There are other ways to approach a case, and the one that we particularly appreciate is what we at NYSH call “experiential homeopathy”; that is, helping the patient reveal the source of the remedy they need. Some patients “live” in a place that can be described as being almost consciously aware of the source of the remedy they need, and they reveal their source very easily. One could say that their subconscious awareness is almost as strong as their conscious state. Once we ask them to close their eyes they begin describing, in a nonsensical and fantastical way, the environment and characteristics of the source of the remedy they need. All homeopaths have experienced some of these amazing cases and though I love to write them up and share the experience, I take no credit for clever case-taking. I always joke with my students that even a non-homeopath could take these cases if they simply are quiet and allow the patient enough opportunity to describe what they “see”. These patients are at the 10M level or above.
However, our task as homeopaths is to help all the patients, not just patients who are 10m or above. Most of our patients will need a lower potency, most commonly 30C, 200C or 1M, because they live more in their conscious minds than in the subconscious. Our work with this case-taking tool is based on the work of Divya Chhabra who teaches homeopaths how to help any patient “Leap to the Source” through the five senses, as she calls it. Divya comes to teach in NYC usually once a year and her seminars help us learn her technique that enables almost any patient to reveal the source. Her technique has propelled homeopathy forward in a profound way. I remind my students that although Divya’s work is amazing, they must find their own way when using this system. If we believe in individuality for the patient as a principle on which homeopathy is based, we have to accept the fact that as individual practitioners, we will all have to find our own way of helping the patient reveal the source, even if the system is based on Divya’s method.
Many of the cases in this issue are good examples of patients revealing the experience of their source, but as you will see, each homeopath’s style varies. A couple of these cases are typical of the 10M type of case (I Feel Fragmented and A Leap into the Sea), while other examples display the technique or tricks that were necessary to help the lower potency patients reveal their source as well. The most important thing is to make the patient feel relaxed enough to allow themselves to say foolish things and describe what they see without self-editing. This sounds easier than it is – years ago I had my case taken by Divya with fantastic long lasting results, but because of my own self consciousness and my own self-editing, she had to take my case three times before I was able to reveal the source! Thankfully I am probably more stubborn and more difficult than most patients, and thankfully she had the patience and tenacity to put up with my resistance and get a result. Two things are important to remember; one is that you can always retake the case so just relax and do your best, and retake if necessary. The other is that the results are worth the trouble. A true simillimum is a profound and indescribable experience. I teach my students from the start that there is indeed a true simillimum for each patient (it is NOT a myth as some homeopaths suggest), and our intention must be to find that special remedy. We cannot be satisfied with a partial result when profundity is within our reach.
The Homeopathic Toolbox
All of this work at NYSH is taught along with the study of and practice with the repertory, and the study of acute prescribing. Repertory work is mandatory at NYSH and the students are tested on the repertory at mid-term and final exams each year. In the clinic, students are allowed to analyze the case with whichever method they prefer to use. But it is crucial for everyone to learn all of the case-taking methods, so they can select the proper tool to use in each case. In some cases the patient cannot go to the “experience of the source”, so using symptoms which can be repertorized and combined with big ideas will be the only way to find the correct remedy. Conversely, if a patient can close his/her eyes and describe the remedy they need through their sensual experiences in life and dreams, of course we would embrace this result.
We have heard that the New York School of Homeopathy is sometimes incorrectly labeled a “sensation” school, because we embrace newer methods of case-taking. First of all, sensation is not a word used even by Rajan Sankaran anymore, even though it was he who had developed that system in the 1990s. He now calls his method of working “Synergy”, meaning he combines all of his knowledge and experience together with the experience of homeopaths throughout history. We should all be working synergistically by using the tried and true information from the old masters and current colleagues, while embracing new methods of case taking and analysis.
There is a great deal of criticism and resistance regarding the new methods of case-taking. This comes from critics with a more fundamentalist view of homeopathy and homeopathic education, who have not experienced the profound success that occurs when a patient reveals the “experience” of the source of the remedy. At NYSH we believe that students need to learn all methods of case taking and analysis in order to be prepared for working with real, live, patients. I see no point in withholding information from students in the name of “Classical Homeopathy.” I am certain that Hahnemann would be embracing the new work that many of us do in order to find the true simillimum or “to cure as it is termed.” The medical art of homeopathy, and homeopathic education, should always be growing larger, not smaller, and needs to be expansive in scope, never restrictive.
About the author
Susan Sonz has been the principal teacher and director of the New York School of Homeopathy since 1998, and she works and studies with many distinguished homeopaths in the international homeopathic community. She is very proud to be training excellent professional homeopaths through the undergraduate school at NYSH and the internship program called GAP (Graduate Apprentice Program).