Shirley A. Reischman

Elaine interviews Cincinnati homeopath Shirley Reischman

Shirley, how would you like to be the May “Homeopath In The Hot Seat”?

I guess it depends on what the questions are.  If I know the answers, then sure.  If not, I’d be too embarrassed.

OK, these questions are easy!

1. Who are you?
2. Where do you work?
3. What do you do?

How’s that?

1. I’m me.
2. It depends on the day.
3. I work.

OK, Shirley, I can see you’re not familiar with the interview format, so let me help you: Never mind who you are!  When you get to work–and never mind where–what do you do when you get there?

Well, lets see.  I say ‘Hi’ to everyone.  I check to see if any of my clients are in the waiting room. I make sure their charts are in order.  Is that what you mean?


Shirley, let’s try a different approach.  From where or whom did you learn homeopathy?


Kent Smith of Huntington Beach, California.  His father, Dwight Smith, was a friend and student of Dr. James Tyler Kent.  Dr. Kent Smith was my homeopath and when he told me he was retiring, I panicked, so he offered to teach me.
Is that better?

Sweet Georgia Brown!  You were taught by the son of one of Kent’s students?  Do you know what that makes you?

It makes me one of what our friend Hans calls a pseudo-homeopath!

Oh.  No, what I was going to say was, it makes you a student of Kent’s twice removed!  Shirley, you are Kent’s great-grand-student!
(What was Hans talking about????)

Hans has a problem with Kent (as do a number of people) mixing his Swedenborgian spiritual ideas with Hahnemann’s.

Perhaps you could explain that.

I started to write down some of the differences, but my mind is fried.

That explains the interview thus far.

Kent was a very strict Hahnemannian.  He is the one who gave the name ‘classical’ to following the principles of the Organon.  What he did do was explain the mechanism of how the remedies work, how one becomes ill and how one heals, using Swedenborg’s concepts.  Far from diluting Hahnemann, I think it provides explanation and clarity to what can be a very difficult subject.  In fact, the reason why so many early homeopaths were Swedenborgian was because the mechanism of homeopathic healing is clear once one understands Swedenborg.  Kent of course was not the only well known Swedenborgian homeopath.  There was Hering, Boericke, Tafel, Farrington and many others.

Wow!  I had no idea!  So, Shirley….What do you do when you get to work?

Let’s see. I say ‘Hi’ to everyone.

Uh huh….

Unless Dr. Jim’s in a grumpy mood….

Uh huh….

in which case I say ‘Hi’ to everyone but Dr. Jim.


Then I see if all my charts are out for the day.  Then I check the lobby and see if I have any early birds waiting for me.

Uh huh….

If so, I hop to it.  If not, I look over the case files for the day.

Uh huh [yawn….]

Then I cross my fingers that I don’t have a bunch of last minute cancellations like I had a few days ago.  And by then, my first client has usually arrived.

Clients!  Now, try and go with that, Shirley; do you have any interesting clients?

They’re almost all interesting.  On the negative side there was a family who came in with three preschoolers, all out of control.  And they expected me to do a full chronic case study on the mother while the little darlings wrecked my office and the father just sat there amused.  On the positive side is a wonderful elderly gentleman whose mother raised him on homeopathy.  He had such an interesting life, including some amazing stories of being in France during WWII.  He had been mayor of the small town he lived in.  The interview took almost seven hours and he told me some wonderful stories of his life experiences.  In general though, I find it most interesting and somewhat amusing that so many clients say, “Oh, I bet you don’t have anyone as complicated as me!”

Shirley, the elderly gentleman who had been raised on homeopathy, how was his health compared to others you’ve seen?

He’s in his late 80’s.  He and his wife bought a farm when he retired at the age of 73.  He now works the farm and fixes all the machinery.  His vitality is phenomenal, even though he does have a health problem.  He joined my homeopathic study group and his biggest complaint is that he has to use a magnifying glass to read the repertory!  What I see most often with people who have been raised on homeopathy or have used it for a long time is that they respond very quickly and the cases resolve in a straight forward manner.

That’s his complaint?  That he needs a magnifying glass at 80 to see the Repertory?  I can’t see the Repertory at all, and I’m… only…not 80.

Would you like me to tell you about my most frustrating client?

Not really….

Well, here it goes.  Whenever I see her for a follow up, she says she’s not better.  When I ask her specific things about her case, she says , ‘Oh, well, I guess that’s better’.  So when we’re through, she has reported that most of the things are better. So, then I say, “Well, based on what you’ve just told me, it looks like things are improving.”  Her response, “No, I’m really not any better.”  So, then I go back over all the things she said were better.  I even read back my notes to her that I’ve written down word for word and she says, “Oh, did I say that?  I don’t remember.  I don’t think I would have said that, because I’m not better.”

This sounds like Arsenicum to me, because they never want to admit to being better.  Shirley, as well as being taught by Kent Smith, you’ve been to NCH Summer School, as well as many conferences and seminars, correct?

Yes, I’ve taken the Advance Practice class at the NCH summer school.  I can barely keep the various conferences straight in my mind. When I lived in California, the California State Homeopathic Society put on some awesome conferences each year.  Now in Ohio, the Ohio State Homeopathic Medical Society has a conference each autumn that is attended by people in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio, along with a number of other states.  We recently had Andre Saine as the keynote speaker.  I also go to the NCH (National Center for Homeopathy) spring conference fairly regularly.  I didn’t get to go this year, but last year, it was in Philadelphia (where I met the famous Elaine Lewis and her even more famous husband!  And her daughter Shana who let me sleep with her stuffed cats so I wouldn’t miss my own fur kids) and the year before I was in Phoenix (I can’t remember who the keynote speakers were, but if you can fill in the blanks, I’d much appreciate it!).  I also did a wonderful workshop in Toronto with Rajan Sankaran about four years ago.

Is there a case you’re most proud of?

I guess it’s the fellow who had been to two other homeopaths, one of whom was quite famous, without relief and I found the similimum right away.  Of course, if he hadn’t already tried two other homeopaths first, I might have picked the same remedy they did.  He seemed like either a Nux-v or a Lycopodium; depending on what I emphasised in the case, he could have been either.  He was controlling and angry.  Very competent, but kept losing jobs due to punching people out when he didn’t like what they said to him – didn’t matter if it was his boss or someone under his supervision.  He had a lot of insecurities and suffered from panic attacks.  He would get down on himself and was occasionally suicidal.  He felt wiped out from about 4pm – 7pm and then felt better.  He withdrew from relationships, but didn’t want to come home to an empty house.  His father was an alcoholic and abusive to his mother.  Environmental sensitivities to perfumes and tobacco smoke.  Very critical of himself and others.  Had an ulcer.  Very impatient.  Ate too fast, very offensive gas and perspiration.  Copious underarm perspiration.

There are five pages for the initial consultation.  He had been to a very famous homeopath who put him on Nux-v.  There was some improvement for a few weeks and after that, nothing.  It was repeated in several different potencies.  He got impatient, so he changed homeopaths.  This one prescribed Lycopodium.  Again, he was better for a few weeks and then, nothing.  Again, he got impatient and tried to change homeopaths.  But about then, his uncle offered him a job in Cincinnati, so he moved here and came to see me.  Knowing that he had already had Nux-v and Lycopodium made things much easier for me and I gave him Thuja 1M.  Day two, he tried to punch out his uncle for something, but instead of firing him, his uncle punched him out!  Now, if he had been working for someone else, he would have been fired and would probably never have spoken to me again.  As it was, by the end of the first week, he was feeling happy for the first time he could remember.  The remedy held for ten months.  I then gave him a Thuja 10M. It’s been two years and he followed up by phone recently and is still doing well.

I too would have thought of Nux Vomica.  I’m very impressed that you thought of Thuja!  How the heck did you know?

I’m not sure what made me think of it, but I think it was something Dr. Kent Smith said about Thuja being something to think of if Nux or Lycopodium don’t hold.  And when I looked at the provings, it had all his symptoms.


I didn’t know Thuja’s could be so aggressive!  Aren’t they usually trying to be as inconspicuous as possible?  Oh, by the way, when he punched out his uncle, was that an aggravation?

Yes, he had an aggravation, followed a few days later by amelioration.  There’s no way to tell at the time – just in retrospect when doing the follow up.  You can of course hope at the time that that’s what it was, but you can’t actually know for sure.

When he got punched back, some people would say, “Oh, that’s homeopathy!  He got a taste of his own medicine!”  How much of a possibility is that?  In other words, can you be sure it was the remedy?

I can be sure it’s the remedy because the amelioration held for a long time and when it was repeated, he went through the same aggravation followed by amelioration.  Also, at the one month follow up, his symptom progression followed Hering’s direction of cure.

What then does this case tell us about Thuja because I think this is fascinating.  I’ve only had one Thuja case, and it’s a remedy I’ve been struggling with.  What I’ve learned about it is–they’re secretive. They feel there’s something fundamentally wrong with them, that they don’t fit in, they’re alienated, separate, they feel tainted, and because of this they put on an act to try to fit in.  When you talk to them, you get the feeling they’re not being genuine.  Their basic feeling is, If people really knew me, they wouldn’t like me.  Also, we know that they have warts, growths of all kinds, discharges, worse damp weather, oily skin, ailments from vaccinations, and it’s basically one of the main remedies when you suspect the sycotic miasm–and for our readers who don’t know, the sycotic miasm is the sequel to gonorrhea suppressed with drugs, which is to say, the tendency to develop warts and other growths plus a lot of mucus after gonorrhea or even if there’s gonorrhea in the family history.  So, what I don’t see in this picture is how I would get from this starting point to the client that you described.  So….tell me what I’m missing in my understanding of Thuja.

All of what you say about Thuja is true; and I, too, have a hard time with it as a remedy.  I don’t think I really recognize it easily.  I think it just popped up in my mind when I was working on the case.  Sometimes, I hear Dr. Smith’s voice in my head….

(Shirley hears voices, what’s the remedy?)  Were there any Thuja keynotes in this case?  Post nasal drip?  Sinusitis? Warts?  Tumors?  History of gonorrhea?  Aversion to onions and garlic?  Left sided symptoms?  Worse cold/damp? Dreams of falling?  Anything?

He had a few moles and he had had gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea???  He had gonorrhea???  Isn’t Thuja the main remedy for suppressed gonorrhea???  Aaaaaah!!!!!  Say good night, Shirley!

Good night, Shirley.

Shirley A. Reischman
Dr. Jim’s Naturally Well Health & Healing Center
11263 Reading Road
Cincinnati, OH 45241
(513) 769-7546

About the author

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.
Elaine is a passionate homeopath, helping people offline as well as online. Contact her at [email protected]
Elaine is a graduate of Robin Murphy's Hahnemann Academy of North America and author of many articles on homeopathy including her monthly feature in the Hpathy ezine, "The Quiz". Visit her website at: and


  • If one has suppressed gonorrhea are you saying not to use Thuja? If so, then what the heck is left to cure this condition effectively?

  • Tom, I asked and asked Shirley how she knew it was Thuja. She went on and on suggesting that she didn’t know, that it just popped into her head, she just knew, etc. etc., and then all of a sudden, as an after-thought, she says, “Oh, and he had gonorrhea!”

    Well, I mean, what more do you need to know!!!!

    So, if one has suppressed gonorrhea, Thuja is the first remedy that pops into your mind!

    So, maybe you just misunderstood us.

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