Sequential Timeline Therapy – Its History, and How We Practice It Today
Also read: What Is Sequential Therapy?
This is Part 1 of a 3-part series.
Part 2 of 3 : How to create your timeline
Part 3 of 3 : Sequential timeline therapy – What it looks like in real life?
Welcome to today’s live stream. And we’re going to be taking a look at the topic of “Sequential Timeline Therapy”. And I just want to remind you before we get into it, that you can type your question into the comment box below. If you’re watching live, I will try to answer live right back at you. Or if you’re watching this as a recording after the fact, I will incorporate that into a future video. So let me just switch my screen over to my slide.
As I said, we’re talking about “What is ‘Sequential Timeline Therapy’?” And this will actually be the first of three-part videos. And today is we’re going to be looking at the history and how we practice it today from that history. Next week, we’ll get into part two of the practical question of “How to write down your timeline to start your treatment”. And we will conclude the week after that with part three, “What does it look like in real life?” So looking at some case examples, some reactions, some other things that we have to consider in terms of case management.
So this is certainly a very familiar concept, the idea of “peeling the onion”. And that is really the idea that disease exists in layers. And the sequence of treatments starts on the outer layer and progressively works in towards the core. So it’s not too difficult to understand of an analogy. And the way I put it here, the complexities of therapeutics can’t be done “all at once”, but must be sequenced rationally (or one step at a time).
Now, if we give kind of a general outline to the history of sequential therapy, the original seeds we actually find back in Dr. Samuel Hahnemann. If we really read his text closely and really understand the concept of what he was talking about, we’re going to see in just a moment that he actually would not have been against sequential therapy. He already kind of outlined the basis of it. Next, we’re going to move on to Dr. Jean Elmiger who was a French Swiss doctor and homeopath. And in the 1970s, he wrote a book called Rediscovering Real Medicine. He actually wrote it in French. I apologize, I don’t have the French title at the tip of my tongue right now. And then we will finally look at how all of the above was expanded through the work of Steven Decker, Rudi Verspoor and Patty Smith in the 1990s. And then finally, how that research has continued to expand and what that means for our practice of sequential therapy today.
So going back to Dr. Samuel Hahnemann. The main concept that we can find that is really important for our purposes in explaining sequential therapy is (and you’ll find other aspects of this I’ve talked about in a previous video, which was on the three outcomes of medicine) you’ll see that Hahnemann talks about how when you have a medicine, which is not similar to the disease being treated. But as he says, you’ll get that newer, stronger disease suspends the weaker one, and then effectively creates a sequence where now this newer disease would need to be cured first. And then what that will reveal is the older disease, kind of comes up from under the surface of that. And then that needs to be treated second or afterwards. So that’s already implicit in Hahnemann, this idea of sequence and the reason why that’s the case. So that’s really important to understand. And that’s as true as he revealed it then. And it’s true as we practice it today as we go through a patient’s timeline. That has never changed. So as I say, remember that, that is at the basis of everything that we’re going to get into in the next couple of minutes. And I’ll give you just a quick example. So very simple. If somebody has an infectious disease, and then that’s suppressed with an antibiotic, well, we’ve now created a sequence of disease where the antibiotics is now the most present disease (it’s kind of the interface, active disease). And what’s behind that, what we’re going to find underneath after we’ve cured the antibiotics disease, we’re going to find the remnants of that original infectious disease are still there under the surface. So we’ll treat the antibiotics disease now. And then what we’ll find pops up afterwards is the remnants of the antibiotics disease. So there you go, a mini timeline (a mini sequence) right there in a really, a very real life example. The other thing we can attribute to Hahnemann, and this came in the last number of years of his life. So after the bulk of his life that he had spent really revolutionising the concept of medicine and his idea of the law of similars and like cures like and how he applied the whole methodology of homeopathy, that was his first revolution. But then in the last years of his life, you can say he had a second revolution which was all about the “chronic miasms”. Now, he discovered three, let’s call it four, he was calling something “pseudo-psora”, which now we understand to be tuberculosis. He hadn’t quite gotten a name for it yet. He hadn’t quite figured out how it was different from psora. He just knew there was something different there. So he had the three miasms in his discoveries and he was kind of verging on that fourth. Something I wanted to say about Hahnemann, but it slipped my mind. Maybe it’ll come back in a moment.
Now, as I mentioned at the top, we will now go into the 1970s where we had the Swiss doctor and homeopath, Dr. Jean Elmiger. And well, this is the English translation of his book. As I’ve mentioned, I didn’t write down his French title. My French isn’t that good, I focus on English. I apologize for that. And as I say, he was an allopathic doctor. But then he was also trained in homeopathy and another other alternative modalities. And he did something very interesting, which was he used a voll machine, or it’s otherwise known as an electro-acupuncture measuring device. And he used that, basically, to detect in his patients where he was not able to make progress through the usual homeopathic methods. Using this device, he detected a number of blockages to cure in the patient, such as some very distinct iatrogenic blockages such as vaccination shocks that were in their system. He discovered other shocks, other medical shocks and other kinds of shocks. And, as well, he verified Hahnemann’s three miasms, but he extended that sequence into four primary miasms. So kind of where Hahnemann was coming to – the psora, the tuberculosis, the psychosis and the syphilis. And then, Dr. Elmiger, he added in the fifth miasm as well, where we now understand is the cancer miasm. So that as I say, it’s quite an amazing read. It’s very engaging prose and it’s quite a joy to read. If you wanted to look at his book, I know it is so available on Amazon. I believe you have to get the hardcopy. I’ve never seen a Kindle version or an e-version. So anyways, we have to do a bit of old fashioned reading with that one.
And let’s now take Elmiger’s work and we’ll move it forward into the 1990s. That’s where Rudi Verspoor and Patty Smith actually translated his book from the French into the English, and brought his concepts into the English-speaking homeopathic world. [NOTE : Rudi and Patty wrote a brand new book based on Elmiger’s ideas – it was NOT a translation from the French into English.] So they brought forward his concept of the sequential timeline. But they also have expanded it more into the realm of emotional shocks and traumas. So if you are in treatment, if you’re familiar with the NSOL remedy, that’s a huge part of the whole emotional timeline. And we’ll see in the following week’s videos. Of course, we have the very distinct black and white – the physical part of someone’s timeline. If someone’s had a broken bone, or they’ve had a car accident, or some kind of physical trauma – those are very black and white in the sense that we know when they happened. Certain days, certain month, certain year, even the time. We’ll often notice like, “Oh, yeah, this happened at 3pm. And I fell off the ladder and this and this happened.” So that part of the timeline is very black and white. But when we get into the emotional timeline, it doesn’t tend (I mean, it can, but it doesn’t necessarily pinpoint) to us one specific moment in time. But it can tend to occur over a longer extended period of time – days, weeks, months years, where an emotional conflict or trauma is going on over time. So anyways, we’ll get more into that in a future week video. But just to put into context, if you’re familiar with the NSOL and the dropper bottle, that’s what we’re getting out with that remedy. More of that long term kind of trauma, which extends beyond just one point in time. The other thing with Rudi Verspoor and Patty Smith’s work, they expanded Elmiger’s five chronic miasms into the eight that we are treating today. So essentially, there are two chronic miasm per season – spring, summer, fall, winter. Each one of those as far as archetypes, has two distinct miasms. And we will probably do one, or if not a series of videos, on the chronic miasms. There’s a whole world of things we can talk about in there. But just putting this into context, that’s what comes now at the end of the timeline and how Rudi and Patty expanded that. Just as an interesting side note (and we’re going to see this also in the next slide in another form), but somewhere in these years, Rudi had submitted 10 cured cases for a certain homeopathic certification. And he submitted five which were in the classical mode – just based on treating the symptoms. And then he presented five of his cases that he presented in this new sequential mode. And what was interesting, this homeopathic organization, they rejected the five cases from the sequential mode. And the reason I’m bringing this up, what that goes to show is that the whole classical establishment, they’re much more interested in preserving their dogma rather than in revealing and expanding the principles of cure. So, you know, when dogma takes over, the actual purpose of getting results, that something’s gone askew.
And finally, Where are we at today? So we have, as I say, the sequential timeline that’s even rooted all the way back in Dr. Hahnemann’s work. And that remains the ‘backbone’ of how we practice today. And sort of to play on the point I just said about the dogma of classical homeopathy. Going back to Hahnemann again, we have the diseases of constant nature in opposition to the diseases of variable nature. And the dogma of classical homeopathy today is really has gotten itself stuck on the diseases of variable nature. So you’re treating on the basis of symptoms. We’ve spoken to this in previous videos. But as I say, that is a valid aspect of treatment. But as I say, here, it only accounts for perhaps, maybe up to 5% of treatment success and cures in the whole realm of our whole system of treatment. So, as I say, rooting this whole idea of the sequential timeline, and the constant diseases versus the variable disease, the very idea of the timeline is based on the idea of Hahnemann’s concept of diseases of constant nature. So if somebody is in that mode of classical prescribing, they don’t understand the sequential treatment. They, conceptually, can’t validate it. In fact, they criticize it. They fight against it. But it comes down to this concept where Hahnemann distinguished the constant diseases versus the variable diseases. That’s where we really kind of get the grounding for the sequential timeline. And finally, my last point here. Rudi Verspoor and Steven Decker’s work has further expanded (and continues to expand) into the reaches of Anthroposophy, Orgonomy, and even beyond. And with this idea of the sequential treatments still as the baseline of our whole system, we are continuing to reach further and further into how we can help our patients achieve their health goals that these higher and deeper levels of what it means to be a healthy human being. So, as I say, that in itself will be worth probably dozens of videos in the future. I just wanted to point that out here.
So as I said at the top, I am open to answering any questions. If you’re watching live, you can go ahead and enter them into the comment box. Otherwise, I will take up any questions into future videos. And I thank you for joining me today. And, oops, I always forget this little step. Let me just bring myself back on screen again. Say thank you for joining me. I’ll just keep the video live for a moment. I know there’s a delay between when I talk and then when you actually see my video. So if in case anyone’s typing a question, I’ll leave this open. And otherwise I will see you next week.
Part 2 of 3 : How to create your timeline
Part 3 of 3 : Sequential timeline therapy – What it looks like in real life?
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The article in Hpathy that brought me here makes mention of the “dogma” of “classical homeopaths” but it strikes me this is the pot calling the kettle black here.
You model of sequential therapy is predicated upon generalizing an observation of Hahnemanns in his Organon related to a stronger dissimilar disease suppressing a weaker dissimilar disease and then after it’s cured or has run its course the previously suppressed disease returns to run its course.
Now you’re taken this and run with it to the end of a very long line and included anything that may or may not have impacted a system over this long period of time as if it’s a layer? Now this is Dogma in action.
The truth is the biological systems are naturally self-healing and have many complex levels of adaptation and self integrative healing powers at their disposal that more often than not make irrelevant the various insults to the system that happen over time.
You speak of this thing in black and white terms with no apparent appreciation for the adaptive and integrative subtleties as work in living systems.
I’m inclined to think your hypothesis is very mechanical and linear and would belong better in engineering than in healing.
The idea of peeling onions has never appealed to my understanding as a useful model for the healing process.
At the end of the day the law of similars it relative, relative to the totality the homeopath is able to perceive in the patient and relative to the degree of correspondence it holds to the “process” of the natural disease happening through time.
Addressing this “degree of similarity” and it’s various parameters would be a much more fruitful and developmental use of time methinks.
Throwing remedies at events on a timeline imagining these events all homeopathically indicate remedies is at best mechanical.
Look at the work of the best homeopaths of the last couple of hundred years, the number of beautiful homeopathic prescriptions made using this time-line concept are relatively very few, the number made otherwise relatively many.
If you managed to get through this and are open enough to consider my position I could say a lot more but I’d prefer discussion to argument. I am not saying that a time line has no prescribing value at all, I’m only saying it doesn’t come close to addressing the whole person.
BTW a good half-way house for understanding the difference between our positions would be the writing of James Compton Burnett.
Hello Robert Bannan – thank you so much for taking the time to give such well considered feedback. Community and dialogue are the fundamental means through which the scientific process unfolds on its historical journey towards truth. Fortunately for us, truth is infinitely patient, no matter how long the scientific process takes to catch up with it. Truth does not get ruffled by any of the missteps taken by the scientific community, as we stumble around through error, illusion, and dogma on our way towards a greater grasping of eternal truths. Was the law of gravity in operation in the world before the moment that the apple fell onto Newton’s head? Most certainly, yes.
On that note, I have no ego drive to being correct, but merely in being a productive community member who has dedicated his life to helping this scientific process along in the context of healthcare. I am always seeking to expand my own knowledge and understanding towards this end. Truth simply exists, and does not depend on science to officially verify it. Truth is not sitting around waiting for the “ribbon-cutting ceremony” so that it can finally breathe a sigh of relief.
This reminds me of the legal concept which says that “ignorance of the law is no excuse” – that is, when we recognize, understand, and apply the laws of nature to our patients, there are positive health outcomes, and when we do not, they suffer from “iatrogenic” [“doctor-caused”] disease. My personal duty is to serve my patients with the highest degree of truth I can see into and act upon, thus raising up their level of health as a result.
For greater context, also bear in mind that my original post in question was first delivered as a live video broadcast, and so its language and formulations aren’t as precise as I try to be within a more formal written format. Also, the intended audience of that video was a general audience of patients who are seeking a better practical understanding of their own Heilkunst treatment process, without much focus on the more technical language and concepts such as are found in Hahnemann’s Organon. Nevertheless, I am more than happy to raise the bar with you into such technical considerations of the scientific principles and concepts of healthcare.
The scientific method that Hahnemann was tapping into was not simply a matter of concocting some wild hypothesis that turned out to be useful, but a much deeper engagement with eternal truths that the healthy human mind has access to. Eternal laws of nature that are unchanging. We talk about “theories” in contemporary English, but for our purposes, the original Greek word “Teoria” comes closer to expressing the part of the mind that Hahnemann was using. This Greek word – Teoria – means something like “a way or capacity of seeing”, versus the modern English word – Theory – which has more of the connotation of something like “an abstract idea that may or may not turn out to be useful”. Science seeks truth first, utility second.
On reading your response, Robert, I believe I understand what the fundamental conceptual gap between us is – a productive discussion will not be possible while this impedance remains in place. You make reference to Hahnemann’s concept of the stronger dissimilar disease temporarily suspending the weaker disease. This is a correct and fundamental principle to understanding Sequential treatment.
But another point you raise alerts me to where our paths diverge. You say that “…biological systems are naturally self-healing and have many complex levels of adaptation and self integrative healing powers at their disposal that more often than not make irrelevant the various insults to the system that happen over time.”
This is not incorrect at one level of analysis, however it must be taken up at a higher level of contextualization for greater understanding. The context I’m thinking of is the profound distinction that Hahnemann makes between ‘disease’ and ‘imbalance’. The former being the area of health that is subject to cure by “the law of similars”, and the area to be applied in terms of Sequential Timeline therapy (amongst a number of other disease categories). The latter (imbalances) are subject to therapeutic correction by “the law of opposites” – which we know even at an instinctual level when we grab for a blanket or sweater when we are suffering chills.
Your pointing to the “self-healing” power of the organism is governed by the side of the life force that Hahnemann referred to as “the sustentive power” (‘Erhaltungskraft” in Hahnemann’s original German). This side of the life force IS self-correcting and self-healing, as you pointed out. This is where we do best to “let nature take its course”. As the Buddhist monk once advised, “eat when hungry; sleep when tired”. And he didn’t have a doctorate in lifestyle counselling, either!
But when it comes to the precise role of homeopathic medicine, we have to understand the other side of the life force – “the generative power” (“Erzeugungskraft” in Hahnemann’s original German). Little children are famous for asking “where do babies come from?”, and their parents might consider answering “the generative power”, which is also the same answer as to the question “where does disease get lodged in the organism?”. The other expression apropos here related to pregnancy is “you can’t be halfway pregnant”, and likewise, once you have a chronic disease impinged into your generative power, you can’t simply self-heal or wish the baby away by eating a balanced diet. *
So with this understanding the two sides of the life force (‘sustentive’ and ‘generative’), we can see the full healing process, where one might say that “The doctor (i.e. medicine) cures, but nature heals”. In practice, these two jurisdictions of Heilkunst work closely together to fully restore a patient to health, but at the conceptual level, we must hold them apart with a very precise distinction. **
While I agree with your general warning against mechanical and linear thinking (and I would also add to that list “lifeless abstractions”), I would emphatically have to assert that health science IS a scientific activity. You complain of my presentation appearing akin to engineering, but engineering is also a science based on eternal scientific truths and beautiful forms, is it not? A true health practitioner must successfully master their cognitive and diagnostic abilities properly bridged between both their artistic and scientific minds. I can assure you that anyone who tries to apply the concepts of timeline treatment in a mechanical way will meet with continual failure and disappointment.
The therapeutic concepts of Heilkunst ARE very precise – as in the mode of scientific activity, yet the individuality of each patient also needs to be considered in the more artistic mode when it comes to matters such as the general therapeutic relationship between practitioner and patient, and other general issues of case management and prescription. The healthy human mind is actually a functional duality, but perhaps we can reserve that topic for its own stand-alone discussion.
I’ll bring my comments to a close here directed towards some of your own concluding comments. You stated “I am not saying that a time line has no prescribing value at all, I’m only saying it doesn’t come close to addressing the whole person.”. You are mostly correct, although a greater degree of nuance would help our discussion here – strictly speaking, when discussing treatment of the patient’s “time line”, we need to understand that we are in the realm of “disease”, where “the law of similars” is our correct therapeutic principle. From this we further understand that “the law of opposites” is the correct principle to apply to any issue of imbalance found in the patient’s diet, lifestyle, etc.
There is a very important phrase from your comments that needs to be further examined here – “the whole person”. Yes, of course there is a whole person who is the patient sitting before us. But we must be very careful in our concepts and language at this point. The prescription of a particular homeopathic remedy is given to cure a very specific disease. Yes, it is the person who has the disease to be cured, but strictly speaking, the law of similars applies specifically to the disease entity (“wesen” in Hahnemann’s original German), not to the human entity. Hahnemann portrayed the concept of disease very precisely, as a concrete, virtually ‘living’ entity that penetrates into the human being.
A human being, in this sense HAS a disease, and they themselves are not the disease. Think of the very visual metaphor of being infected by a microbe or parasite, where someone correctly says of themselves “I have herpes [virus]” rather than “I AM herpes”. It is the herpes disease that we cure, not the patient in this formulation. To flip this around, the “whole person” is the one who feels well or feels ill. “How do you feel today?”, “Very well, thank you!”. To say this with more technical language – we HAVE herpes as a disease lodged in our generative power, and we FEEL well (or not) as a self-perception of our own sustentive (healing) power.
I’m not playing semantics here, but pointing out some very concrete realities about our physiology in health versus disease. Hahnemann was extremely precise and concrete in his presentation of the concept of “disease”, for which I (as well as my patients over the past two decades) will be eternally grateful. The whole person must be properly balanced and integrated, but those impinging disease entities must be clearly identified and then cured. And yes, they do stack over time exactly the way that Hahnemann said they did.
Teoria 1. Dogma 0.
[* NOTE : in the case of a TRUE acute illness – usually a natural infectious illness such as a basic cold or flu, if the organism is reasonably healthy, it WILL overcome it without any homeopathic medicine needing to be prescribed. This does not contradict the more fundamental discussion here about the inability of the self-healing power to be able to overcome chronic disease.]
[** Without bogging the discussion down at this point, I will briefly mention that there is a third or ultimate jurisdiction in Heilkunst that goes beyond “imbalance” and “disease”, but the details of it would not really add anything to our discussion topic at hand. If our discussion naturally evolves into that domain, I can happily provide more detail at that time. I’m merely mentioning it now so that I don’t appear to “sideswipe” you later seemingly out of left field.]