Homeopathy Papers

The Vital Approach Map of Homeopathic Families

Homeopath Anne Vervarcke finds that the great variety of approaches now available in homeopathy create a complexity that requires some organizing method, which need she responded to by creating her Vital Approach Map of Homeopathic Families.

During the almost 30 years I plunged into homeopathy I’ve seen it developing both in the what I call the Grammar (the system) and the Vocabulary (the MM) at an enormous speed and momentum. How utterly simple homeopathy seemed in our beginning days when we look at it from our current perspective!

System upon system and method upon method is launched, all to help us coping with the ever-increasing complexity of our analysis and the unmanageable number of remedies we are supposed to know, or at least be able to find.

When teaching, I observed that students (and we are all eternal students) get crushed under too much information. It is simply impossible to think of everything at the same time: what level is the patient talking from, what kingdom could it be, is he compensating or not, is the word used a sensation word or a common expression,  is it miasm  language or sensation language, could it be a remedy I don’t know, maybe even an unknown kingdom, is the patient on source level or just imagining,  what could this hand gesture he uses point to, is it ‘state’ or ‘story’ that he is saying, what information can I use when he keeps talking psychobabble?, etc. In the past we used to collect some symptoms and some keynotes, called it ‘the totality’ and looked them up in the Repertory. Those were the days!

Since the only way is forward: more information is bound to come. Fasten your seatbelts:  I’ve explored the Gymnosperms, The Mosses, the Sarcodes, the Bacteria, the Fungi, the Rocks and Stones, the Celestial bodies, the Artificial products, the Waters and so on….  All those groups that are left out when we only consider three kingdoms (Plant, Animal, Mineral) in our analysis.

We arrived at a point that homeopaths don’t even want to hear about it. Can there be anything more disheartening than a homeopathic seminar on let’s say ‘Spider Remedies’ taking off with the statement: “there are about 45,000 species of Spiders” or a lecture on Fungi with the information from Frans Vermeulens’ book “that of the approximately 200.000 species up to now 70,000 are listed”.

Some stop practicing in despair because they feel they just can’t do it, or they narrow their treatment down to a clear procedure with a very restricted number of remedies presented by one teacher and forget about the rest. I understand. It’s a survival mechanism.

We know that in survival mode we are not at our best; as a matter of fact we can hardly even think when in that state. Our consciousness contracts to the issue at hand and disregards the bigger reality.

But by closing our eyes reality doesn’t vanish. If we adhere to the basic principle of individualization, we should welcome more information, allowing for better prescriptions. Nevertheless too much is too much.

I’d argue that we are in need of simplification along with sophistication. Though it doesn’t sound like too exciting good news, in practice I’ve noticed that we would be helped a lot with waterproof pointers to groups of remedies we otherwise disregard.

Many master homeopaths gave keywords, hints, indications and clues and they all helped us to some extent. If we could combine them, boil them down to the most reliable sure signs to, if not the species, then at least to the group where the species must be searched for, it would simplify our analysis substantially.

In a former article I discussed the idea that we should balance masculine and feminine qualities in homeopathy, meaning that not only system and knowledge have their place but they should be complemented by receptivity and intuition.

As a community we sometimes debate whether we need all those novelties, new remedies, yet another new system as the classical homeopathy is actually doing very well.

But as also written before: the pioneers tread on new territories while the traditional community holds their ground until new and better paths are discovered and accessible to all. We need both. We have to balance both. In a similar fashion we have to balance ever more information and sophistication with synthesizing and simplifying.  What I see as useful tools is the introduction of the context information and the division into 2nd and 3rd dimension. I’ll explain both concepts.

We are multidimensional beings, so it said, but on planet earth we deal with only a few of those. Under our feet is the 2nd (the first dimension being the iron crystal in the centre of the earth, with which the iron in our blood resonates): all the elements, ores, stones, gems, rocks and simple organisms like bacteria.  (for this I can’t recommend enough the book by Thomas Gold: ‘The Deep Hot Biosphere’). To this list I’d add the Sarcodes, Nosodes and Carbons as ‘simple organisms’ as well. The 3rd dimension is the realm of plants, fungi, animals and humans.

These dimensions have distinct characteristics and if we can come to a conclusion as to which one our patient belongs early in the case, the possibilities are already divided in half.

Characteristics of the Dimensions

When only three Kingdoms are considered, then the Minerals get the following features assigned: the sensation of being incomplete and the need to complete themselves. The feeling is that the person is needing, lacking or loosing something in order to be complete.

While this is correct is it not the whole story and it doesn’t belong to the element only. As a matter of fact, the simple elements are rarely found on earth. What we dig up are mixtures of elements in the forms of ‘earth’, crystals and stones.

While it is true the elements are the building blocks for all other phenomena, they seldom appear in their pure unmixed form. The reason why we prescribe them so much is probably simply because we had something solid, scientific and limited as the Periodic Table. It meant a great starting point to categorize our homeopathic remedies into groups and families.

But what is under our feet contains many more possibilities and we should be able to distinguish between those subgroups with reliable and easy to recognize indications. The first challenge is to differentiate Second from Third Dimension. What I’ve observed is that no homeopathic student who witnesses this demonstrated in practice and life cases met any difficulty to do this.

The key words for the Second Dimension is ‘Existence’, whereas in the Third it would be ‘Life’ and although it is essentially the same, the experience is completely different.

Second Dimension patients will have the sensation (fear, delusion, dream) of existential emptiness. They feel unstable, incomplete indeed, heavy, insecure, dependent. They will probably talk about their capacity and we used to say, as soon as the patient starts talking about ‘I can’t’ you can pin him down in the Second Dimension.

Of course, this is jumping to conclusions; nevertheless one is surprised how often this is still the case after 2 hours of careful questioning.  This capacity can be about function, possession, power, strength, security, performance. Interestingly there is also a quite distinct context in the anamnesis that will turn out to be very helpful in analysis.

Often the cases are more or less simple (which by no means is the same as saying that the patients are simpletons!), the problem can usually be boiled down to one sentence, the patients gives more or less factual information, without much facial or bodily expression and –this may sound surprising until you realize others don’t- they answer your question, often with a kind of definition.

The homeopath is permitted to ask questions to these patients, in fact they probably will wait for your questions, while with Third Dimension cases, you might not even get a chance no matter how hard you try to manoeuvre one in. The reason is the 2nd Dimension patient sees the homeopath in his role, the 3rd Dimension one engages in a relationship.

The Second Dimension patients seem a bit aloof, kind of distant, a bit reserved; even when warm personalities, there is something sober about the whole case, and in extreme cases merely boring.

Not so in Third Dimension cases. Oh, how we like those patients! They are much livelier, relate to the homeopath (how’s your daughter? What a nice shawl you are wearing!) and they drag you into their stories right away. The answer to your opening question ‘what can I do for you?’ or ‘what brought you here?’ might be a take-off for three quarters of an hour explanation on how they feel and why this is so.

To determine the Dimension, this in itself should do. Sometimes the patient warms up a bit slower but still there are feelings all over the place: in every lively example, description, image or story.

In the beginning of the anamnesis the homeopath feels sympathy for the patient, as he understands how he feels but as the time passes a growing feeling of despair starts creeping in. More stories, more examples, more symptoms and modalities, more sensitivities will make him end up with the famous Kentian quote: ‘10 pages of notes but no case’.

Cheer up: you’ve already determined the Dimension!  While Animal remedies often are compensated for obvious reasons, still there will be this body language, this complexity, this multitude and this intensity you’ve lacked in Second Dimension cases.

You might have mentioned that context plays an important role in deciding in which dimension we have to look for a remedy. There are many blog posts on my website on this topic, suffice to say that not only to determine the Dimension but also the Kingdom and the context is crucial.

Context versus content

The content is what the patient said, the context is ‘who is the one who said this’. As we are trained in believing that by studying facts, we know something about reality, we tend to overlook the subject at hand and the subject interpreting it.

Fortunately, in homeopathy we don’t observe the patient from the outside as an object but communicate with him to know his inner experience. Homeopathy is mainly based on subjectivity, as this is the only way to individualize.

An aspect of this ‘who’ is in front of us is the impression he/she makes on us, the way the information came and the way the interview evolved. Is your patient talking about his feelings in a factual matter? Does he seem to be the only player in the theatre of his life? Do you at the end of the consultation still not know anything about his family, friends, children, even spouse? Is it only ‘me’ and ‘mine’?

You probably need a 2D remedy, most likely an Element. Do you have on the other hand the idea the patient is confusing, contradicting himself, helpless, as if he had no own opinion, or point of reference? This points to a Bacteria remedy.

Do you as a homeopath become a bit uneasy with your patient, having the feeling he is testing you, not telling you everything, commenting on your questions or even intimidating you? Consider an Animal remedy. For all groups and families I was able to extract the context from many cases. This resulted in the Vital Approach Map of Homeopathic Families. It has a 2D and 3D page, with horizontal rows running through.

We are familiar with the developmental stages of the Periodic Table and they are a perfect blueprint to position other groups and families. In one glance one can see on the Map the relationship between groups and families. The advantage is that once you determined the Dimension, you only need to navigate towards the right row and end up with a limited choice of groups.

Even when the Dimension is not clear but the issues in the case are, for instance, clearly 2nd row, the choice becomes limited. When then looking at the Map, it won’t be hard to differentiate between the candidates: Spiders and Carbons don’t have so much in common….

The Map contains the keywords for each group or family, but of course this is not enough. It is more like a world Map when you venture out to search for the treasure (which is the simillimum for a person).

The Dimensions then represent the continents; there are only two.  One could imagine the rows to be the longitude and latitudes. Arrived at that point, the smaller divisions are the cities and the homeopaths have enough ‘city maps’ to their disposal: books on Plants, Nosodes, Molluscs, Snakes, Cactaceae, Birds, Fungi, Orchids, Spiders, Sea remedies, and all the monographies on provings, a growing catalogue every day.

My purpose is to make the homeopathic journey easier, and more straight forward. It is a tool to help you navigate in a territory otherwise with hardly any sign telling you where you are and where to go. The Map guides you to the right continent and the right area; there you can start to look for more details before starting to dig.

This systematic analysis in Dimensions and Rows has turned out in daily practise to be an easy to learn approach. It makes homeopathy manageable again, because it gives very clear directions in every case. The analysis is now based on the general features: what kind of patient is sitting in front of you. When you, only from the context can conclude this must be a Bird (3D engagement, 5th Row issues, and the specific context: the homeopath feels the patient is watching from a safe distance) how much easier does that make your life!? We can then turn to our repertories and Materia Medica to find the right species.

Anne Vervarcke’s Vital Approach Map:

Map of Homeopathic Families 1903 LR.pdf

Anne’s Blog Posts:   https://www.thewhiteroom.be/en/2020/01/04/we-are-all-just-walking-each-other-home/

Anne’s Videos





About the author

Anne Vervarcke

Anne Vervarcke

Anne Vervarcke, born 15.10.1952 in Belgium, was originally trained in the arts, and graduated in Oriental Philology and Anthropology and took later courses in classical homoeopathy. She established ‘The Centre for Classical Homeopathy’ (CKH) in Leuven, Belgium, which organizes a five year training course, a Postgraduate course, a yearly seminar and an International Training. She created the programmes and was teacher and director for 15 years. She has been in private practice since 1989 and has published the two books in the above bibliography. Currently she is co-ordinating international trainings and gives seminars in many different countries, specialising in live case taking. This year will see the start of a Master Class and online training.

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