Dr. Dinesh Chauhan practices Classical homoeopathy in Mumbai, India. He heads the non-profit ABJF foundation with his wife Dr. Urvi Chauhan where Indian Homoeopaths are taught for free. Over a decade of research he developed his unique approach called the “Scientifically intuitive case witnessing process: A journey of three steps”. In this interview, homeopath Vatsala Sperling explores this approach with him.
Dr. Dinesh Chauhan and Vatsala Sperling
Learning has been a popular pursuit since the ancient times and today it has become more important than ever if we hope to stay relevant and up to date. It is not surprising that when a capable and wise teacher comes along, we homeopaths gather around him / her and try to learn as much as possible. Much is happening in the forefront of homeopathy and for finding out what exactly it is, there is no better way than to ask a teacher questions that come into our minds. With this view, I met with Dr. Dinesh Chauhan in Hudson, NY, when he visited the town for a four-day teaching seminar during October 2015.
VS: Dr. Dinesh, please describe your work.
DC: My work is known as ‘Scientifically Intuitive Case Witnessing Process: a journey of three steps.’ It is a part of my holistic integrative approach. In 1999, when I started practicing homeopathy, I was exposed to Rajan Sankaran’s Sensation method while writing the book, “Insight into plants”. I was totally convinced that this is THE method. Further down the road, I began observing that no two homeopaths ever came to the same remedy after taking a case. I studied homeopathic philosophy deeply and came to the awareness that homeopathic principles, case taking methodology, remedies, books and follow-up criteria have to be uniform across the board. This quest led me to explore a holistic method that would be based on the law of physics, “What is true for the part must be true for the whole.”
Individualization, holism and simillimum are fundamental and interconnected laws of homeopathy. Individualization done at the whole level is the tool for the search for simillimum. Individual features at the whole level – this is classical homeopathy for me. If it is so, then every aspect of homeopathy should happen at the whole level.
In a holistic integrative method, understanding of the human being, case taking, follow up and also the materia medica – all these have to happen at the whole level. It occurred to me that this holistic approach must be true for all homeopaths – old and new, up to our generation and beyond. Hahnemann’s PQRS, Kent’s totality, Boeninghausen’s grand generals, Vithoulka’s essence, Rajan’s sensation, Vijayakar’s genetic constitution, all these mean the same – find symptoms that are present at the whole level. They just call it by different names.
VS: How is your approach, scientifically intuitive case witnessing process, different from other methods?
DC: My approach to case taking is a timeless, ageless method. It is an integrated approach. It is based on the Organon. It is human-centric and has three distinct steps:
Step one: Passive case witnessing process. It would appear to be scattered, but here the patient is expressing himself.
Step 2: Active case witnessing process. Things begin to connect.
Step 3: Active –Active case witnessing process. Connection appears at the whole level.
Passive case witnessing: At this stage, the patient has total freedom to touch upon any area that is of concern to him. I am totally passive, just taking notes and jotting down facts exactly as expressed by the patient. I note all the verbal and non-verbal expressions that are out of place, out of order, out of proportion, out of my knowledge, out of the patient’s knowledge, and out of a given time zone. I am fully present, but I do not interrupt or ask any questions at all. During this time, I also silently design open ended questions that I would ask later. I note every peculiar expression that the patient uses repeatedly. I note the expressions in which mind and body speak as one. These expressions become a set of peculiar, queer, rare and strange (PQRS) symptoms involving body and mind and these are a collection of verbal and non-verbal PQRS symptoms at the physical particular, physical general and mental levels. The PQRS symptoms that appear at two to three different areas, are not related to each other and are in a different time zone, constitute the focus / anchor or the master key at a holistic level. These symptoms are constant, are expressed via mind and body, and they run through different components of the entire case. I give the patient as much space as he needs and observe whether he is giving symptoms at the facts level, or emotional, mental level, and expressing his thoughts, delusions, fears, phobias and even dreams and imaginations. This first step is a universal step – very relaxing, free-flowing, fluid and healing.
At this Passive step of the scientifically intuitive case witnessing process, the benefit for the practitioner is that he does not have to ask the patient too many questions. There is no probing, no interrogation. The patient feels free and realizes that the practitioner is totally focused on him but is not interfering or interrupting in his narrative. The patient is free to speak about what is important to him, not what is important to the doctor. He is free to choose what, how much and how he wants to speak. In this regard, the method is fully human-centric.
VS: So, the patient’s expressions are in fact the direct expressions of his vital force and that fact is respected.
DC: Exactly. And a further benefit of the Passive step of the case witnessing process for the patient is that he has the freedom to just be and not feel judged, analyzed or interpreted. In this step, a simillimum is spontaneously created between the patient and the healer. The patient feels respected and he gives you permission to explore deeper. When he is ready, he leads the session further. He never experiences the feeling that his answers are not satisfactory to the doctor. So, this passive step is very, very easy on the patient.
Here is an analogy. Imagine a boat in the mid sea. It has no destination, no beginning and no end. A patient comes on board. He decides the beginning and the end. The next patient does the same. Together, the patient and the homeopath enjoy the journey, because, after all, the case witnessing process is not about the beginning or the end, it is about the journey itself, it is a process of exploration.
Tao said, wait, wait and wait till the right action happens. Wait, wait and wait till the mud (conscious brain) settles down and clear water (subconscious brain) appears. Wait, wait and wait till the patient gives clue to the next step.
In this human- centric case witnessing process, out of a sixty minute session, 55 minutes are devoted to Passive state, and five minutes are for Active and Active-Active phase when I ask questions and come to a conclusion about the indicated remedy and potency.
VS: Which aphorisms from the Organon would you quote in support of the scientifically intuitive case witnessing process?
DC: My Scientifically intuitive case witnessing process, a journey of three steps, is based on aphorisms 83 – 103 of the Organon.
Let us now compare this approach to what the aphorisms say: Aph # 83: Individualization of the case is necessary because each case is different. I devote much of my case witnessing time to the Passive step, when the patient is given a totally human-centric space to express himself in any way, manner, depth, and area that is meaningful to him. My method is based on individualization. Aph # 84 says, let the patient talk, observe the patient, write the case accurately, do not interrupt. During the Passive step of the case witnessing process, this is exactly what I do. I write down the symptoms as it is, without analyzing, till sufficient data has been gathered, and the patient has finished speaking. Aph # 85 asks us to start a fresh line for each symptom of circumstance mentioned. Well, the Passive step gives me ample freedom to do that. Aphorism # 86 – 87 – 88 guides us to ask precise information about each symptom, ask open-ended questions, ask general questions about any area not mentioned and avoid asking leading questions. Aphorism # 89 guides us to ask more precise questions only after the patient has freely given his account. The Active as well as Active –Active steps of the case witnessing process are built along these guidelines. All the way up to aphorism # 103, Hahnemann guides us about the intricacies of case taking and these guidelines are fully incorporated into the three steps of this scientifically intuitive case witnessing process
VS: So, this approach to case taking is based on what Hahnemann expects us to do.
VS: Beginner students often wonder if the case is heading toward mineral, animal or plant remedies. Do these thoughts come up during the Passive state of the case witnessing process?
DC: Yes. Being 100 % unprejudiced is quite impossible. Mind is a monkey. It wants to know, work and think. Remedies and kingdoms pop up. I write these on the side and mention “according to me”. I avoid going in that direction because I recognize that my mind is playing games. So, I channel the mind to think and observe: which symptom is important, coming up repeatedly, involves both body and mind, coming up in various areas or only one area….my mind is totally occupied in the Passive step. It has a channel and it is focused on what the patient is expressing from his own free will.
VS: What are the special features and benefits that make your system of case witnessing process attractive to practitioners? We tend to get locked up in our comfort zone and keep practicing what we like or are facile with. We get a little success and try to apply the same method to all our patients. Our method begins to define us and our practice. But life is not static. Pure knowledge has no limits and boundaries. In order to stay relevant, we must keep moving, growing, learning, and experimenting with an open mind. We must get excited to find new possibilities. And in the end, our exercise at staying alive and relevant must be put to the service of our patients. Your method is yet another “new method” on the horizon, and homeopaths across the board would be keen to learn about its features and benefits.
DC: This system creates awareness about the whole patient. It is a “system-less, ever- expanding system”. All systems can be integrated into it. It has a system and a structure, but it is fluid and accommodating. It is unique to each patient, it is human – centric, all its questions are human centric too and these questions come up based on what and how the patient is narrating his story. It does not conform to any fixed agenda. The questions that I would ask during Active and Active – Active steps are designed according to the PQRS symptoms and expressions of the patient during the Passive step. The patient is not interrogated relentlessly as if he is hiding a secret from me and I must unravel that secret. Whatever and how ever that patient reveals in the Passive step are the expressions of his vital force and I respect that. The patient leads me to what he wants me to know. He has the freedom to go as deep as he wants to go. It is easy on the patient. This is the most unique feature and benefit of my method.
Besides this patient- centric benefit, the other beneficial aspects of my method are:
- All homeopaths and students can integrate my method into their case taking style.
- The method is focused on understanding the patient in totality, without getting lost in the sea of materia medica and repertory. We have over five thousand remedies. No one can master all these remedies. But a practitioner can understand one human being in totality first and based on that he can research the revealed remedy.
- This method allows the patient to see all aspects of his life in a step by step manner. He begins to understand himself, become aware of his whole self. This self-awareness on the part of the patients makes this method attractive to the practitioner and in dealing with a self-aware patient, the practitioner realizes that he has to create and design a totally individual approach to each patient because no two patients are alike. In this aspect, my method is a “designer’s approach to a highly individualized practice of homeopathy.”
I have taught my method to various schools and students in various countries. They are getting good results with their patients. They can apply my method directly into their practice. Rajan asks “What is whole?” I offer a technique for finding / reaching the Whole. The Sensation method is about “what is the pattern?”. My method is about how to get to the pattern. After Passive and Active steps, in the Active – Active state, I reach the center of the case where the remedy is revealed. Because, in the Active –Active step, I penetrate the patient’s core knowingly and scientifically until the simillimum emerges by itself. From here, finding the remedy is easy. The patient might connect his core with other out of place, out of order, and peculiar details from the Passive case witnessing step. The PQRS symptoms start getting connected and emerge as a master key at the whole level. Verbal and non-verbal language begins to come together.
The Active – Active case witnessing step is the grand finale of an open ended exploration where the patient gets to dip into his subconscious and the entire mystery unfolds. He is able to point clearly his own altered pattern. His conscious brain is almost asleep and in his subconscious state, he is able to connect to his non-human pattern. In the sensation method, we get there by relentlessly asking questions and very often, different practitioners end up identifying different remedies based on their own knowledge and experience.
In my case witnessing process, the patient clearly points to the core, to his altered, non-human pattern, so there is no ambiguity. This method is reproducible and it gives you a technique to get to the center of the case. The concepts, and all knowledge is still out there, but practitioners need a map, a direction to get to the destination. In my method, though the Passive state might appear like an unmapped forest, the practitioner can soon get to a mapped territory by undertaking Active and the Active – Active steps and various practitioners can arrive at the same conclusion about the altered pattern, projections, sensations, kingdom, subkingdom, miasm, reaction and compensation. They can arrive at the same simillimum and source. This method forms the complete journey of the scientific and individualized case witnessing where the altered inner pattern drops its veil and it is set free. My method is a phenomenon of initially making scientific efforts during the Passive case witnessing process so that the latter part of case witnessing, Active as well as Active – Active, become intuitively effortless. From here, the healing of a deeply rooted altered pattern occurs.
VS: Are all patients able to lead the case witnessing process and take you to the remedy core?
DC: Out of ten patients, during the Passive step, five will go straight to the PQRS and give me a master key. I am able to get to the materia medica, kingdom, subkingdom, and source of the remedy. The other five patients do not do so, and they need me to guide them. I help them along in to the territory of dreams, fears, phobias, delusions etc. Of these, 2 – 3 patients now are able to lead me to the PQRS and the master key. The remaining patients cannot do so. With them I explore every single dream that they recall so I can get the master key. These patients could be stuck with very few symptoms. I respect their state. I do not push. I tell them that we can explore further next time. If they need urgent care, I would give them a remedy or they could simply wait for the next appointment. But if nothing happens even in the second interview, and I am not able to unlock the core, I explain to them that very likely, their energy and mine are not resonating. I refer them to other homeopaths.
Vs: So the patients and the homeopath have to resonate well together?
DC: Yes, they complement each other. Carl Rogers has said, ‘Two of us, me and my patient, have come together for a purpose, not only to heal him but also to heal me. It is a mutual healing, give and take.’
VS: Rajan, in his synergy method, places symptoms, genius and system on three angles of an equilateral triangle. Does your method have such a picture that could capture the collective imagination?
DC: YES. Replace symptoms with individualization. These could be scattered, unconnected and these emerge in the passive state. Replace the system with the whole, indicating symptoms that are expressed by mind and body together, or holistic symptoms, or PQRS or master key. I allow the patient to come up with his very individual master key. Replace genius with holistic understanding of the remedy simillimum and the patient, and not just his symptoms that are covered by the genius of the remedy.
VS: How about intuitively arriving at a remedy?
DC: This becomes a walking stick for spiritually tuned practitioners. I avoid it. Intuition has to be based on the totality of the available science. We have Buddha and Newton. They both sat under a tree. Buddha searched for how to go beyond gravity (Nirvana) and Newton searched for gravity. Newton had his Aha! moment when an apple fell from a tree. Buddha got his Aha! moment when the last stone appeared. But Buddha sat under the tree for six years and before that he had gained complete knowledge of all the science, philosophy and spirituality that was available to him in that period. While he sat and meditated for six years, all his knowledge coalesced into a unified, intuitive whole. He was not struck by lightning that turned him into an intuitive person. The same with Newton – he was a master of all scientific knowledge available at that time and he was contemplating deeply about a question.
It is the same with yoga. It brings breathing, body, mind and thoughts to a coordinated state by engaging in disciplined daily practice. Only after such a total commitment and total devotion can a yogi aspire to go intuitively into Samadhi. Dhyana and dharana are the first steps.
Intuition, the sixth sense, is based on our five senses. They coordinate and act as the sixth sense. I prefer not to get intuition. I put in systematic and scientific effort at the Passive step. I formulate my questions based on what, how and how much a patient is revealing and then I ask these open ended, non-leading questions during Active and Active – Active steps exactly as per the Organon. I do not predict the end result. The process is human- centric, guided by the patient and in a scientific manner. By following the three steps we arrive at the core of the patient and the core of the remedy.
VS: Passive case witnessing – does it include observing demeanor, facial expressions and features, physiognomy, body language and hand gestures?
DC: My method is known as “case witnessing”, it is not case taking or case receiving. Witnessing means, seeing and reporting something exactly as it is. It is a firsthand account of what I observe / witness. When I take or receive a case, it is as per my needs and knowledge. But when I witness a case, as per the Vipasana meditation technique, I witness the case as it is. It is the same in sub-molecular, sub – atomic space. You can witness but not quantify. So, in the Passive case witnessing step, I simply witness the patient, his expressions and all changes that he shows on the way to going deeper by being completely present with him. His eyes, voice, gestures, whole body language – everything gets involved when the symptom is holistic. Words can fool you. But witnessing at the level of the whole, you cannot be fooled. Just witness the case. Do not receive. Do not take.
VS: How about food cravings and aversions? In modern day societies, people have chosen to educate themselves via television and books because traditional and cultural knowledge of food as nourishment is being lost due to industrialization of food production and loss of familial coherence around food. People have begun to eat what they think is good for them – not necessarily what they crave. And sometimes, they totally give into their craving and throw all ideas of correct nutrition out the door. America is a country full of not under-nourished but mal-nourished people.
DC: I do not go after physical generals like cravings and aversions. If it is important for the patient, it comes up and will involve mind and body associations. Then I pay attention and include it in the totality. What matters is the way he talks about it, connects it with the whole.
VS: If you do not ask many questions, do the patients feel satisfied? Do they feel well examined and take home the notion that as a practitioner, you have paid complete attention to everything that bothers them and to all their complaints? Sometimes, a lot is expected from a homeopath because we tend to be very patient listeners.
DC: I recognize this situation. This happens at a conscious level. During the Passive step, they see that I have not asked any questions. I am just listening, just witnessing. However, at the Active and Active-Active levels, the interaction is truly a designer’s approach. At the end, the patients do feel that I have traveled with them to their subconscious center. They feel content.
VS: What importance do you place on educating the patients about your process?
DC: I explain the process to the patients beforehand. It is important that they are on board so that they would be able to cooperate. I tell them that it is important to understand them as an individual as well as to understand their illness. I welcome them to speak about themselves and whatever is important to them – this happens in the passive step. There is no right or wrong. They are encouraged to tell about what distinguishes them from everyone else and how they handle various stressors in their life. The patient has the right to know what to expect from a homeopathic consultation and treatment. When they become a part of the process, they feel at ease and do well.
VS: How does your method get to the core of patients who stay at the facts level, intellectualize everything, remain in denial, or regurgitate every word that their therapist or some other healer has said to them or whatever they have researched on the internet. They might even go on with their belief systems and projections.
DC: In the very beginning, I try to understand at what level the patient is functioning, and what their chosen mode of defense is. With this understanding, I witness the case. If someone is projecting, I would ask them about the person they are projecting on. Everything they say about whom they are projecting on, is in fact, a reflection of themselves. As a practitioner, we have to respect the patient and whatever he says. It is natural for patients to deploy various defense mechanisms so they can avoid going to the core. Our job is to respectfully recognize, work through and then eventually, with the patient’s full cooperation, cut through the defense and get to the core. This is a journey we undertake together and with full participation of the patient. There is no coercion, interrogation and relentless questioning.
VS: How do you witness cases of children and pre-verbal infants?
DC: Children are very capable directors, actors and storytellers of their inner lives. In the passive case witnessing step, I give them space for going into areas that they are interested in. In the active and active – active state, I explore these areas further. For preverbal infants, I have a five step method: 1. observe the infant, 2. consider the patient’s mom’s observations, 3. mom’s state during gestation and delivery, 4. mom’s mental-emotional-physical state during gestation / delivery and 5. my examination of the infant. I try to find out what is the theme running through these five steps. This becomes my base for making a prescription.
VS: What about patients who are not ready to drop their medications?
DC: The same integrative, holistic approach is taken for these patients. I do not ask them to change or stop their medications – that is the job of their doctor. Medications work on the outside. With homeopathy, when I am able to correct the inner landscape, the need for medications goes away and their doctor will have to reduce the medications. We do not have to fight the medications. We do our healing work alongside and revitalize the VF so that the patients do not have any more need for medications.
VS: Do you advise about lifestyle changes? Hahnemann writes about removal of maintaining causes of disease.
DC: In treating the whole individual, we have to consider the role played by his lifestyle, habits, food, addictions, exercise, hobbies and habits etc. and know that all these are dependent upon the inner patterns of the patient – they are seeking the experiences that have some role to play in their lives. My advice in these areas is a simillimum advice – it is based on what they need. There is no one size fits all advice. Each patient is understood as an individual and whatever changes he needs to make to obtain the full benefit of homeopathic treatment, I offer them advice for those changes. Eventually, my method, “Scientifically intuitive case witnessing process: A journey of three steps” is a designer’s approach and that is my contribution to homeopathy.
VS: I thank you heartily for making this unique contribution to homeopathy. Let us hope that homeopaths from all around will attend your classes, learn about this case witnessing process and add it to their method of understanding their patients as unique individuals and helping them with homeopathy just as Hahnemann intended a couple of centuries ago.