Interviews

Grant Bentley – 2

A useful article about Grant Bentley – 2.Full details about Grant Bentley – 2

Q : Why is it important that other homeopaths understand this?

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GB: The main thing that I got out of the development of this, Homeopathic Facial Analysis (HFA), gave me much better results.  I understand that there are a number of different models out there that give good results, however for me I found this the most effective.

Perhaps it is not even a case of which one is better, but which one suits you most as a person.  What I found with the Homeopathic Facial Analysis (HFA) it gave me a lot more confidence in what I was doing, because it had an objective element to it.  When we were talking about constitutional treatment and that chronic disease is essentially … chronic exhaustion or chronic stress, it’s the result of that.  It is the display of this…all of the trial and tribulations that one has endured. That is what a patient is saying when they come in with their ailment.  So it is absolutely vital that I get what those trials and tribulations were.

So what I do is that I start off and go into the major complaint and I do it in a very Boenninghausen sort of way… asking what makes it better, what makes it worse?  Then, what I am after is a personal history, because that’s what got you here.  And so I want to understand … not from a perspective of what do you think at your deepest core, because … and I don’t want to knock any theories but you know, a lot of people don’t know what they think at their deepest core. I do understand about the concepts of the unconscious and how that fuels you and so on, but I also, because I have done psychotherapy for twenty years, I also understand the complexity of consciously bringing the unconscious to the surface.  And there is a real problem as a therapist, when I start interpreting consciously what I think your unconscious is consciously trying to tell you.  This is roundabout here, this is a real labyrinth here … and it’s a minefield.

One of the great assets I think that homeopaths of the past had going for them, that many contemporary homeopaths particularly the lay practitioners don’t have, is that we don’t have any tests.  Because they were going through … mainly looking for acute… one of the things that the homeopaths of old had that the lay practitioners of today don’t have is the pathology and the ability to test and the ability to diagnose.  When you understand for example, Hahnemann when he was treating war typhus, and he talks about it in his Chronic Diseases, how he gave every patient Rhus Tox and every patient Bryonia, or a combination of one of those two … there’s no differentiation here.  He understood the nature of the disease and that’s what we’re trying to get to when we do a genus epidemicus too.  We’re trying to understand the bulk of what this disease is going to do for the majority of the people, but then for some it will be more heat, whereas for others it will be more cold, and so we have our little differentiation at the end.

But when you are coming into chronic disease we don’t have anything objective… we that left us trying to interpret the nuances of the patient to the finery of the remedy.  And now I like the fact that Homeopathic Facial Analysis (HFA) gives me a definitive platform.  I like the fact that I can teach a class, put up a patient on the wall as a case study and everyone comes up with the same starting point.  I can tell you as an individual homeopath, what a relief that is for me.

I remember hearing a number of different speakers, and I remember one speaker in particular talking about how you can have a hundred homeopaths in the same room and they’ll come up with a hundred different answers… and they’ll come up with a hundred different starting points.  And nearly all the audience laughed, because I didn’t laugh at that, because to me that is a weakness, that’s not a strength.  I understand that the concept was meant to be the fluidity of homeopathy and understanding human uniqueness but a lot of the times disease is not unique.  What got you here could be unique but the disease itself is not unique.  What we need is a platform of understanding that I don’t believe conventional constitutional treatment gives us, because a lot of it resides in the ability of the practitioner to be able to find that needle in a haystack.  I was continuously told that after twenty, thirty, forty years of experience I too would be able to find that needle.  Well I found that needle, but I found that needle in an entirely different way. Now I can teach first year students how to find that needle.

You don’t have to wait forty years. I’ve got first year graduates that have got every bit the success rate that I am doing, I’ve been doing it for fifteen or more years, they’ve been doing it for one.  And you know what, that’s the way it should be.  And that means that you’ve got a really good system.  And that can only occur when you have an objectivity in place. – and that objectivity is understanding the miasms as a force. Now how do I figure out what that force is?  Well the force is always related to the face … this is what we were talking about before.  Because you are a totality … so whatever is occurring on the inside is occurring on the outside, if we can just figure out how to read it.

Now I have my basic platform.  Everyone in the audience can look at this patient and we teach how to take the photographs and all that.  Everyone can look at that patient and say  “That is a tubercular patient”.  Now what good does that do?  It does a world of good because if you’re tossing up ‘am I going to give this patient Thuja’, ‘am I going to give them Phosphorus’ or ‘am I going to give them Sulphur’, I give but Homeopathic Facial Analysis. HFA practitioners don’t toss up.  They know immediately that it’s Phosphorus and it can only be Phosphorus, because that patient’s face has told you that it can only be tubercular. The repertorisation has given you the list, but their face has told you its tubercular.  Phosphorus is a tubercular remedy and that’s what you need.

There’s confidence in knowing that you don’t have to be a combination of Hahnemann and Sigmund Freud and Jung and everything all wrapped into one, to even be mildly effective after thirty yearsbut you can be highly effective for your patients right now. The moment that you grasp this, the moment that you understand that chronic remedy fits miasm, facial features fit miasm, put the three of those together and you’ve got it.  The only thing you must know how to do on top of that, is how to take a case, cause you’ve got to know what you are looking for, and you’ve got to know how to repertorise.

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To take a case is a lot more simple than … we have intellectualized ourselves out of case taking.  Case taking was all about the generals of the case essentially.  Remember, the rules were and still should be, essentially this.  You do the main generals of the case: Sensations, modalities, times, concomitants if they’re there.  The mentals of the case are there to distinguish one from the other.  So after we’ve got our group of generals then …

the mentals may come in and you might only add one or two distinguishing features.

For a hundred years or more homeopaths practiced that method and for a very good reason, because that’s what homeopathy is.  Homeopathy is based on the generals.  And the generals only became irrelevant because in the end, “worse at night”, “worse for cold”, “worse bathing”, doesn’t narrow it down.  But with this model, with the face on the end, it narrows it down – narrows it down dramatically.  So what it means is that you can go back to traditional homeopathy.  You can go back to Boenninghausen, you can go back to Hahnemann.  You don’t have to try and be Dr. Phil at the same time.

The mentals are important … I’m not saying that they’re not important, but you’re still back into guess work.  Because if you’re looking for confirmation from the patient in front of you as to whether or not you are tapping into a rich vein of their real unconscious, you got another thing coming. Only people who have not done psyche would think that. Once you’ve done a bit, or anybody who’s practiced homeopathy … anyone who has been in practice for quite a while understands that your patient doesn’t know what is making their unconscious tick. In fact it is really difficult to define what the unconscious is.  I mean the unconscious can be Jung, where it’s tapping into a kind of ‘higher self’.  Or it can be Freud where it’s just paddling around in goo.  Alright, whichever … but they’re both called unconscious.  But which unconscious are we tapping into?  A student of mine once got a little cross … and this is why she came to us … but she was a practicing psychologist and she got annoyed at the degree of  ‘pop psychology’ that was going on.  She thought that it was negligent and to some degree there’s a truth in that.  Not totally, but there is some truth in that.

Essentially what we are, is that we are homeopaths.  I don’t claim to know more about you than you think you know about yourself.  What I will be able to do, I do through taking your life case, and looking for repeating patterns which is what the first book  Appearance and Circumstance was about. Appearance of your face and circumstance, because that is the sum total of the impact of the different stresses that got you to this point – of why you are seeing me now.  And that sum total, that’s where your mentals are.  They’re in the circumstances, that’s what you’re putting out, it’s what’s coming towards you.  The rest of it is the generals.  Now we have a face that can differentiate out of a group of well repertorised remedies.  And that narrows it down dramatically.

What does it do for your average practitioner?  It gives confidence in who you are.  It gives you confidence ‘that I can practice homeopathy’….that I don’t have to be, almost a shaman.  The rules … the people that came before us … were really effective. The people that came before us were really smart and they were dedicated, and they were homeopaths.  And they devised a system that was virtually perfect.  The only thing that was missing was the idea of miasms as a force – a force of nature rather than a disease. Once you put that in place, everything else is already set.  You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  There is a perfect structure already there … just use it.  And that confidence I think means that practitioners where they stand.  They know that nothing is beyond them.

You’re not going to get every case.  No-one gets every case.  And maybe you will have to refer one every now and again, maybe there is one that no-one gets.  That’s life.  But it is understanding that whatever homeopathy is capable of doing…you can do it!  And it isn’t a needle in a haystack.  I think that is the thing that I am trying to get across. If I would like anyone to understand anything about what Homeopathic Facial Analysis (HFA) it’s what is does for a practitioner. It’s about making you understand that you don’t have to look for that needle in a haystack.

Q : What does the new book “Soul & Survival” bring to us?  What’s new?

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GB: There is quite a bit that is new, they are all vitally important … I’ve got the three books as you know.  They are vitally important to have for different reasons and build on each other.  I don’t believe that one takes the place of any of the others.  They work in harmony with one another, so I guess that if you … well everyone here is different because they practice this method, but to anybody that was outside of this method it is important to understand that the three books are needed to fully understand the whole system.

Appearance and Circumstance I think gives you a very clinical way of being able to case take, and understand what it is that we are doing and why we are doing it.  Homeopathic Facial Analysis, the second book is trying to sharpen the skills of facial analysis and understanding what these facial features imply and why.

Soul & Survival has been a bit of a break and the main body of work I guess out of those first two books that I have mentioned, Homeopathic Facial Analysis is complementary to Appearance and Circumstance in the sense that, I made a little bit of a mistake with Appearance and Circumstance by using photographs in it, photographs of people to display facial features, and what I didn’t find until later is that really, you don’t get the fine detail that you need.

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Facial analysis is a skill like anything else and it takes time to become not only acquainted with it but to become really proficient at it.  So no-one is going to be able to do it right overnight in one shot, but with a bit of constant practice, people become very good, very quickly.

The next body of philosophical work I guess is the last book which is Soul & Survival.  Now what Soul & Survival is … it’s an extension more on the themes.  Appearance and Circumstance is very good as a book clinically, in that it discusses case taking, how to do it, how to repertorise, how to select a remedy.  But there are definite themes that run through people’s lives.  When I say “themes” I am not talking about the same themes as in Tyler or Kent’s Drug Pictures. I am talking about themes of repeating events and circumstances.

I was placed in a unique position.  When I understood about facial features, I was taking people’s photographs as well as listening to their life stories.  Now why that placed me into a unique position is this.  I could begin to see that there were trends to psoric stories, or sycotic stories.  Some people had a combination, and we know that combination miasms exist because of two equal forces.  What we did in the end is that we decided that we were going to colour code these miasms… three primary miasms, three primary colours.  So instead of psoric or outward motion we just gave each one a colour.  So psora became yellow, red became sycosis and blue became syphilis.

I was placed in a unique position because I could see that people from a particular miasmatic group, or colour group as we like to call them, were telling us very, very similar life stories.

That’s coincidental if its once, twice, three times, four times but when you are starting to get into one year, two years, three years, four years of people that are telling you life stories and stresses, all from the same colour group, that are very, very similar, then that’s more than coincidence.  And that’s when I started understanding that something bigger than serendipity is going on here … at that stage I didn’t know what.

I guess that Soul & Survival is explaining why this occurs.  Why do people who belong to this yellow group attract similar people and events into their life?  Yes you can turn around and say it is because of the energy that we project and I understand all of this and I used to say it too…well it is coming from you and it is your energy your projected out and that’s what comes to you, but why do you do that?  What benefit do you get out of projecting this onto the world?  You are definitely doing it, and that means that it is purposeful.  You are deliberately … or unconsciously understand, but you are projecting that out.

Soul & Survival explains that a miasm should be regarded more as a force or protective agent like an immune system.  But our immune system comes in a variety of ways … our immune system is kind of a micro term for a defense system, except that this time the micro term is just that … biological agents, viruses, bacterias, fungi.  But our defense is much more than that because our attackers are more than biological agents.  Our attackers come from biological agents, environment, animals and principally other people, because we live in groups.  We live in groups, we have always lived in groups, we always will live in groups, we can’t survive independently on our own.

And so working out and defending ourselves against other people, has become … is one of the major issues that our defense system tries to do.  And what we do is that we put out needs. We have needs of what it is that we think are important to secure our position within the group, both as a contributor and as an individual.  But we can’t all contribute in the same way.  Because the group is multi-factorial, it has multi-factorial needs.  The best way of being able to provide your own safety is to provide a group with something that they need that no-one else is providing … a niche.  These niches secure our material and personal futures.  They secure not only our physical well being, but also the longevity of human beings as a whole.

Q :   Something that the other two books don’t have is an understanding that the miasms are actually a force, and talking about them being a defense system built into us. I think that understanding is not in any of the other books.

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GB: No … alright.  What Soul & Survival highlights that the other two books don’t highlight, is the complexity that individuals have when it comes to surviving and living in groups.

We have to live in a group, we can’t survive as individuals, but that means we have to be necessary.  We have to be needed, desired or important, otherwise eventually what happens is the environmental stress coming in, because the environment has always been a boom or bust environment, it changes completely.

It was ok when times were good, and the land was fertile and hunting was fine, this is back in tribal times.  People had more of an ability to be able to be whoever they wanted to be, and if you didn’t like it that’s bad luck.  But when times get hard and food gets scarce or water starts drying up, you don’t have that luxury, because that group has to start culling, and that means that every one of us is in a precarious position.  And we all have to come up with strategies, that make us a little better than our competitors….and there’s no way that evolution is going to discard any sort of competitive edge.  We know it doesn’t do it physically, but human beings don’t rely on their physical prowess to see them through, they rely on their mental prowess to see them through.

And the idea that nature is going to give up your mental or emotional competitive edge, something that has worked for you is just nonsense.  It doesn’t, it hangs onto it and in fact that can be one of the major health and personal problems.  It’s a fact that our unconscious hangs onto these reactions and hangs onto these thoughts processes, and the more stressed that we become the more we hang on to them.  And we will repeat these same events and circumstances, or draw the environment or people toward us, that is going to repeat them, because that is where we survive best.

And nature almost demands that we go down that path, because inside every one of us is that difference, and that difference is how we contribute and what we can do better than anybody else.  Now when I am talking about doing something better it doesn’t necessarily have to be a skill, such as building or sport or anything.  It can be attractiveness, it can be personality, it could be a yielding personality.  A person that is really yielding is less likely to be kicked out than one that could be domineering.  And so there’s a whole range of different personalities, looks and skills, that nature hangs onto and that’s what I believe your unconscious to be.

Yes there are repressed memories and so on, but the real unconscious, the real driving force of health and illness is in the memories that you have inherited.  And those memories that you have inherited are instinctive reactions to stress. And those instinctive reactions to stress come about in stressful situations.  So when people are up against the wall, or something happens out of the blue and they are taken by surprise, what happens is that you instinctively react and later on you consciously decide to either pull back or, I’m going to change, or I’m going to do whatever, but that instinct, that non-thinking reaction, is what you have inherited.  And I have seen that run through colour groups.  They are predictable and they are understandable.  And that’s what Soul & Survival is about, that’s what I have written about.

The fifteen years of experience have come together, of hearing all these stories and piecing it together; that there is a uniformity of groups … understanding that, that uniformity gives that group the competitive edge.  And understanding it in that mode, that that’s what you are going to go back to.  That’s what your instincts are, that’s what your base needs are.  Your base needs are set about.  For example, if a person has survived well by being really friendly, by making friends wherever they go so, they don’t make any enemies. That instinct to be friendly and co-operative, even to the point of being yielding, resurfaces in that person as instinctive behaviour every time they are under insurmountable stress.  That is their instant reaction.  They may turn around later and say, ‘I wish I wouldn’t do that’.  They may get therapy to make sure that they don’t do it, but they still do it.  A person who is really volatile, because that is the way her instinct has learned to get what it wants, to secure herself, may go to anger management, do all these sorts of things, but she’s still going to have to consciously rearrange her life to try and match her instinct.

Soul & Survival is about understanding the instincts that you have inherited….why they are there…what purpose they serve and I guess what’s really important is to understand that they have a purpose. They are really beneficial, but where they’re not beneficial is where they are out of context.  When they are out of context and you are being yielding all the time or aggressive all the time, now you have a problem.  You show me somebody who is out of balance and who is in their survival instinct, and I will show you someone with chronic disease – because that chronic disease only comes about from stress.  And that means …. and stress is volatile, and that means that they are burning up energy like crazy.

And when your energy goes down to a certain level … to some degree what happens is that you are borrowing on the future.  You have a pool of energy and the more energy you burn up now, the less you have for later on.  And your strengths and weaknesses … well especially your weaknesses, they require an excess of energy to keep them going.  For example with liver function … if you have only got 60%, it requires 40% more energy to make it optimum.  But if you don’t have that because it is all going into a fight or flight or stress response, now your liver begins to play up over time.  And that’s when they start coming to see me for liver complaints.  But our story shows us that what we are really looking at when we are looking at chronic disease, is a state of chronic exhaustion or chronic stress and we have to switch that survival instinct off.  Because when you’re in instinct you are not consciously in control of your life.

This is why people in the background are always saying to themselves, I wish I wouldn’t do this.  They will get angry at themselves, they will go to therapy, they will try all sorts of things, I wish I didn’t, but they do – everytime they do.  After homeopathic treatment however, that starts to calm down … because what we are doing is that we are replacing the energy.  And when a person has more energy, then they are under less stress and so that stress response or that instinctive response starts to ease and they become more conscious in their life.

Q : Recently I heard you talking about evidence based medicine and homeopathy and I know this is a very controversial topic, and you have some interesting opinions and I was wondering if you could share those opinions.

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GB: I have no problem with evidence based medicine, in the sense that I think that if it’s valid it should be able to prove itself.  If it can’t prove itself, then it is not valid to begin with.

Homeopathy can prove itself continuously. Providing that the set-up was homeopathic, then I can prove to you beyond all measure of a doubt that Homeopathic Facial Analysis (HFA) is just brilliant for treating chronic disease. I am not saying that other contemporary forms of homeopathy aren’t, but I am just talking about us.  And I can prove that homeopathy under the right conditions, providing that you allow me to dictate … if you are just going to come to me and say well alright, I want to see whether homeopathy works and I am just giving Rhus Tox and I want you to give Rhus Tox to 200 people with arthritis, then you are wasting everybody’s time, because that is ignoring the concepts of what homeopathy is about.

If however you want to sit there and say, I will do evidence based on how people feel before they come to your clinic, how they feel twelve months after being in your clinic, both in themselves and in their aches and pains, I will be able to say to you that that is entirely measurable and I will put myself up to any rigorous testing that you want.  Providing that’s all that you do.  You leave the process of that to me.

So I have no problem with evidence medicine in that sense.  The problem that I have, which I was talking to you about, was the fact that I have a real problem with orthodox medicine saying to us, that we need to be evidence based, when what it is that they are saying, is that you need to be evidence based on our terms.  That’s a different thing entirely.

Homeopaths ever since Hahnemann, have been trying to convince the “regulars” as Kent used to call them, and they have been unsuccessful.  Many are still trying to do that and are equally unsuccessful.  That doesn’t mean to say that the results are unsuccessful, but their task has been unsuccessful.

And there is a fundamental reason why it has never occurred and why it never will occur.  And the reason is this; because the evidence base that we are talking about with orthodox medicine is a material based evidence.  Show me the substance and show me the physical reaction to that substance.  But homeopathy has a non-material essence.  There is a difference between evidence base and material base, and I think what we’re being conned into a little bit, is that your validity as homeopaths rests on your ability to be able to show some sort of material evidence. .. not only in the outcome, but in the product itself.  Now that is impossible to do because we actually don’t have a product.

What we are trying to do is convince materialists, that non-material medicine is worthwhile.  But if you are not going to take a starting point that there is a vital force, a chi, a prana, whatever, …. if you are not going to take that as a basis, then the rest of it is a waste of time.  Because even if you show that it does work, they’re going to look for some other reason as to why it worked! Because a non-material answer to a material mind is nonsense.  They are always going to look for a material answer.

This might be an urban myth, but I heard a story where Aconite was given as a random test as a part of a pre-op, and they found that people were much calmer in the group that was on the Aconite.  So what is the first thing they do? They try to look for the active ingredient in the Aconite, except that it’s Aconite 30.  Now you are never going to find the active ingredient, there never was an active ingredient (laughs), not an ingredient per se.  And so I think the idea that, if we can just convince the doctors, if we can just convince science … I don’t think you are ever going to convince them.  Because I think that what they are looking for is different.  What we are presenting to them is not what they want to hear.

Double blind trials are there to eliminate bias, but the real bias is in here (points to head).  The real bias is whether or not you are going to accept the double blind trial.  You can just sit there … you can spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a double blind trial but if the person doesn’t think that you’re credible, then they are not going to accept what the trial’s findings were anyway!  That’s the bias and you will never get over that, never.  We have tried to do this for two hundred years.  And we are no closer now … in fact we are further away now than we were two hundred years ago.  You would think we would start to get it.

Two hundred years down the track we’re the ones who should be saying, don’t worry about it … just don’t worry about it.  Just get on with what it is that we have to do.  Don’t worry about the trials … don’t try and prove non-material to materialists.  This is Venus and Mars stuff.  Except that we are talking about Mercury and Pluto, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are right.  Just because you don’t believe in a non-material world, that’s your right, this is a free country, if you want to believe that, that’s fine but that doesn’t mean that you’re right.

People have mystical experiences all the time.  You’re saying every homeopath is deluded?  Every TCM practitioner or acupuncturist is deluded?  Energy medicine comes in a variety of forms.  Energy medicine doesn’t have to be homeopathy.  Energy medicine doesn’t have to be acupuncture.  Energy medicine can be prayer, talk, belief, change of fortune, it can be anything.  Are you saying these things don’t count?  Well if you say that they don’t count, then we have nothing to talk about.

I’m not trying to prove the immaterial to materialists.  If everything has to be touched, quantified, weighed, measured, seen, and if you can’t do that it doesn’t exist, then you also deny every connection that human beings make on a mental or emotional level.  You deny every act of faith that people make, you deny every belief that people have, and are sure that they have.  Every dream is invalid, music becomes invalid; everything is invalid.  It’s nonsense.

It’s not us that needs to grow up … this is juvenile stuff and I just think that we’re better than that.  And we should be able to sit down there with the self confidence and say well, “I’m getting the results.  I know you don’t agree with the way I’m getting the results but I am getting them and I am happy with that and you know what, I don’t have to prove this to you.  If you want proof then you go search for it … you do your Hering”!  If you’re a medico and you really want to know how homeopathy works, then you go out and look for it.  You have the clean slate, you have the open mind and you say I’m prepared to accept whatever it is that they say.  But that is not what is happening.  What is happening is that they are saying, “You will fit our standards, and you come up with some explanation that I will be prepared to accept”.  Really! Well what explanation is that exactly?

Because all that I can tell you is that people have a soul, the universe has a force, but if you are going to turn around and say, no they don’t, then there is nothing I can do.  There is nothing I can say, we are at an impasse.  So you go your way, I’ll go mine.  All that I brought up the other day was … why I brought it up is that I just think that it’s nonsense.  I think that we are wasting far too much time trying to prove to people who will never believe, because the standing point, the basis, the foundation point, is entirely different.  And we’ll never prove it.  It’s like trying to prove a faith.  How do you prove a faith?  You either have it or you don’t, but the person that has it doesn’t mean that, ‘no you don’t’ … of course you do.

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And if you believe in a vital force, if you believe in a survival instinct, if you believe that nature knows what it’s doing, you read Soul & Survival and it will make sense to you.  If you think that there is no God, if you think that life is just chemicals and chemical reactions, and a whole heap of luck, then don’t buy the book.  You’re wasting your time.  But don’t expect me to answer to you.  I’ve stated where my philosophical base is, what my foundation is.  Just because yours is different, I don’t go chasing you.  So I just think that homeopaths after two hundred years need to understand that they are never going to get anywhere going down that avenue, and to stop.

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About the author

Louise Barton

Louise Barton

LOUISE BARTON
Dip Hom Prof Memb AHA AROH regd

Louise Barton has been in clinical practice since graduating in 1996. She was involved in the Australian Homoeopathic Association (Vic) from 2001, both organising seminars and as President from 2002 - 2004. She teaches at the Victorian College of Classical Homeopathy and has been involved with miasmatic research and the production of her partner Grant Bentley's book Appearance and Circumstance and Homeopathic Facial Analysis.

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