Shilpa Bhouraskar graduated as a homoeopathic medical doctor in 1997 and runs a busy practice in Sydney, Australia. Based on her clinical experience over the last 16 years she developed her “Stages Concept” that has simplified the practice of homoeopathy. She is a popular teacher and mentor and has trained over five thousand students in 74 different countries through her online homoeopathic academy – The Quest For Simillimum. Shilpa is also the author and creator of a user-friendly homoeopathic software ‘HomeoQuest’. You can find more about her work on her website http://apps.homeoquest.com/ and her blog http://apps.homeoquest.com/blog/homeopathic-case-management/
VS: What do you identify as the reason for your success as a homeopathic practitioner and teacher and what can a beginner homeopath learn from your own growth curve?
SB: This September I complete eighteen amazing years of my homoeopathic journey. If I have to look back and trace the point that changed the entire trajectory of my homoeopathy practice, the turning point in my life and homeopathy, then it will be in 2000-1, the year when I almost gave up homeopathy. So I was trained in classical homeopathy in medical school and started my practice in Mumbai in 1998 under the coaching of some of the most renowned world class teachers as my personal mentors. I started humbly but gradually grew a steady medical practice in the next three years. I mainly attracted children and families. I saw children with lots allergies, earaches, coughs and colds whose parents wanted to avoid antibiotics. I helped their anxious mums managing work and family, and their highly ambitious dads with their chronic conditions. I made tons of mistakes but also had some wonderful cures. The best part was, I had a backstop with my mentors. And I could see that the majority of my successes came from basic classical Hahnemannian homeopathy.
But then there was a turning point in my journey that changed the whole course of my practice. I moved from Mumbai and started working in Nasik, a place around 200 kms from the coast. I decided to work with charity group to help villages where primary health care was miles away. I regularly traveled to tiny rural places on the outskirts of Nasik each week. The headman gave us a room in the village school where we set up our temporary clinic. I still vividly remember my first trip. As we drove in, we could see a group of 50 to 60 patients all anxiously waiting for their turn. We were requested to finish within a couple of hours so we could cover as many villages as possible in a day. I was used to taking these elaborate cases in Bombay and had the luxury of an hour or so with each client, so I knew I had my task cut out. But I never imagined that I would be so completely out of my comfort zone.
To start with, my chronic case taking experience was proving to be completely useless. Most of the patients had some of the gravest acute conditions possible. And I had just a couple of minutes with each patient to pick the best symptoms and make the decision. I struggled to confidently come with one specific remedy that matched the case, so I was heavily relying on repertories. Add to the fact that some patients could not describe the symptoms in detail or in the exact language that I was used to listening, so I was seriously struggling to find the exact translations of their local language in the repertories.
I was already three years in practice then and had produced some really good results in the Mumbai clinic. But I realised that most of my these cases had chronic complaints. And even if there were acutes, I almost always used constitutional remedies at the baseline. Plus, if I had to make a change, I was just a phone call away from my patients. In short I had the luxury of waiting patiently for the action of the acute remedy to stop before I made any changes.
But here there was no way I could adopt that ideal approach, especially when I was pressed for time when confronted with rapidly changing acute states such as pneumonia, typhoid and malaria. There was no way these people could me in between visits. For the first couple of visits I tried to prescribe constitutional remedies that matched the acute states, as some of my mentors had taught me. But it simply did not work. Then I tried some so called acute combinations that were known for certain conditions in frequent repetitions. But that was not as effective. In some the susceptibility was too low. I was seriously struggling. All I wanted was to give them some homoeopathic benefit, so they did not have to travel miles to find the nearest doctor.
I was literally in tears every week and I was close to giving up in frustration and desperation having exploited everything I knew or learned in school and from my mentors. To be fair my own mentors had never been confronted with such situations having practiced all their lives in Mumbai. So I was on my own in a way. But something in me knew that there had to be a way out. There were masters of the past, in the earlier century who were getting results in such cases. I knew I was missing something vital here. So I pushed through my frustration to look for resources to check out what these people did. Finally I found my answers. It was through one of the most unconventional, unclassical approaches of remedy selection and prescription in some of the archived cases and in Boenninghausen’s lesser writings. And things started to slowly make sense to me. I decided to start implementing those approaches and posology.
I also created a basic search engine tool with my partner Atul’s help to churn these old case studies by Boger and Boenninghausen to help me prescribe some of these obscure prescriptions. I was working in the most un-classical way. But it didn’t matter because it was working. The change in management had a dramatic effect on me and my patients. It opened my eyes to a whole new spectrum of homeopathy that I seriously did not know existed.
It gave me the permission and the confidence to explore and discover hidden tools and gems of these past masters who worked at the grassroots and handled cases in the trenches that I was looking at. I began to realise the real scope of classical approaches, when it worked and when it did not. And more importantly, what to do about it. This understanding became the seed for my stages template – a diagnostic tool to find the best approach to match your patient so you can give them the best potential of homeopathy. And that basic search engine that helped me find the remedies hidden in those case studies became the prototype for my HomeoQuest Software.
At the end of that year, I was able to help over a thousand patients successfully in that rural clinic. And today I attribute all my success to those farmers and their families who trusted me and helped me realise the real scope and potential of homeopathy.
And here I am 18 years later. I have rebuilt my practice and started from scratch five times across three different cities in India and twice after I moved continents before settling in Sydney Australia. In the course of this time I have worked with tens of thousands of patients from every walk of life from farmers in rural India to corporates in Sydney Australia. And it’s been such a crazy crazy ride. I have used all different kinds of homoeopathic approaches, I have coached, mentored and trained over 16,000 doctors and practitioners in CAM worldwide through my homoeopathy network and Online Academies. My members come from 74 countries and I provide them tools and resources and connect them with leaders in all kinds of homeopathic approaches through my courses. My homeopathy network and Homeoquest program is impacting hundreds and thousands of patients in little pockets around every continent on the planet through these wonderful practitioners that I am blessed to connect with. It’s been an epic ride! And it just goes on. I have been grateful to build this impact. So it’s bit of a celebration now coming up to my 18th year.
What I can say to beginners is to set yourself free. Give yourselves the permission to expand beyond your classical toolkits that you learned in school. Set yourself for new challenges and new growth. Be open to experimentation with obscure approaches when your favourite approach does not work. Keep experimenting wit approaches beyond your theory books. Please do not take anything at face value because someone said so or thought so. Find opportunities to brainstorm with experts and get mentors who are out there in the field and working with the kind of patients that you want to reach and impact. Real homeopathic learning actually happens in your clinics, beyond classrooms and seminar cases. And real healing is not limited to a single simillimum. So just go out there, experiment, connect with like minded people and nurture your passion for creating real results.