EL: Roger, before we begin, here are the official Hpathy Hot Seat Rules:
Get your answers in before the buzzer or the Hpathy Fifty-Pound Weight comes crashing down from the ceiling. (It’s a standard interview rule.) And now for our first question, which I’ve given a lot of thought to:
Who are you?
RVZ: Well…. I just assumed that you would know who I was, since I was told to be here at a certain time and….
EL: [CRASH!!!] Oh great! I hate it when that happens! You really should try to get your answers in before the buzzer. Have you ever tried Nat-sulph? And now for our second question: What is the most striking, strange, rare and peculiar thing about you?
RVZ: The top of my head used to be round, but after that timely dose of Nat-sulph, I don’t seem to care anymore…
EL: Another brilliant exposition of Hering’s Law!
RVZ: ….but in answer to your question, I am a very open, social person but the work I do is that of a monk.
EL: That is strange… a lonely job involving hours of being at a desk away from the world, cut off from friends and family, devoid of social contacts…it sounds ideal!
RVZ: You make it sound more dramatic than it really is. What I wanted to show was the peculiar aspect. It is kind of strange, and looks contrary to my social character, but there is a huge amount of love in this work, which is why I do it. Strange as it might be, through the work I feel a connection with the material and that, again, is a connection to nature, which is something that I love very much.
EL: I think everyone here knows that you’re the author of The Complete Repertory. At the time you considered starting this work, was there only Kent’s Repertory and possibly Kunzli’s? And if so, what did you think was wrong with Kunzli’s that made you feel his upgrades weren’t sufficient?
RVZ: There was Kent, Kunzli, Synthetic, additions from Vithoulkas as published by Bill Gray…and the several additions found in these works were not similar, or they were, but had different degrees, which made me wonder and made me dive into the material through the Materia Medica and other repertories available at that time. I have a very large collection of repertories here (and MM of course). I started to build my own “collection”. Collecting and structuring is another thing I loved and [still] love.
EL: I’ve noticed there are LOTS of symptoms not in the repertory which, by all rights, if you read the materia medica entries, ought to be there. For instance, Agaricus has a marked night time amelioration like Medorrhinum. Here’s what Kent says:
“In the morning he is dumb sluggish stupid tired but when evening comes, he brightens up becomes warmed up, becomes excited poetical and prophetical wants to sit up late at night, is brilliant, wants to play games.”
And yet, Agaricus is not in the “night, amel.” rubric. Was this a big concern for you, all the symptoms that should be in the repertory but aren’t?
RVZ: Agaricus is found in Mind; dullness; night amel. in relation to the example given, also in Mind; activity; night. But the generalization of such information is another matter. If I could find this text you have quoted, then it could be included at least in the Mind as having an amel. at night.
EL: And I’d be famous, wouldn’t I?
RVZ: The official rule for such additions into a generalized modality (Generalities; night; amel.) is in principle based on the remedy to be added being available in at least three different anatomical sections (body parts) in relation to “night; amel.”. When we look at agar. we can find: 1. dullness; night; amel., 2. head; internal; night; amel. but no other “locations”. So, officially (Boenninghausen’s vision) the remedy is not qualified completely to be added. Nevertheless (also Boenninghausen’s vision) I have made some modifications to include it now, since he, Boenninghausen, also said that all remedies, even those not found in at least three locations, should be there. In my database I can do this with a reminder telling me how many locations were found exactly, which later can always be used to filter out certain remedies, if necessary. I have seen cases solved while using these less qualified additions.
EL: And, in terms of what you said above, if I understand you correctly, you’re saying that the additions added to Kunzli and the Synthetic were inconsistent, which bothered you. Is that right?
RVZ: Not that they were wrong as such, no, but that they were inconsistent as to their original source. Bill Gray added a lot, saying it was from George. Asking George he would say they were from sources he found on the way. One book listed other sources than the other book, citing the same remedies. So it was a good idea to find the original sources. The same was true for the grades (not always, but frequently enough) so also that needed to be corrected.
EL: And that was back then. Now, at this point in time, I would imagine that this problem is worse, because I suspect that people are claiming knowledge about remedies not based on provings but on “Dream Provings”, behavior of people in the vicinity of a proving, assumptions about combination remedies and so on. Are you concerned that this gets added to the repertory?
RVZ: Not in what I am doing, because I do not add those. Until now I have enough work adding in Hahnemannian provings and cured cases. I do not think the non-Hahnemannian material is wrong per se, but for sure it is incomplete. It does not present a full picture of the medicine, like a Hahnemannian proving can (with enough provers involved, that is). What is worse today, is people presenting additions without the source background, taking away the possibility to study the original material and learn (microwave homeopathy).
EL: Roger, if someone were to say to you that they were still using Kent’s Repertory, which many people are, what would you say to that person?
RVZ: That they are hurting their wallet and their patients, and their patients’ wallets. Things have moved on in the last 110 years, and things have moved on in the last 90 years before Kent, meaning that before and after Kent published his repertories, information has accumulated that you will not find in Kent’s repertory. It is the same with other older repertories of course.
EL: What if a person says, “I only need Kent’s repertory to take care of my family.”
RVZ: I simply take Kent’s repertory and look up the amount of times rubrics come up related to the word children, newborn/babies and old people. Here is the comparison with The Complete Repertory 2008:
Kent CR 2008
children 61 924
newborn 0 52
baby 1 105
old people 46 208
EL: Good heavens! What a distinction!!!
RVZ: There are many rubrics around these words in The Complete Repertory. Does this answer your question?
EL: Yes, it certainly does, because I have noticed that an awful lot of people will buy Kent’s Repertory because of how expensive the other repertories are, and they seem to feel it is a perfectly reasonable option; and I think you’re saying it’s really not an option and cough up the money!
RVZ: I would say if you’re coughing up something, get a remedy. (Rim shot!) Ha-ha!!! But seriously, folks….. You do not need to cough up anything to use my work. Download Ruby from my website for pc or mac and you can work with CR 2005, free!
EL: Really? We can? Wow! That is amazing! You know, just knowing that makes this whole stupid interview worthwhile! (Who just said that?)
RVZ: Have some Alumina. Now, if you wait a little while, you can download Complete Dynamics, the follow-up of Ruby, and you are up to date: it has CR 2009. You can search, browse, but you cannot analyse automatically…my gift for those who want to spare their wallets, and better than a book, free. My book would be bad for your back.
EL: Let me ask you, did you give any thought to restyling the Repertory?
RVZ: There are some softwares that offer my work alphabetically.
EL: Really? Because that would be great!
RVZ: Personally I am a bit more conservative, and have left it mostly as is for the Kentian material in there. It can be done, but I think it is nice to have things ordered by time, sides, modalities etc. It gives the user an idea of to what group, and potentially importance of, the rubric belongs that he or she is looking for.
EL: (So many prepositions….) That might be true, but I think it’s good to have a choice, especially when you’re trying to get a doctor interested in homeopathy. It’s nice not to have to say, “This is our most important book, the Repertory. Unfortunately, you will have nooo idea how to use it, so, before you can use the Repertory, you will have to read, How to Use the Repertory. Hello! Is anybody there?”
Roger, how many years did it take to get the first edition of The Complete Repertory out, and did you make any amazing discoveries or have any epiphanies along the way that you’d like to share with us?
RVZ: I worked about 6-7 years before the first digital version came out, and about 12-13 years before the first book version came out in 1995. Amazing discoveries not, but what I like to see is how the repertories were built up, i.e. what kind of material they, the authors (Kent, Boenninghausen, Jahr, Phatak) used to build theirs. For the pioneers, Jahr and Boenninghausen, it is quite clear and they mention it also in several articles, but for example for Kent it is not anywhere mentioned exactly what material was used. Even now I still have material that only carries his label, i.e. are his additions without further discovery, which might well mean that is was his own experience he put in.
EL: What do you do all day? Do you see patients? I imagine your repertory work makes solving cases easier for you.
RVZ: I am doing this work full time since 1990, after practicing for about 8 years. I did not like practicing too much, since my appetite for the other work was pulling me. Therefore I decided to start doing this work full time. And, actually, not doing it full time would have meant not doing it enough. It is a job that will never finish. I can only hope to make a helpful addition to homeopathy this way. I easily know where things are in the repertory. After doing it for such a long time, it becomes a kind of second nature. Every once in a while I help some friends, family and hope that my knowledge of the repertory makes it easier to help. Many times it does, sometimes it does not. The first part is good for my ego, the other part helps me to improve things as much as I can by adding, changing, editing etc.
EL: Speaking of which, have you added Chocolate to “Abandons, forsakes, their own children”?
RVZ: I have children; aversion to; her own: choc. additions Tinus Smits Escape; desire to; family and children, from her: choc additions Jeremy Sherr Indifference, apathy; children, to her: choc. Jeremy Sherr Irritability; children, towards: choc. additions Jeremy Sherr .
EL: Show-off! So Roger, how did you discover Homeopathy?
RVZ: I started studying natural health medicine in 1979/1980, and included was herbal medicine and classical homeopathy. I thought classical homeopathy too complicated and put my emphasis on herbal medicine. About three years later I was studying Boericke’s MM, which includes a lot of originally herbal medicines. That, together with what I learned about homeopathy already, made me decide to continue more with homeopathy. After the three years full time study, I followed lots of seminars (Georgios Vithoulkas’ the most) and started practicing. My love has not faltered, but changed directions a bit.
EL: What about personal experiences with it in the beginning?
RVZ: During my study time, during the time I practiced and also later, I treated patients and I have seen some “miracles”. They are the nicest motivation you can imagine, next to the people who write to you that you did a good job….
EL: Any tips and secrets on using the repertory?
RVZ: One can learn a lot from this: First of all Hahnemann would take from a symptom the part corresponding with the symptom of the patient, not per se the whole symptom from the proving but just a part of it.
EL: What the heck? Could you run that by me again?
“Hahnemann would take from a symptom the part corresponding with the symptom of the patient…not the whole symptom from the proving but just a part of it.” Let me think about that for a minute. Oh who am I kidding!? Can you give me an example?
RVZ: It’s best to see my powerpoint presentation in this issue.
EL: Dr. B, roll out the powerpoint please! (Notice to Hpathy readers, you will not be allowed to read past this point until you’ve read the Powerpoint! Don’t make me come back there!) OK, Roger, go ahead.
Dr. B: Elaine, here is the powerpoint! Hahnepann-Pulsatilla-Case.ppt
RVZ: Hahnemann would do a differential diagnosis with other remedies that would have corresponding MM information, thereby eliminating remedies not relevant.
I have taken the symptoms/rubrics used and shown how one can use different rubrics to come to the same result, shifting the rubric choice and analysis from more Kentian to more Boenninghausen. What I see people, teachers and students alike doing, is mostly working in what we can call a “Kentian” approach to the symptomatology of the patient. This is always their beginning point which is not flexible. People should realize that it is the patient, more specifically his/her pathology, that should indicate which rubrics should be taken to cover this pathology.
EL: By Kentian approach, are you saying that people are looking for the “essence” and not at the disease a person has?
RVZ: No problem looking for an essence, but if you have a case where the individual symptoms stare you in the eye and you do not use them properly, that is not homeopathy. You need to use the information given to you by the patient, in its purest form, i.e. without interpretation. Of course it needs to be individual symptomatology, but when you have that, you cannot ignore it. Many times a more Boeenninghausen way of repertorizing gives some quite different remedies to choose from, with success.
EL: Could you briefly describe the Boenninghausen way and how it differs with the Kentian way and when it’s useful to use one over the other?
RVZ: That is not a brief subject, but there is plenty downloadable information on my website and on the sites of others. You can also get a good idea from the aforementioned powerpoint presentation.
EL: Again with the Powerpoint Presentation???!!! Dr. B, roll out the Powerpoint Presentation!
Dr. B: Elaine, here is the powerpoint again ! Hahnepann-Pulsatilla-Case.ppt
RVZ: This is the most important lesson to be learned, for the benefit of the patient.
EL: OK, OK!!! Now, I take it that the issue in the Powerpoint is that we have a patient who is mild-mannered and presented to Dr. Hahnemann with a complaint of nausea in the evening, accompanied by much burping and dizziness. He later had, at 2 a.m., sour vomiting. The point being that Hahnemann was able to pick Pulsatilla despite the fact that the kind of dizziness the patient had did not match the dizziness of the Pulsatilla proving. Hahnemann didn’t reject Pulsatilla because of a lack of a complete match, is that what you’re saying? So, how does this relate to our daily case solving? I already was aware that we don’t have to reject Pulsatilla, for example, because the patient lacks the famous “crying” symptom; but, if the proving has Pulsatilla vertigo as that of “turning around in a circle”, and the patient’s vertigo is not like that, isn’t that sufficient reason to make us think twice about Pulsatilla?
RVZ: The point is, people should know that you take from the provings the parts you need, even if they are connected to modalities, sensations, phenomena that are not relevant for the case.
EL: Interesting, very interesting…..
RVZ: Many people think that everything always needs to fit exactly, which is not true, I let the master explain. That is what people should realize in daily case solving. Also I want to show with the example that there are many different ways of picking rubrics from the repertory for this case. In general I want to pass on that one needs to be flexible, in thinking and with the tools used.
EL: I came up with the following repertorization:
RVZ: Your repertorization is not okay.
RVZ: You see when you look at rubric 4…
That was Stomach: nausea, vertigo, during
…it is easy to think that only puls. has this. But it is a double rubric (one that occurs in a different location of the repertory) When you look at the rubric with the same meaning: Vertigo; nausea; with, you see there are 200 remedies, amongst which is also puls.
EL: Well, I’m a little confused. Are you saying “Stomach: nausea, vertigo, during” is the same rubric as “Vertigo: nausea, during” and they were just dropped in different chapters? Actually, in Murphy’s, they’re two different rubrics, not the same rubric found in two separate chapters (“Stomach, nausea, vertigo during” being a much smaller rubric with 7 remedies in it, while “Vertigo, nausea during” must have about 200 remedies in it); but, why can’t “Stomach: nausea, vertigo during” be used, as it seems to be a peculiar symptom and, therefore, valuable?
RVZ: What I want to transfer on to students of homeopathy is that they should interpret the MM differently than most do, more general, like Samuel Hahnemann did himself in this case.
EL: OK, Roger, but, I do believe that being presented with such a case as this, your average homeopath would have repertorized much as I did and would have come up with Pulsatilla anyway; so, in real life, if you could give an example of how a failure to “generalize” might lead to a failure to find the right remedy, that would be good, because my understanding is, if we’re talking about vertigo, as we are in this case, there are so many vertigo remedies that we really do have to ask the patient, “What is the vertigo like for you? Under what circumstances do you have it?”
For instance, if a person were to say, “I have vertigo on turning in bed,” one might immediately think of Conium, but you’re saying, not necessarily, it could be any vertigo remedy. Do I have that right?
RVZ: I have 23 remedies that have vertigo turning in bed. But to make it more clear, I’ll look for another case. In the case of Pulsatilla the crucial info is not about generalized repertorization, but about the fact that you see Hahnemann using the info from the provings in a generalized way, picking out the parts he needs, without much consideration for the connected info, if not also found in the patient. This while many homeopaths would think, not you possibly, that all the info must be found combined in the patient in the same way it was found in the proving. This is what I try to convey: no it does not neccessarily need to be so.
EL: I do know there is a problem some homeopaths have in terms of rejecting a remedy because its well-known feature isn’t there. There’s a lot of confusion in this area, let’s face it. The same person who says that you can’t reject a remedy because of that will turn around and say, “You can’t give Nux vomica, because if it were Nux v., you’d expect to see the well-known irritability on the mental plane.” How to reconcile the two? But you seem to be going a step further, even, than that. I take it that in the Pulsatilla case, the patient’s vertigo was not “as if twirling around in a circle”, which is the Pulsatilla vertigo. Yet Hahnemann said, “It doesn’t matter, close enough!” Am I right?
RVZ: Elaine, another ppt case attached.
EL: Well, I guess you can’t have too many of those. Dr. B, roll out the second Powerpoint!
Dr. B: Elaine, here is the powerpoint! Kent-Abcess-Case.ppt
RVZ: First of all: you take the info from the patient the way it is: no frills attached. What is not there (even if you’d like to have it, because it would hint at a certain remedy) is not there, and should not even be taken into consideration. If, in the end, after analysis, there are hints of info, subtle marks that would more strongly point to one of the remedies in the analysis, then you have a go. If there would be info in the patient strongly against a certain remedy, no go.
The patient here did not mention twirling vertigo, would that mean it cannot be Pulsatilla? All other important factors point to it, Pulsatilla is a strong vertigo remedy in general, try Pulsatilla first.
As for the interpretation of remedies, using emotional info is very tricky: Nux-v. should be irritable? But Nux-v. is also in Yielding, 3th degree, more so in children. Pulsatilla should be Yielding, but Pulsatilla is also in Mind; violence, 4th degree, as it is in Anger, Rage, Morose and Irritability. You cannot differentiate with these arguments. So, yes, close enough, taking the whole picture in consideration.
EL: Regarding the second powerpoint, great case! I was thinking Lachesis but I said, Wait! The patient is chilly! Then when I saw Taren-c. in the repertorization, I said, Of course, Taren. is a chilly remedy! But Roger, would Taren-h. have worked as well?
RVZ: The cubensis (different spider) has all these septic and rotting elements because the animal used was decomposing, if I remember well.
EL: Very interesting, I did not know that! Now, if I can go back to something you said earlier, which I think our readers probably found fascinating. You said that Nux v. is just as much a yielding remedy as it is pushy/bossy; and that Pulsatilla is just as much a violent remedy as it is yielding. There must be a way of making sense out of this! How do you explain it?
RVZ: I did not say that Nux-v. is just as much …..
I said it can also be….. This was to indicate that differential diagnosis on the basis of emotional criteria not in the case, is very tricky. People think Nux-v. always needs to be irritable and use it as a differentiating parameter, tricky and therefore better not done. Pulsatilla can have symptomatology that makes them very violent, so it’s tricky to think that Pulsatilla needs to be yielding and then is not chosen based on the real symptomatology of the case. You need to work with the material given by the patient, not with material not in the case.
EL: Was there a point you wanted to make about the second powerpoint?
RVZ: The second powerpoint was to show a case that cannot be solved by repertorization by taking the local symptoms, but only when you work with the generalities section in the repertory. A very clear case of a more Boeenninghausen style use of the repertory.
Some other important tips: never believe one-remedy rubrics (there are more remedies normally). Try to use rubrics that contain from 15-60 remedies, they have a higher chance of containing the similimum, without becoming too general. Often use, when one uses larger rubrics, number-of-rubrics kind of analysis, where the most important aspect is the appearance of the remedy in the rubric, not regarding its gradation. Try to be as precise as possible in your choice, do interpret as little as possible. Try to find modalities and concomitants, do not trust prescribing on just phenomena. Modalities, alternating rubrics…
EL: …Did you mean “alternating symptoms” here? Like, “this alternates with that”?
RVZ: Yes, for example: Asthma alternating with eruptions; and then, concomitants, as well, represent the dynamics of the case.
EL: So you’re saying, most important: modalities, concomitants and “this alternates with that”.
RVZ: Yes, if available, they express the dynamics of the case and the dynamics are very important in indicating the needed remedy, and they are more objective than phenomena, less subject to interpretation.
EL: Roger, I have a hair appointment.
RVZ: Shall I just show myself out then?
EL: Just be careful of the moat!
RVZ: The what?
SHANA: Mom, another one of your Hpathy guests has wound up in the moat!
EL: What is wrong with people, Shana; what could be more obvious than a moat?
SHANA: Mom, most people don’t have a moat.
EL: Well, maybe they should; and shouldn’t you be watching TV?
Roger van Zandvoort
2496 HW Den Haag
Visit Roger’s website at http://www.morphologica.com/