When we imagine a ball we do not associate it with the word bread neither with the word bishop, just because these words start with the letter b. It seems a lot more natural to associate the word ball with the words soccer, goal and kicking. The way we associate ideas is not related to the way the words are written but to the meanings they have for us. As repertories organize mental symptoms in alphabetical order they oppose the structure of idea association with which we are naturally familiarized. We could also compare the mental symptoms with the bones of the human body. We can outline all the bones of a body according to the alphabetical order of their related names. Such a line of bones would be an unrecognizable organization of the human body as a whole. It would be much better to see how they relate to each other and try to organize them in accord with how they are jointed. Such an organization of the bones would give us a much better idea of the human body outline. If we could have a repertory organized in the same way as ideas in our minds we would get an instrument which would be much easier to handle. The way to use it would be more intuitive and it would be much easier to go through it. That was the objective we had in mind when we developed the Thematic Repertory.
Our work is initially focused in the mental symptoms as we believe theirs is the most questionable organization. We all know that current repertories are mainly compilations of old repertories, and often from different languages. It is common to find several rubrics with similar or even equal meanings, but written differently. As symptoms organization is alphabetic, these symptoms are scattered and unrelated and the cross references are not enough to show all the connections between them. In our repertory we have surpassed this problem as the symptoms are grouped by words or by themes. The Thematic Repertory has the great advantage of presenting the mental symptoms connected by themes. If our patient presents any symptom related to death, we can find in the same place all the homeopathic symptoms grouped around the death theme. As symptoms are grouped by words or themes, we can make a differential diagnosis between different symptoms with several medications in the same place, something the cross references would never produce.
Our research gives to Homeopaths a criterial selection of mental symptoms taken from The Complete Repertory, by Roger Van Zandvoort, and Pure Materia Medicas, by Hahnemann, Hering, T. Allen and H. Allen, organized according with the thematic method – 8695 mental symptoms from The Complete Repertory and 4200 symptoms from the PMMs. The symptoms were chosen based on homeopathic peculiarity criteria – no rare, strange or peculiar symptom were left out.
The symptoms from repertory and PMMs were organized in approximately 1700 mental themes. The great themes, about 300, were created based on the main issues repeatedly found in the symptoms and 1400 short themes or word themes from important and meaningful words selected in the Complete Repertory and proving symptoms. We took into consideration to increase the amount of entries in the Repertory so that words related to the 300 great themes could also be used as entries to the repertory. Obviously the short themes would be connected to the great themes through cross indications immediately after the theme entry. The short word theme “cleaning” would be linked to the great theme “dirty” that would encompass not only the word clean but all symptoms associated to the idea of cleanliness or dirtiness. Be aware that cleanliness is a short theme included in the great theme dirtiness. If cleanliness is the first idea you have, even if you don’t consider dirtiness, you will be able to come to the great theme “dirtiness” through the cross indications. The same is true for the short theme “disorganization” and the great theme “organized”. Symptoms containing the word disorganization would be found in a specific short theme which would have a cross relation with the great theme organized.
There are 300 great themes and 1400 short word themes. From the short themes or word themes you get to the great theme in common. Instead of 300 original great themes entries, we now have 1700 entries containing themes that are all connected by cross relations to the great themes. Another benefit derived from presenting together the most meaningful words of the Repertory symptoms and pure materia medica, is the understanding we can have about 1700 important words used in the Repertory and pure materia medica by comparing their words. This would be a characteristic Homeopathic dictionary. The general idea is to make it easier for the user to get to the symptoms, by entering the Repertory through a specific word (short theme or word theme) or a general idea (great theme).
Many additions of symptoms and medications to the repertory may be suggested based on a criterial research of the PMMs symptoms. We know a PMM symptom may contain several repertory symptoms; these symptoms are presented dismembered and in alphabetical order. In the PMMs symptoms, we can see important modalizations diluted in the dismembering process of the symptom and its presentation in the repertory. In the complete symptom taken from the PMMs we can see the consecutive and resulting relation between the several repertory symptoms. The understanding of this repertorial symptoms sequence, gives us the psychodynamic knowledge of the Homeopathic medications. Now we can understand and criticize better the origin of the repertory symptoms and get a better comprehension of the mental symptoms, comparatively consulting the repertory and the PMMs.
When studying the Repertories and pure materia medica on a deeper level we notice that a correct comprehension of the words is fundamental to understanding the symptoms. You’ve probably been in a college where well-intentioned professors try to offer a precise definition of repertory symptoms according to old dictionaries. But you also remember the painful experience of listening to the same conflicting definitions of the symptoms offered by other well-intentioned professors. It is often impossible to recover through a dictionary the author’s intention in relation to the symptoms described, even if the dictionary is from the same period as the author. A solution to this problem would be to associate the definition of the repertory homeopathic symptom words with the meaning of the words used in the PMMs.
If we could have the same meaning to both the words used in the Repertory and the words used in the Materia Medica, it would lead to a homeopathic language padronization. As word entries are based in pathogenetic texts, we have a proper homeopathic dictionary which guides us towards the understanding of the repertory language. Instead of being defined by dictionary entries, the words are thus exemplified by the symptoms themselves where they occur. As we read several symptoms with the same word we can apprehend its meaning in the homeopathic symptom general setting, and not as a simple dictionary definition. For instance, the word hypochondria in classical PMM may be similar to melancholy in certain symptoms, or fear of sickness or delusion of sickness in others, as it is according to its modern meaning. Thus the Thematic Repertory can also be used as a Homeopathic words dictionary with 1700 entries and meanings, a lot of them defined by the pathogenetic symptoms themselves.
The thematic classifications are not axiomatic. They aim at representing intuitive efforts to organize ideas. These classifications are subject to criticism and to the creation of new themes. The collaboration of the homeopathic community with the production and critical development of the themes is very important, to take this approach to the mainstream. This research will only be useful to us if the thematic classifications are intuitive and natural to most homeopaths.
Allen, T.F., Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica, New York / Philadelphia, Boericke & Tafel, 1879.
Allen, H.C. The Materia Medica of the Nosodes, Philadelphia, Boericke & Tafel, 1910.
Hahnemann, S. The Chronic Diseases, Translated by Tafel, Annotations by Hughes Jain Publishing, 1986.
Hahnemann, S. Materia Medica Pura, Translated by Dudgeon, Annotations by Hughes Jain Publishing,1986.
Hering, C. Guiding Symptoms of Our Materia Medica, Philadelphia 1879-1891.
Mirilli, J.A.—-RepertÃ³rio TemÃ¡tico, English – Portuguese, private editing, 1993, Brasil- private editing, 1996, Brasil- Editora El Arial Curitiba, Brasil, 2002
—————Thematic MatÃ©ria Medica, English, private editing, Brasil, 1994 -1996
—————Thematic Dictionay, English, private editing, Brasil, 1994
—————MatÃ©ria MÃ©dica TemÃ¡tica, PortuguÃªs, Editora Robe, SÃ£o Paulo, Brasil, 1996
—————Thematic Repertory, English, IRHIS Publisher, Holland, 1998
—————Thematic Materia Medica, English, Miccant , England,1997
—————Thematic Materia Medica, English, Reference Works, United States, 2000
—————Thematic Repertory, English, MacRepertory, United States, 2000
Zandvoort, Roger Van, The Complete Repertory, IRHIS, Holland,1996