Materia Medica Course on Shameless Remedies with Dr Manish Bhatia
Homeopathy Papers

The Case for More Generalist Homeopaths

Homeopath Tiago Amorim argues that we need to treat patients more holistically and that generalist homeopaths, who can call on various skills, can do this more effectively.

There are no ideal choices: human decisions are attempts to adhere to the best among relatively interesting options. Are there exceptions to this rule? Clearly yes. However, the vast majority of the time, we are not torn between good and bad, beautiful and ugly, excellent and terrible (if it were so, our lives would be much easier, right?).

In the practice of homeopathy, it is no different. Our medicine often presents us with games of choice featuring equivalent alternatives, similar in terms of therapeutic quality. While it is true that every homeopath should be familiar with the principles and ideals of this profound philosophy, it is also true that, in the concreteness of daily life, in clinical practice, one must choose between a good remedy and other good remedies.

There have been many attempts and strategies to solve this dilemma—the adherence to the best treatment in the specific case. There is no shortage of interpretations and theoretical proposals that claim, from Hahnemann’s manuscripts onward, to be the new and better approach to homeopathy. One that I particularly like is the Sensation method by Dr. Rajan Sankaran. It seems to reveal a great intuition about the method and philosophy of homeopathy. Let me explain.

According to this approach, the choice of a remedy for a specific patient depends, more than anything else, on the sensation experienced throughout the overall picture of the symptoms. That is, how the patient translates the overall impression of their state of life and illness to themselves (and how this translates in terms of the kingdoms of nature and their respective characteristics).

Some patients seem to experience life as animal essences, others as plant-like, and still others as mineral. Clarity about this will help the skilled homeopath identify the central disturbance affecting the individual and, from there, prescribe the medication that best interferes with the healing process (preferably occurring from top to bottom, from the psychic to the physical plane).

If we think about it, Dr. Sankaran’s way of seeing things requires homeopaths to have a sensitivity that goes beyond intellectualization or technical mastery of homeopathy. Knowledge of miasms and kingdoms, the Organon, and materia medica are important conditions but not sufficient for effective work. Because the homeopath, facing the patient seeking assistance, needs to reach that invisible mass we would call the individual expression of suffering; something existing between the lines or behind the words and expressions of the sick person.

And how to do that? How to overcome technicalities—a risk always present even in an art of healing like homeopathy—and act as flesh-and-blood individuals, sensitive to the patient’s fundamental pain?

In other words, how to set aside medical, scientific, or technical specialties a bit and take on a position not only as an artist—concerned with the form and beauty of the healing act—but as a generalist within homeopathy?

Because, as Dr. Sankaran himself says, the homeopath is a generalist, and this seems to me the best choice among the other available options. Even acknowledging the advances that medical and therapeutic specializations have provided in the last fifty years, for example, I personally embrace the posture of a generalist in this world of specialists (those who know a lot about a little).

By definition, homeopathy does not look at the parts but at the whole, and this is in deep connection with the mentioned Sensation method. However, the same method is just a way to rationally explain what, in my view, is above any rationalism. Necessary?

Without a doubt, as a considerable portion of homeopaths have fallen into the mistake of practicing homeopathy as if it were allopathy—something rationalistic and fragmentary—and thus, the work of Dr. Sankaran becomes, in some way, not something new but a different reminder of the primary philosophy of our medicine.

Allow me a personal note. For years, I studied Philosophical Anthropology, especially the stream initiated by José Ortega y Gasset and Julián Marías, two of the greatest names in 20th-century philosophy. My master’s degree is precisely in Anthropology, and the thesis written in 2018 is a defense of Literature as a means of understanding human life.

But look at my intellectual and professional journey: being an anthropologist, I also became a psychoanalyst, a homeopath, and, more recently, a doctoral student in nutrition. Why the interest in seemingly disparate areas?

Because my interest is focused on people, not just the rational understanding of the permanent and transient elements of a human being. It is necessary to find ways to see each person better. Yes, fundamentally, it’s all about seeing the other in their individuality, unique expression, or sensation.

Paradoxically, what I am asserting is that, to access the whole, it is necessary to better understand its parts through knowledge of physiology and symbolism, culture and personality, matter and spirit. In a very summarized way, the generalism I advocate sees diet and religious practice as aspects of the same reality, and the recognition of their mutual connection with all other aspects as a way to enhance the homeopath’s ability to see. Studies and deep dives into different areas and themes would thus be like refining therapeutic lenses (or at least removing one of their obstacles).

If, on one hand, specialization has allowed us to discuss the benefits of stem cells, on the other hand, it has made us lose sight of the person inside the body with stem cells. The attempt to choose a remedy based on the “totality of symptoms,” cross-referencing patient complaints with elements described in the materia medica of the remedy, is, in my view, insufficient.

One of the reasons is this: materia medicas are formed from descriptions of symptoms by healthy patients exposed to diluted substances, and the described result is the general equation of the majority studied. While relevant and even necessary, this is not enough for comprehensive and truly curative clinical practice.

Unique individuals sit in front of us and express their pains. They don’t silently ask for the cure of their ulcer or psoriasis. They ask for the cure of who they are and the deeply individual way in which they become ill and express their illness.

In this sense, the homeopath needs to be a good generalist, even if it requires restraining their specialist, methodological, or technical impulses. Ideally, a homeopath should not think like an allopath! Because it’s not about seeing the affected part very well or adding up, like a mathematical healer, the patient’s complaints with a view to the single medicine. It is, indeed, about traversing the apparent causes and touching the invisible core of illness. And for that, in addition to sensitivity or art, one needs psychology, and nutrition, and anthropology, and history, and medicine, and…

About the author

Tiago Amorim

Tiago Amorim is a homeopath, psychoanalyst, and writer, a member of the Liga Medicorum Homeopathica Internationalis and the Faculty of Homeopathy (UK). He holds a Master's degree in Anthropology from the University Institute of Lisbon and is the author of four books (essay and fiction). He publishes weekly texts in his newsletter, sent every Monday to four thousand people.Since 2013, he has been working online, offering courses on symbolism, philosophy of health, anthropology, and autobiography. As a homeopath and therapist, he primarily provides online consultations to people from Brazil and other parts of the world. Married and a father of two children, he currently resides in Curitiba.

Leave a Comment