Before I start this dialogue, I would like to remind the readers that I have just launched a log on my website www.lookingbackmovingforward.com for discussions about how we feel about our profession, how we feel about what is discussed in the interviews, for us to share our experiences and to create an international place to meet and chat in the matrix. Feel free to come and visit and contribute your thoughts.
“I am classical but I am also contemporary. ‘Classical‘ became a misused term, a kind of false fundamentalism which was neither Hahnemannian nor Kentian. Kent would have turned in his proverbial if he had heard his name being used to justify some of the nonsense spoken about him. Kent became synonymous with prescribing only on mentals and emotional, because to prescribe on physicals would be suppressive. These misconceptions were responsible for a trend of amateur psychotherapy in the profession. My ‘practical homeopathy‘ is basic Hahnemannian and Kentian homeopathy. It does me very well and it is contemporary.” Mike Bridger, April 2005
Mike Bridger on Playwriting and its similarity with Homeopathy Case Taking
ROWENA: Tell me more about play writing.
MIKE: Plays are about people and how they interact. It is all about dramatic moments and that is what you are looking for when you are talking to patients; the dramatic things that have happened to them physically, mentally or emotionally and you sit there and listen to it. People sit there and talk to you in a way they would have talked to the priest, the vicar or the doctor a hundred years ago. So I ask personal questions, which I probably wouldn’t ask most people, about what they do and how they react. It is like detective work. Writing a play is like detective work too; you are working out what people do, how they interact and why things happen. This is what I do as a homeopath.
Mike on Remedy Relationships
ROWENA: So tell me Mike, what are you known for?
MIKE: What am I known for? By whom? By the police? I am not really sure but probably for all the wrong reasons. I don’t like pretentiousness. I don’t like the kind of homeopathy that invests itself in making people have psychological symptoms when they don’t have them. If someone comes with rashes or hay fever, that is what I deal with. I think I am categorised as an unspiritual, atheist, practical, bread and butter homeopath with nothing really original or interesting to say except that I make people laugh a bit. But if I really thought there was nothing more to it than that, I wouldn’t be happy at all. I am probably known for remedy relationships as well.
ROWENA: Tell me a bit about the remedy relationships.
MIKE: Looking at the relationship of remedies gets you away from the idea of the single remedy. We are looking at energy not at some sort of golden essence or centre. Energy moves and therefore remedies must move too. Where do they move to? Both Hahnemann and Kent talked about this. Why do people disdainfully refer to ‘zigzagging’? It is important to understand the movement of the remedy and the patient from place to place. You cannot be a homeopath without understanding ‘zigzagging.’
Homeopathy is about energy and not about fixed ‘pictures’. We hear from homeopaths the crappiest kind of fake diagnosis and we are hearing more and more of it. The ‘deep’ kind of, “The patient said they feel rotten so that is a delusion that they are putrefying” or “Their favourite film is the Wizard of Oz[i] so they should have Rainbow 10M.” This is about ego and laziness and has nothing to do with homeopathy. Ironically it is another manifestation of the worst kind of allopathy and you hear this kind of stuff at seminars sometimes. The analysis can sound brilliant, poetic and plausible, but often the patient doesn’t get better.
Quite often I have heard of cases used in seminars by homeopaths where the patient didn’t get better at all and the remedy and the case were presented as a cure. Now that is really sad. When we have important people teaching from that perspective then there is something seriously wrong in the profession or what the profession seems to respect. To say that the analysis of the case is actually more important than the cure of the patient is the same as saying, in allopathic terms, that the diagnosis is more important than what happens to the patient. It is ridiculous to say that the analysis of the patient, the symbolism of what the patient says, is more important than whether the patient actually gets better or not.
ROWENA: I understand what you mean. So where did you learn about the relationship of remedies?
MIKE: In practice and reading about comparative materia medica. I was always very interested in the latter from the start. I looked at remedies in relation to each other to facilitate learning them; that was very important for me. I didn’t want to see them in isolation so I spent time working out the differences between remedies that seemed similar. I was interested when I read somewhere that a remedy moved to another one or that a remedy would complete the action of another one. It seemed academic when you read it in a book but then when you have got a case that isn’t getting any better – somebody is haemorrhaging and you think, the symptoms are still Calcarea carbonica – what do you do? In that case I read in Hahnemann that Mercury (Mercurius solubilis) and Nitricum acidum will often come up as aggravations after Calcarea carbonica. I prescribed the Mercury and the bleeding stopped so I got really interested after that.
ROWENA: Those little tips….
MIKE: Kent and Hahnemann were always interested in that stuff.
ROWENA: So what do think of these new methodologies that are around these days?
MIKE: We have to be careful that they are not used in a literal way and that we end up categorising patients and putting them in boxes. I don’t think that is how people come into my practice; they don’t come in layers at all. They come with arms and legs and bits and pieces. I am prescribing quite often on one or two physical generals, some pathological and maybe a mental. One symptom may be from one ‘layer’ and another from another ‘layer’.
If the characteristic symptoms are mental that is called the Kentian method but I don’t know a case by Kent in which he prescribed on mentals! Burnett never said you just prescribe on an organ; he prescribed on the symptoms around an organ. He talked about prescribing when the vitality is so reduced and limited that all it can do is produce symptoms around an organ and then it MAY be a small remedy, but if it is Sulphur they need, you prescribe Sulphur. Allopathic medicine is about putting things in boxes; grouping symptoms in terms of diseases. Homeopaths have to be careful not to do the same thing in different ways.
ROWENA: Do you use timelines?
MIKE: No because I can see what is happening now to the energy. Timelines don’t do anything for me. What do they say? They don’t tell me where the person’s energy is at the moment.
ROWENA: When you are prescribing, do you give one remedy at a time?
MIKE: I tend to, yes. Sometimes I use tissue salts if there is mechanical tissue damage or something like that. If I know remedies work well together I will use two remedies – one high and one low. I tend to use organ support as well. Today I have given a patient Natrum sulphuricum, although her mental picture is more Natrum muriaticum, her physical picture is more Natrum sulphuricum. It is not that similar to her mentally and emotionally but I don’t want her to aggravate, so I am giving it in low potency and then she will have Natrum muriaticum once a week.
Mike on Treating AIDS
When people started dying from AIDS, homeopaths panicked not knowing how to treat these patients. I just said it is like everything else – you treat it in exactly the same way. You treat the symptoms! People were losing their heads about it. This was the new frightening pariah of disease and this was going to be totally different. So I did a bit of work with the Terrence Higgins Trust and treated the same way I normally do. I took the symptoms – the same with cancer. Homeopaths get panicked, thinking somehow we need a different way of treating this when in fact it is the same thing. Cancer is energy, tonsillitis is energy and hay fever is energy. If we lose touch with that and start prescribing from a different place we better know what we are doing. Interestingly, from my experience, people with schizophrenia somehow lose their schizophrenia if they develop cancer.
Mike on Homeopathy and Karma and Shifting to Different Spaces
ROWENA: Do you think homeopathy can change people’s karma?
MIKE: Karma is a word that is often misused. Karma is about where you are at now, how you got there and it suggests that you can choose to go somewhere else if you want to. People are saying that somehow karma means you are here because of consequences, like a punishment or something but it is not that at all. It is about free will; it is about choosing. If homeopathy gives you more choices then it changes your karma, but I don’t think there is anything deeply weird or wacky about it. We have different words in psychotherapy and homeopathy for the same thing. It is what it is, whether we use the word karma or not.
ROWENA: Do you think remedies can shift people into a completely different space?
MIKE: Yes, but they can also not. We don’t like to think that some people don’t want to go into a different space. Sometimes you can give them a remedy and they don’t move anywhere like where I would like them to go. They still go on playing golf or stay in a relationship that sounds to me boring. I give them Staphysagria – they can explode or divorce or whatever but sometimes they just say, “I am much happier now with my alcoholic husband. I don’t mind him beating me up so much.” Homeopathy is powerful and powerless at the same time. It won’t take anybody where they don’t want to go. It might be someone has just got hay fever that needs curing. Homeopathy can be fantastic for someone who has got a painful joint and cannot walk their dog; if we get rid of the swollen knee, they can walk their dog. That is what makes them happy. You have done several interviews now Rowena, do you see common stuff coming through each one?
ROWENA: The common stuff is that people are very passionate about what they do and they all seem to be working with integrity.
[i] Wizard of Oz, directed by Victor Fleming, 1939
I hope you enjoyed reading this extract from Mike’s chapter in Looking Back Moving Forward and it has given you plenty of food for thought! I would very much welcome a worldwide discussion on the issues raised by Mike. If you visit the blog on my website, www.lookingbackmovingforward.com, you can make your contribution and also receive a ten percent discount if you buy the book. Also, please check out the website which has very recently been updated with all the latest reviews. Many thanks!
Long live homeopathy!