In some ways, I hold a unique position within the homeopathic world. I’m deeply involved and my work is fairly well known because of my introductory book Impossible Cure, but I am not a practitioner. Although I studied homeopathy for several years and practiced part-time for a couple of years, I quickly realized that my role is as a promoter, writer, activist, and educator to the general public. For me, homeopathy is not a source of income, but rather, is a cause I support. And as many of you know, my devotion to this cause arises from the fact that my son was cured of an “incurable” disease – autism – thanks to our marvelous healing art.
From this vantage point, sitting both within and without the homeopathic world, I watch the various factions in homeopathy go about their customary internal wrangling. Some things never do change, and perhaps they never will! But I also consistently see a few problems that I believe need repair in order to maintain the health of homeopathy, especially in the West.
First and foremost is the shabby homeopathic care that many homeopaths themselves receive and, as a consequence, their poor health. I rarely meet a homeopath that has a homeopathic practitioner other than his or herself. In fact, these days I like to ask homeopaths directly: Do you go to a homeopath? Invariably, the answer is a sheepish no. To paraphrase the old adage – the homeopath who treats his or herself has a fool for a homeopath. In fact, I have discovered that most homeopaths treat their own family members too. Whatever happened to the ideal of the objective observer?
On top of this, I have found that when homeopaths do opt for treatment by another homeopath (usually when they have become seriously ill), they often do not follow their homeopath’s advice and tend to change homeopaths frequently. Why? The bottom line, I believe, is that homeopaths tend not to trust other homeopaths.
Perhaps this is an intrinsic miasmatic problem that emanates from the critical nature of Hahnemann. Whatever its origin, however, the net effect is at least two other problems that tend to plague the homeopathic community: burnout and self-destructive behavior.
Think about it. If you can’t trust another homeopath, then you’re not going to entrust your patients’ care to them. As a result, homeopaths in the West rarely enter into joint practice arrangements in which they agree to cover for one another. Each homeopath stands alone, trying to provide 24/7 care for their patients – an impossible task and a certain recipe for overload, stress, and once again, ill health. In the end, patients and practices suffer.
A distrust of other homeopaths also fosters a commonly accepted behavior in the homeopathic world: bashing of other practitioners. As misguided as the allopathic world is, you will rarely see a doctor publicly maligning another doctor, no matter what they think of them. In fact, this “professional courtesy” is taught in medical schools. Homeopaths would do well to follow this example, for the good of our profession. Let’s keep our wrangling amongst ourselves. And please – let’s keep it professional and based on homeopathic methodology, not personal.
Dear homeopaths, I care about you. Because of my book and other writings, people correspond with me every day asking for advice and referrals. I would like to be able to refer them to practitioners who are healthy and happy. I am also trying to convince more and more people to use our beloved medicine. But how can Homeopathy expand and serve the world if its practitioners are unhealthy islands of stress who bicker in public and confuse their patients in the process? I can’t count the number of times panicked patients have written to me when they’ve read dire pronouncements online and now fear that they must change homeopaths, even if their case is progressing nicely.
Please seriously consider what I am saying. First, select a homeopath for yourself, and once you do, stick with him or her and be a good homeopathic patient. Follow the advice you give to your own patients!
Second, band with other homeopaths in your area and set up joint-practice arrangements. Your patients will thank you and ultimately, your body will too. By doing so, you may also learn what I have discovered over the years – that almost every homeopath has his or her weaknesses and strengths and deserves courtesy and respect. Let us learn to help one another. Let us be whole and let us be healed.
The first thing which came into my mind was Arnica and the world of Lanthanides.
One of their main aspects are “stubbornness, perseverance and autonomy”.
They believe “doctor heal yourself” and they try to practice it.
Thank you for your direct and genuine comments about these shadow aspects of homeopathic practitioners.
I AM SORRY TO STATE THAT YOUR ARTICLE DIS COURAGE HOMEOPATHY PRACTICE. OF COURSE IT IS A VERY DIFFICULT SCIENCE AND REQUIRES LOT OF LABOUR AND STUDY. IT IS ALSO TRUE THAT MOST OF BOOKS ON HOMEOPATHY ARE NOT BASED ON SELF KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE BUT STILL PRACTICE MAKES A MAN PERFECT. HOMEOPATHY IS SERVING THE PEOPLE AND HAS A BRIGHT FUTURE. I WISH YOU PRACTICE THIS MARVELOUS SCIENCE
A good advice. When sick, mind often gets clouded, observation and analysis may suffer. Its better to let another experienced Homeopath treat you. And its always good to have another doctor treat your family, especially when its your kids, for an unbiased approach. If you find it’s not working, you can always take over..!
Thankyou Amy for well argued article. I completely agree with you and believe working collaboratively is hugely important .
I so agree with you Amy. Where I live here in Gt Britain, many Homeopaths appear to treat themselves for symptoms that I would consider for constitutional prescribing. They don’t realise they have fallen into the trap of Allopathic prescribing which in the main only works suppressively or palliatively.
Tony and I see a Classical Homeopath. We have repeated our constitutional treatment if it was difficult to get in touch with our Homeopath. Many times, for a truly acute condition, which fortunately is very rare, we may prescribe for one another. Usually the constitutional remedy gets us through most things. We have patients who return after not seeing us for some years, to find they have been well and have had no need of a remedy during those years.
Wonderful advice Amy…we are not defined by our supposed “individuality” but by our mutual learning in relationships. The passive unprejudiced observer brings minimum collaboration..we should learn from those seeking help in our practice and surely learn from each other in our profession, of which the latter is sadly lacking in many cases due to ” degrees,” schools of thought, etc. Homeopathy is an ecological systemic way of healing…and should be practice by those adhering to that theoretical framework..be well, Ken
Amy, this is indeed a difficulty when people ask me for a referral. I have been a teacher of homeopathy as well as practitioner for the last 40 years. Over and over again I have seen with my students, that when they go to another practitioner they will get treatment or advice that makes no sense to them and that does not help them. I could give many examples, but a quick one is of two women veterinarians, in two subsequent years (and training programs I was putting on) both of whom were prescribed Lac Equinum which was the hot remedy of the time. This was done because they were both horse practitioners. I asked if it helped and they said “no.” Well one said “I ran faster after that,” joking of course. As I say I could give many examples but you can understand that when this sort of thing happens they lose confidence in going to someone else. I am generalizing and there are some practitioners that will treat them as they were trained (the method of Hahnemann, matching remedy to the specifics of their condition) but most of the time this is not found. I think a big part of this is contemporary homeopathy that has come up with a bunch of ideas that are different than what Hahnemann shared with us so it makes it tricky to know how to find someone to work with. Just some further thoughts to share with you.
Hi Everyone. After some feedback, I feel compelled to add a few notes to my article:
1) Although the name of the article is “Homeopath: Heal Thyself”, I do not mean that homeopaths should treat themselves! This is the very opposite of what I say in the article! Please read it. (This title is a play off the phrase from the New Testament, “Physician, Health Thyself”). By the way, allopaths, too, are notoriously bad patients.
2) My statements in the article are based solely on my own personal observations after several years of involvement in the homeopathic community, not on a formal study of any kind. Maybe they aren’t completely correct, but I believe that they are largely true. Certainly it is true that most homeopaths in the West do not engage in joint practices.
3) Nowhere do I state that homeopaths do not use homeopathy for themselves! I am saying that homeopaths tend to treat themselves and their families (with homeopathy).
4) I’m not exactly sure why Dr. Gupta believes that my article will discourage the practice of homeopathy. My article is meant to help practitioners be more successful, healthy, and happy in their practice — by seeking a good homeopath for their own treatment and engaging in joint practices with other homeopaths.
5) Of course there are poor practitioners out there and this might discourage a homeopath who sees them (just as it discourages other patients who see them). But there are many good practitioners too! Homeopaths probably do need to be extra judicious when selecting a homeopath for themselves. But it can be done. Just be persistent. If one relationship fails, try again! This is what I tell anyone seeking homeopathic treatment.
6) Finally, please believe me when I say that my comments come out of my love for homeopathy and homeopaths. I just want the best for our beloved art and practice.
I could not agree with you anymore. I am 86 years old,a retired accountant living in Leeds,UK. After retirement I did distant learning Diploma in Herbalism and 2 years ago I did homeopathy diploma with distinction from BSY group ltd. UK. These studies I completed while I have been suffering from chronic angina, prostititis and disc wear and tear. I lost my good wife in 1985 who died fom ovarian cancer. Her GP diagnosed that it was appendicitis and kept her at home for a month while cancer was spreading inside. It was this bad eperience that made me learn basics of health issues so that I could self diagnose the illness to an extent.
Regarding homeopathy practices i find that most homeopaths are part-timers hidden in their homes. One never gets prompt appointmentment with a homeopath early. They are overstretched somehow and other. Patients need early attention for alternative or complementary medicine. While the orthodox treatment is grinding like a slow wheel there is definite market gap for homeopaths to come out of their foxholes and start jointly run practice clinics in each city. We need more Doctors who hold knowledge of Alopathy and homeopathy to help patients and save them running round in circles. We as homeopaths advise patients to tale complementary remedies after consultation with their GP. The GP has no knowledge of homeopathy or herbal remedies and he cannot advise. How long we are going to work like that. This element of ignorance is holding this brillient science back. Let us echo our message and encourage the homeopaths to invest in co-operatively run clinics providing blood tests,urine tests,X-rays,scans and follow up the required treatment from the walk in clinics round the clock. They should also engage in home visits for the eldely. Such clinics will reduce burden on National Health Service in countries like UK. The Government of India has provided a homeopath in most civil hospitals alongwith Alopathic Doctor. This arrangement works well.
Finally, I thank you for your service and suggestions you made in your June 2017 article.