– A Summary of a Motivational Seminar for the Budding Homoeopaths
Every intern is eager and wired up to set up his practice. They simply can’t wait to visualize a flourishing clinic with a string of trusting patients who are far too ready to volunteer unsolicited testimonials to attest the infinite amount of relief the doctor has been able to render to their multiple maladies. As the needle of enthusiasm rises, innumerable questions and doubts begin to rev up like a noisy engine. ‘How to begin from scratch? What would be the suitable set up like? How long will be the waiting period? What about unforeseen delays? How much would be the cost and what fee would be cost-effective? How would the potential patients know about the new clinic?’ These are some of the questions that assail every budding homoeopath. The other song conceptualized and organized this seminar on the 14th September, 2014 on its premises, with a view to furnishing appropriate answers and solutions to a plethora of such questions and problems which beset the inexperienced beginner. The panel of expert speakers included Dr. Dinesh Chauhan, Dr. Munjal Thakar, Dr. Shachindra Joshi and Dr. Vinayak Patkar.
Dr. Dinesh Chauhan, set the ball rolling by throwing a shaft of light how he himself set up his practice against formidable odds and what strategies he adopted to sustain the practice and shore up its future viability. He emphasized how his apprenticeship under Dr. Rajan Sankaran and Dr. Farokh Master enriched his competence. Though he hailed from a business family, with a legitimate orientation to profitability, he assured the participants not to worry too much about the paucity of finance to begin with. He himself launched into practice on a very meager capital investment.
Sincerity, hard work and constant study paid rich dividends. Today, he has a busy practice in Vile Parle and is a popular speaker both locally and abroad. He has also authored 3 books which have been translated into several languages. His insights into the methodology of Homoeopathy have been widely acclaimed. Goal setting for the beginner, he said, is very important. You need to have a clear vision and a mission which can translate into reality. Every beginner has to build his foundation on this solid bedrock.
Further guiding the generation of young homoeopaths, he said that if their trust and sincerity towards profession is established, it does not matter where a person starts his clinic. Where one starts practice holds little relevance, it is all a play of homoeopath and his trust in his profession and himself. He quoted an example. Dr. Sankaran often exemplifies that despite 20,000 jeweler shops in Jhaveri bazaar (South Mumbai), each of the shops earns more than any other jeweler shop outside the locality. The key to success lies in infusing Homoeopathy with your dedication and depth. The practitioner should always remember that one should not sell oneself, but should sell Homoeopathy. Dr Sankaran asserts that if you are equipped with these values, if you practice Homoeopathy in the middle of Amazon forest, people would still approach you for disorders which afflict them.
Dr. Dinesh then started talking about the vital question of when to start one’s practice. It is well said by a business tycoon (who is also the head of a management institute) that the difference between an MBA and homoeopath (though they both are consultants) is that an MBA will never compromise on his value and worth once he enters the market. Unfortunately the homoeopath is always willing to bargain and compromise to appease the opposite party. The homoeopath, on the other hand always bargains to satisfy the opposite person. Hence, it is important to first create one self and to start practice once one is totally ready.
To have a successful start, it is important to speak about what one knows loud and clear so as to demonstrate one’s knowledge. Giving handouts of things written by one, so as to create awareness among the masses is one way of getting people to know about you. Here, it is important to talk and write about only what one knows and is confident about.
Dr. Dinesh then said that one’s clinic should also reflect one’s desire, taste and unique style. He then discussed some things every homoeopath should do at the start of his practice. He must explain his way of practicing Homoeopathy to his patients. The patient must also know what and why the doctor esquires about, even his dreams during the case-taking interview, and explain in detail the journey of and through the follow ups. It makes a lot of difference if a doctor calls up and asks the patient how he is feeling. This will instill a lot of faith and trust for you in the patient and will encourage him to refer his near and dear ones to you for treatment. The patients always want their doctor to be honest. True answers are always appreciated.
Besides, one should also write one article every 3-6 months on any topic which you feel will help the patients and which is also close to your heart. Conducting an awareness program for the patients where some intricacies of homoeopathic practice are discussed goes a long way in building rapport with the patients. Only if the patient is thoroughly convinced that you offer the best to him, will he be convinced to refer more people. A visual demonstration of the results is always more impressive and effective. Hence, it also helps if we are to keep the photographs of before and after treatment in the clinic where they are visible to the patient, of course taking care to see that the identity of the patient in the photographs is well masked.
It is important to have healthy discussions time and again with your colleagues, those practicing Homoeopathy as well as ones who do not. This will not only enhance our knowledge and keep us abreast of the latest developments in medical fields but will also help develop a healthy equation with our counterparts.
In short, Dr. Dinesh laid out the 3 steps to success as:
- Spot your uniqueness
- Stay with it
- The universe will get it for you
Dr. Munjal Thakar, an experienced and a senior homoeopath practicing at Ahmedabad and also a part of the team at the other song, took up the podium next. He started off by talking about his journey of practicing Homoeopathy and how sheer determination helped him set up a flourishing practice in a city where he was known to none. According to Dr Munjal building a homoeopathic practice is like “taking a bull by the horn”. He says he addresses it as bull because of the fear that every fresh homoeopath goes through after his internship and setting out to set up his own practice. The only option is to face this bull; the bull either injures us or we are able to ride it successfully. Often it is just the fear of the bull which causes only a few to practice from amongst a batch of 100 students who pass out every year from each college. He says that every practitioner has to challenge his bull sooner or later. What helps us get through it is to perceive our strength and to capture it.
The first step along the journey is to define what one wants to accomplish, to define an objectively quantifiable goal and then to put in unifocal efforts to achieve it. It is important not to waiver along this journey and to keep trusting one’s efforts and the universe. Once that is established, we have to keep pouring our heart and soul into it.
We should be available for our patients round the clock and assure them that we are completely for them. We should hone our communication skills. Do not ever hesitate to call up a patient and ask how he has been doing and especially to call up patients who have failed to follow up after a while and to ask them what has gone wrong.
Determinants that help the patient stay with us are relief in his suffering, satisfaction with the services provided from our end, and the trust in the physician. It is this trust and the communication which make the patient confident that his relatives will too be under good care if referred to us. On the other hand, it is equally vital for us to understand the chief reasons for the patients dropping out. The major reason for this often is the inability to alleviate the patient’s suffering. Also, if the patient stays quite a distance away from the clinic, he may lose consistency in follow up and may drop after a while. It is also important that the patient does not have a false idea or perception about you or your ways of practice or about Homoeopathy. It too can be one of the reasons why patients drop out. Besides, it is important that we should never deny a patient’s perception of a situation. After all it is a reality to him, it is his suffering. Do not contest a patient’s perception. Care and pay detailed attention to every complaint that the patient puts forth.
The faith that a patient has in his doctor is the most crucial aspect for any doctor’s practice. We should put in continued efforts and strengthen our communication to see that we never lose that. Patient’s perception is vital to keep up this faith and trust. How the patient perceives us is very important. Sometimes to a patient, the facts are irrelevant, only his perception rules. And the perception of the patient is largely based on our interaction with him. Appearance plays a big role in the patient’s perception about us. If the patient is able to respect you and trust you, only then will he be able to confide his suffering in you. So, it is important that we groom ourselves. It is as simple as a child who refuses the bar of the best chocolate when offered to him without the colourful wrapper with the brand thereon.
Similarly, it is important that we create a pleasant and compatible ambiance in our clinic. There should be a receptionist or two to make with the patient as soon as he steps through the clinic and make him feel welcome. This not only creates a good impression but makes a patient feel confident that he is in good hands right from the moment he steps into the clinic.
To build up one’s practice, it is very important to devote some time to networking. For this, we have to discover our non-medical strengths and connect through people through those. We should also build meaningful relationships with people outside our fraternity and build genuine relationships with integrity. Giver’s gain is the golden rule of networking, so we should give in every form to others, only then it will come back to you tenfold. It is also important to donate your good wishes, skills and services, love, compassion and money to the less fortunate. And also important, never envy your colleagues.
Dr. Munjal then stated that a homoeopath should especially look into these aspects as they constitute and expedite his success:
- Create a logo – It is a memory hook that links you to people.
- A website – create an artistic website detailing your approach and your work.
- Create clinic ambiance as per your taste.
- Train the staff and the assistants to reflect your work culture and ethics.
- Put up a notice board with information that you want to convey to the patients when they are waiting for their turn at the clinic.
Dr. Munjal said that he has always idolized and practiced the 3B Model which helped him become successful – BELIEF, BEHAVIOR and BUSINESS. He firmly believes that till your belief system is not in alignment with your goal, you will not succeed. Your belief system is your support, hold on to it. If you have never failed you will never be successful as you will never be trained in how to tackle failures. Work on your belief system, know your intentions well and to strengthen them emulate successful people.
A strategic division of time is very important. Dr. Munjal said that he distributes his time and efforts as 50% towards clinic, 20% to belief and 50% to networking. He quoted Steve Jobs for this, ‘You can’t connect the dots looking forward, and you only can connect them looking backward. So you have to trust the dots that they will somehow connect in the future. You have to trust on something, your gut feeling, your destiny, your karma, or whatever because believing the dots will connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart even if it leads you off the well known roads.’ Last but not least, he warned his young colleagues that this was not an easy path free from all obstacles. The secret of this journey is to be patient, confident. One should be able to turn adversities into opportunity.
Dr. Shachindra Joshi, a Consultant and Faculty at the other song fulfilled his childhood dream of flying through Homoeopathy, though not as a pilot as was his earlier ambition but as a very ambitious assistant pilot. It was his determination and passion to fly which helped him practice Homoeopathy successfully. Now he flies to every country where Homoeopathy is practiced, flying at his own time, according to his choice of airlines and lives absolutely close to the dream of dreams. He stated that every homoeopath can connect to his dream and apply it positively to add value to his career.
There is an old saying ‘A rolling stone gathers no moss’ which holds true here, so stay stable in a place which you feel is right. You must attend all possible lectures, sessions and work with people who give you a good opportunity to learn and gain as much knowledge as possible. Use your quality of being social by attracting people and strengthen your communication through any verbal, written or pictorial source. Punctuality and availability are the most important qualities for developing a good practice. It is also important to dispense medicines hygienically with correct labeling and instructions to be followed. Treating acutes will help patient develop the trust and faith in you. We should take time to explain to our patient our evaluation of their complaints and the scope and prognosis after every few months.
CODE OF CONDUCT is of utmost importance which includes:
- Medico – legal ethics
- Professional indemnity
Any doctor should remember that while examining a minor or a patient of the opposite gender, you should always consult in the presence of a relative or an assistant. Your professional conduct should be such as to be not liable to any suspicion or indecent disposition. Never get up and console the patient while they get emotional and weep during case- taking. Give them their space and always maintain distance and professional objectivity.
Do not over treat or under treat the medico-legal cases and document everything. As your practice grows you can apply for a professional indemnity insurance, which takes care of your legal obligations in case a person sues you. All your original papers with correct and complete documentation are important for this.
Dr Vinayak Patkar, a renowned practitioner from Mumbai was the last of the speakers. He emphasized all point elaborated earlier with examples from his experience. Many homoeopaths are very anxious about the results at the start of the practice. But he said that we have to be patient. He enlightened the audience with an important note from Dr. Hahnemann’s writings where he has shared his views on charging for the consultation and clearly states that first consultation should equal at least a month’s medicine. He has said that, “As soon as you get reputation and confidence with the public and you demand fees in accordance with their financial positions, no one will refuse to pay his contribution and will always bring it to him.” Homeopathy should be the choice of a patient not an option.
In the ultimate analysis, every enterprise is driven by a set of values which keep animating its progress through the trajectory of time. Slow and steady definitely wins the race. Beginners should always keep despair and dejection at bay. Sometimes, setbacks and problems outstare you to test how confident and persevering you are. If you don’t buckle and sag, the same problems and setbacks morph into opportunities leading you to a steady career graph of success and pursuit of excellence.
About the speakers:
Dr. Dinesh Chauhan practices classical Homoeopathy in Mumbai, India and is well known for his pediatric cases. Insightful and passionate about homoeopathy, he is one of the most influential figures in today’s homoeopathic world. He delivers seminars in various countries and is a key lecturer in courses organized by Homoeopathic Research and Charities, The Other Song, and WISH along with Dr. Rajan Sankaran and his team. One of the main focuses in his teaching is his pioneering work on the case taking process, which he describes as “the Scientifically Intuitive Case Witnessing Process.” This method is entirely scientific and easy to reproduce. Dr. Dinesh heads the ABJF foundation (Non-profit organization) with his wife Dr Urvi Chauhan where Indian Homoeopaths are taught on non-profit basis.
Dr. Munjal Thakar is a top-ranking graduate from Mumbai University & a postgraduate from Sardar Patel University. In the year 2000 he established SIMILIA-THE CLASSICAL HOMEOPATHY CLINIC. His constant endeavour to create lasting healing results in life-style disorders like hypertension, diabetes & obesity led him to establish SIMILIA LIFE-STYLE DISORDER CLINIC in 2012. At the life-style disorder clinic, patients with life-style disorders are helped systematically to make shift to healthier lifestyle. He is an Asst. Prof & Guide for Post-graduate studies in Homeopathy at the Ahmedabad Homeopathic Medical College, Consultant and Visiting Faculty at ‘the other song’ -International Academy of Advanced Homeopathy, Mumbai.