Taking the appropriate Lac remedy can help them drop these, and take responsibility for everything that they feel.
Another fascinating aspect of the Lac remedies is the way they combine human and animal features. Cat’s milk cases really are feline, and they even wear leopard skin and tigerskin patterns. And Dolphin’s milk cases are delightfully playful and sensuous, and their facial features actually resemble dolphin features. I have a dolphin’s milk case who only ate meat until she took the remedy (dolphins don’t eat vegetables). When I made a home visit I noticed that all her lampshades looked exactly like jellyfish!
AS: Yes, it’s fascinating, the similarities people have to their remedy source. In your book Carcinosinum-A Clinical Materia Medica, you provide some 25 photos of Carcinosin patients. Aside from the blue sclera and cafÃ© au lait complexion, what other features are characteristic?
PB: Carcinosinum cases often have a gaunt look, as though they were malnourished and doing it tough. There is sometimes a ‘punched out’ appearance to the eyes, as if they were 2 lumps of coal. The nose is usually long and strong and bony, and the hair tends to go grey prematurely.
AS: Should some patients undergoing homeopathic treatment, also be in counseling? When is that most appropriate?
PB : Many patients undergoing homeopathic treatment would benefit from counselling and psychotherapy. The best time to start is when the motivation arises. Until then, little can be accomplished. Sometimes constitutional treatment will bring issues to the fore, which the client finds hard to deal with. That can be a good time to suggest counseling to them. But basically, at any point in homeopathic treatment the homeopath may feel that the client needs help from a counsellor to process feelings that are arising, and to find perspective. Whenever the homeopath feels this is the case, it is a good time to recommend counseling or psychotherapy to the client.
AS: It’s been a pleasure chatting with you today Dr. Bailey. Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights with our readers.
Dr. Philip Bailey is now available for phone consults. You can contact him at: