Prof. George Vithoulkas Interviewed by Dr. Manish Bhatia
George Vithoulkas is one of most well known homeopaths in the world and is considered among the finest homeopathy teachers of all times!
In 1996, he was honoured with the Right Livelihood Award (also known as Alternative Nobel Prize) “…for his outstanding contribution to the revival of homeopathic knowledge and the training of homeopaths to the highest standards.”
In 1995, he established the International Academy of Classical Homeopathy in Alonissos, Greece, where he serves as Head of Educational Department. In this Academy, George Vithoulkas gives over the knowledge gleaned from his 40 years of his experience and teaches his most current theories regarding levels of health.
MB: Prof. Vithoulkas, welcome to the Hpathy hot-seat once again. This month, we are focusing on homeopathic education and authors in our e-journal. You are called the teacher of teachers in homeopathy, so there is no one more fit to talk about homeopathy education.
You have been teaching homeopaths from every corner of this world for decades. What is your general impression about homeopathy education standards globally?
GV: Education is today the hottest issue in homeopathy. What I mean is this: either we follow the right education on the lines of Hahnemann and practice homeopathy with its amazing effectiveness – or we will perish and its place will be taken by shades of charlatanism, imaginations and craziness.
Homeopathy, in order to be effective, has to be studied properly and understood in depth.
I am aware that there are some serious centres all over the world today that are trying to define the standards that are needed for a complete education on homeopathy by producing elaborate programs of studies. What is not understood by those centres is that before one has the right to teach, one should be able to treat and cure patients in front of the students, in order to prove his knowledge and teachings. If this rule is not implied then all kind of teachers will manifest that will not teach homeopathy but their own whims and fantasies. If somebody is picking a few successful cases from his practice and presenting them to the public, it is not enough proof that he is ready to teach. His consistent effectiveness in searching for the right remedy, not using multiple remedies, and applying the law of similar is the only proof.
Today, the real knowledge is not appreciated because it implies a high degree of dedication and study in order to be mastered. On the contrary the more a “teacher” is entertaining the students with “wonderful” nonsense, the more he is seducing them to follow a deadly path of failure. I use the word ‘deadly’ on purpose, as the ignorance of the real knowledge will lead his patients to demise and his practice to a dead end.
MB: Yes, the theory should go hand-in-hand with practice. And yes, practicing homeopathy in the right way is not easy. Poor education makes it more difficult. The standards of homeopathy education vary from country to country and it will still take a lot of time before uniform standards of education are accepted globally for homeopathy. Till then, what can a homeopathy student do to ensure that he gets a good education, that can help him/her become a good homeopath? How can one ensure that a particular school or teacher is honest and right?
GV: Dear Manish, the dream of a uniform education in Homeopathy is still very far from becoming a reality. The reason is that our modern societies are driven by principles of materialism and power rather than idealism that would allow the development of spiritually inclined societies. Only such societies could accept and adapt medical care systems that would embrace and promote systems like classical homeopathy.
Yet such centres of correct knowledge exist, but the students should search for these sources of real homeopathic knowledge, which are still hidden from the public eye to a great degree, but are doing basic work in promoting and perfecting the knowledge through practical application, experimental work and research.
Such Institutions and Academies exist but the students should search carefully in order to discover them, having in mind that the great rule is whether these schools can deliver what they promise: curing the sick!
Today the false teachings is so much intermingled with the right one that the students are confused and should very carefully examine the different schools of knowledge thoroughly, before they decide to join.
If they trust the wrong schools, it is very unfortunate, as the false knowledge will always be in their way and very difficult to get rid of later.
MB: To make things easier for our students, what can the homeopathic community do to develop uniform standards of homeopathic education globally? How can this arduous task be archived?
GV: Well! This is a great question; I have thought a lot about it myself but could not get a satisfactory answer. One solution could be that in the existing structure for homeopathic teachings in Universities, Academies and Colleges, programs of recognised masters in homeopathy, which could be taught through the internet, should be adopted. Actually this form of teaching of experts through distance learning is becoming more and more popular and I agree with this. But the problem is antagonism. Each University, College or Academy have their own way and system of teaching and if the expert’s opinion and teachings differs from the one that is already taught in the College, the responsible authorities will have a problem adapting a conflicting program.
I have a solution for this problem but I am afraid will not be considered as realistic.
MB: What is this solution?
GV: A committee of 5 experienced homeopaths should be formed and visit all the homeopathic institutions that feel confident enough to invite the committee for evaluation, and in the end of a two years investigation, the committee should make a report, evaluating all these centres of homeopathic knowledge. This report should be considered as the expert opinion of the specialists. In this way, a kind of a consensus could start to be formed, accepted by the most serious centres.
It would require a lot of financial support of course as such people should be paid for two years. The LIGA Medicorum Homeopatica Internationalis could spare this money and also select the people.
I believe that NOT a lot of institutions will apply for evaluation, but this very fact will eliminate most of those centres that claim they teach homeopathy.
MB: I really like both your ideas very much! The idea of an international homeopathy organization like LIGA accrediting homeopathy colleges with the help of a panel of experts is a practical solution to the problem students’ face in identifying good homeopathy centres of education.
Using online medium to learn from the International masters also makes a lot of sense. With high speed internet and communication tools available in large parts of world, the geographical location has become insignificant. Most Universities in America and Europe now allow online study programs. Your academy has also come up with distance learning courses for homeopathy students and practitioners, through which people can learn from you from any part of the world. How did this course come about? Please tell us more about it.
GV: This course came to life with the inspiration of a unique person Maria Chorianopoulou PhD, and one of the most experienced masters on E-learning in Greece, Mr. Christos Aposkitis. I believe strongly that the world of education has entered a new era, where students can have the benefit of listening to experts directly without moving from their own home. It is one of the blessings of internet that balances the damage that internet has been doing to cultures of different countries and in the degradation of morality and ethics in general.
The experiment we started has gone much better than we ever expected and the feedback we receive from students, who are studying in their own home or in their own town in small groups, is excellent.
The contents of the teachings include all the material I was giving to a German group twice a year for four years between 1996 and 1999. Apart from this basic course, students can continue with postgraduate courses that will include lessons that I have been giving till today, primarily with live cases analysis and follow-ups. We are preparing these courses that will be very instructive on practice classical homeopathy. Lectures on the Organon will also be included.
The comments we receive from students are so enthusiastic that we are all very happy with the outcome.
I believe that these courses will bring to the students an urge and a strong aspiration to practice classical homeopathy correctly and will give them a higher vision for this really divine healing art.
MB: What are the challenges in teaching students online? How different is the process from face to face teaching?
GV: At the beginning it appeared to be different and a lot of negative comments were made by those who hate to see my teachings promoted. But as the comments of the students arrived, it was obvious that the teaching was equally effective as the live sessions. It was actually better, because the texts were edited and there was no loss of time, as it happens usually in a live session.
MB: The internet has made this world a global village and it has made it possible to improve one’s knowledge irrespective of the physical boundaries of nations. But on the ground the educational system and laws governing medical practice of each country are different. How do you manage the legal aspect of providing courses online?
GV: The internet is a tool that can be considered either creative or destructive, as anyone knows today. I think that one of its great creative potentials lies on the possibilities of an “expert knowledge” to reach people around the globe in no time.
If a program is well organized, there will be no problems at all in people getting all the knowledge they need, in order to practice correctly and effectively. Our program is the fullest and most complete program that gives an all round knowledge to the students of homeopathy. If they have the legal right to practice in their respective countries they can add this knowledge to their armamentarium in treating acute and chronic cases. The feedback we have already received is really fantastic.
MB: That makes a lot of sense. Knowledge should not be restricted by geographical boundaries but the students should follow the laws in their country and should use the knowledge to practice, only if they have such legally acceptable qualification in their country. Your courses are really excellent and it’s great that students from the world-over can gain from your expertise. I would like to provide links to your courses for the students and homeopaths:
Thank you Prof. Vithoulkas for giving us your valuable time and sharing your insights about homeopathy education with us.