As a psychotherapist, it's always been important to help my clients feel as comfortable as possible. Typically the first interview can be awkward for new patients. It's understandable. They don't know me and may be unsure exactly what's expected. Sometimes they're not even clear as to why they're there except they want to feel better.
The homeopathic interview can be even more awkward. Not only does it start with the same "unknowns" as psychotherapy, but it adds new ones. You may have called the homeopath to get rid of that recalcitrant psoriasis, but he keeps talking about whether you kick the covers off at night, how you feel about injustice, or whether your sadness is worse in the morning.
Understanding the process and knowing what your homeopath is hoping to learn from you can make your experience more comfortable and productive. The following is not a medical manual, but a primer for those looking to work with a classical homeopath. Hopefully, it will give you a good idea of what to expect and how to participate so you get the most out of it.
My first session with a homeopath was confusing primarily because I was not prepared. Everything I had been taught to expect from medical treatment was turned upside down. If someone had given me a philosophical "heads up," I would have been far less anxious and more forthcoming.
There are three fundamental principles:
1. The Law of Similars or "like cures like." This is the manner of cure. It means you will be asked a host of unusual questions that will help him or her choose the remedy that is most "similar" to the totality of your symptoms. This means that the psoriasis you came in to get rid of may be only cursorily discussed while other, seemingly less relevant things (like the betrayal or grief you experienced right before your first outbreak) take center stage.
The simplest example of this law is how we get grease off our hands. We clean it with soap, which is little more than fat. The soap removes the grease because it is grease.
In a homeopathic case, it may look like this: A little boy suddenly gets a raging fever with a pounding headache, dilated pupils, bright red cheeks and delirium. The remedy a homeopath would choose (and there would be a couple of contenders) would have to produce those symptoms in a healthy person. By giving the remedy that would generate that particular type of febrile state to a person already in that state, it is theoretically cured.
As a psychotherapist, I think the tendency of trauma victims to unconsciously find themselves in traumatizing situations again and again is a desire to self-heal in some ways... They are searching for the similar agent. Freud was close to this when he talked about the repetition compulsion.
People are often horrified (and not unreasonably) when they engage in unhealthy behavior time and again. They rightly want it to stop. But when it is framed this way and they can see that they have only been seeking resolution, it becomes not only easier to understand but to actually resolve. They feel less guilty with unconscious complicity, less victimized by their pasts and more empowered to move towards change. I've seen this understanding alone start to bring about healing even before a remedy has been delivered.
2. Hering's Law. This is the road of cure. In simplest terms it refers to the way and the order in which the pathology will be healed. Cure moves from top down, from present to past, and from in to out (from the spiritual-mental-emotional down through the organs from most to least important and finally out to discharge in a benign way, e.g., a runny nose, brief diarrhea, fever, or skin eruption).
3. One remedy at a time. This is the technique of cure and it is an obvious but overlooked wisdom. If multiple remedies are given too frequently and in too rapid a succession (except in extreme and acute situations), the case can be lost. This is even more true with combination remedies (pharmacy concoctions that include multiple remedies, even those that antidote one another).
Levels of Pathology and Layers to Cure
This is not a standard homeopathic "principle," but it's one that I ask of patients regularly: patience. We are not out to just make a symptom disappear at the expense of your well-being. We want you to be healed. And that takes time because pathology is like an iceberg. Much of what is at work is under the surface.
We all operate like this because we have layers of defense against injuries, both physical and emotional. We can see this concept in our relationships. First bad joke, we get a giggle and a snort. Second bad joke, we get a "cut it out." Third bad joke, we get kicked in the shins.
In homeopathy there are three basic levels, starting with the most benign:
Physical level: Inflammation (fevers, rhinitis, cystitis), pain, spasm, constriction, sensitivity
Emotional level: Anxiety, apprehension, irritability, anger, sensitivity, insecurity
Physical level: Accumulation (calluses, warts), synthesis, deposition, and proliferation
Emotional level: Hyper-anxiety, fearfulness, hypervigilance, excess vivaciousness, boasting, rigidity, hardness (like calluses), precocity, collection (OCD). Also the opposite: too relaxed (a loss of collagen, dropped uterus), looseness in character, overly yielding, shame
Physical Level: Exaggeration, distortion (pointed teeth, curved spine), destruction (cancer), auto-immune diseases, mutations (scoliosis)
Emotional Level: Perversion, cruelty, hysteria or mania, (psychosis), distortion of reality and loss of connectedness, destruction, fearlessness, suicidality
In the process of cure, each layer must be addressed as it presents itself, when it is right and the organism is ready.
Part of what makes a homeopathic interview successful is the synergy between you, the patient, and your homeopath. There must be a give and take, a relationship of trust, and an open dialogue. If you have questions, ask them. If you have fears, share them. The homeopath must observe and listen, but no one can see what you do not present.
If in fact there is as much art as science to a good case-taking, then you are as much a part of that process as your homeopath. Be as open and as honest as you can and you will reap the rewards in the health, vitality and freedom you have always longed for.