Holding up a Mirror
While I am preparing the patient’s homeopathic take home remedies, I often invite them to read through the description of the key remedy I will be giving them, and all of its disease characteristics. The “Homeopathic Materia Medica” is a compendium of all the homeopathic remedies that have been studied, and integrated into regular practice by homeopaths of generations past.
I do this for a few reasons. One is to help the patient to see that the physical or mental or emotional symptoms which they have been suffering are actually an external entity or disease state, and is something separate from their essential healthy self. The tendency over time in chronic illness is to gradually forget one’s core natural state of health, and to identify more and more with the disease state and its symptoms, sensations, and altered feelings.
Another reason is that this sometimes proves to be a useful exercise in prompting the patient to tell me about other aspects of their illness which had slipped their mind during the consult. Patients will also leave out details which they assume are insignificant to treatment. “That reminds me,” they’ll say — “I used to have cold sores all the time before I had that bad flu last winter.” While the complete disease image is being filled out at this point, it is also a useful exercise for confirming that the image which I based the prescription on still holds up as accurate. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes at this point, the patient will point out so many contradictory symptoms to the image I assumed, that we have to go back and actually change the prescription. A kind of “quality control” is built in to the system here.
Similarly, at this point, the patient may often bring up connections to their family history of disease, and tell me things like “My mother had so many ear aches as a child, that she had to complete grade one at home with a tutor.” The nature of depth treatment includes not only addressing the current disease image, but also all of the latent inherited disease entities which came through the family tree. The more that we can know about the family history, the better. The clearer the image I can see of the patient’s health history, including their family health history, the clearer will be the map of treatment. Having the patient read about the disease images pertaining to them, the more I can help them to understand where they are on the map of health, and where we will be going in their treatment, and why.
One of the most powerful reasons for engaging in this exercise, is to progressively increase the patient’s knowledge of their self. A patient begins to recognize that what they had thought of as their self, is actually a harboured disease entity which is behind the symptoms they have brought in for treatment. By clarifying the distinction between their true self-image, from the image of the disease, it begins to prepare them for the “letting go” aspect of healing, which naturally unfolds after the remedy has completed its curative action. It’s as if I held up a mirror to the patient, and they saw two faces staring back at them.
- An unintentional experiment in the clinic
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