Appreciating the homeopathic process
So, you have decided to try homeopathy after being referred by a friend or reading an amazing article that convinced you it might work. You are ready to book an appointment with a homeopath about your issue of say chronic anxiety and the more immediate problem of burn out and fatigue rather than taking medications, asking for stress leave, risking the flow of your career, and maybe upsetting your relationships in the process. With curiosity and an open mind, hopefully anyways, you would like to see what homeopathy can do instead.
No longer a parts based system, but a whole human being approachThe first thing to remember is that homeopathy is going to be very different than seeing a conventional doctor or a GP. Get out of that mindset that you can only bring one problem or issue to each visit. While a doctor may address you as segmented parts containing diseases and symptoms to fix, a homeopath is going to want to spend more time going over all the symptoms around your issue. They see you as a whole that needs some fine tuning, not a nervous system or a gallbladder that needs to be repaired, removed or replaced.
Also a doctor usually works with the short-term results, so if the symptoms can be altered or reduced quickly, then the person is considered better and all is well. The homeopath is looking at your long-term health, and so giving medications that alter or suppress a symptom without first looking into the original underlying reason for the anxiety or the fatigue is considered a risky short cut. A short cut that can lead to side effects from medications, a need for long term medicine use, or further health complications down the road. The better approach is to address the whole person, and to see that the treatment leads to the best possible long-term outcome for that person. The concept of wholeness is further explained in this article by Judyann McNamara, What is True Healing.
Chronic illnesses may be a reality but the idea that we have to feel worse over time is just not true. We can feel better and be healthier, and adapting and adjusting as we go is something homeopathy has the capacity to help us with.
A collaborative and self-responsible relationship of healthAnother major mindset that needs to change is the relationship between the patient and the practitioner. Going to the doctor we have become used to presenting our problem, being questioned briefly, being examined, getting some tests done, and then we go home and wait for the prescription or referral to a specialist. This is easy from the patient's point of view, yet it is also passive. You don't have to do anything other than show up, and then continue to show up for follow up appointments when they are scheduled. A homeopath will want to see you for the initial consultation, and maybe a second time to clarify their direction in selecting a remedy or support. Then, once you are given the suggestion, they would like you to stay in touch! They actually prefer if you give them feed back on how you are doing and what is happening.
This is the only way the homeopath can know what to do next, or what to do in the case you are struggling with the healing process. Your process and experience are going to be different from another person's, even if you came in with the same issue of chronic anxiety and burnout, so to follow a predefined protocol or therapy is not the optimal for each individual. The homeopath understands how significant the process back to health is for you, and by collaborating with you and following your needs, they can offer the best possible support and tools for you.
This is difficult to accept perhaps, but a homeopath wants to work with you, to hear from you and to know how you are doing.
Self rated health outcomes over generic test resultsUnlike conventional medicine where it is the test result that directs the treatment process, homeopaths prefer to use the self rated health scores of each person. Researchers have found that Self Rated Health tests show the best indicators of overall morbidity (rate of disease) and mortality rates. How many times have you wanted to go to the doctor but you don't because you already know what they will say, "Your test results are inconclusive so I have to conclude that there is nothing wrong with you!" This is an unfortunate development of the current medical system and why the hospitals and clinics are seeing so many patients with pathological diseases such as coronary artery disease, cancer, or arthritis. If they had been able to seek treatment when they first felt something was off ... maybe the functional changes in their body systems could have been avoided and they would have been able to adapt and stay healthier, and avoided the need for medications and for painful, expensive and complex treatments later on.
A homeopath is going to work with you at any stage of the disease process, and the earlier the better for everyone. They trust that you know your own state of health and that you also know when you need support and tools for regaining your health. Think about a space ship that at the start of journey is only a fraction off its course to Saturn, many years later and it has little chance of even seeing Saturn! The earlier the course is corrected, the better chance the ship has to reach its destination.
This leads to self responsibility in health. Sounds daunting perhaps, but think about it. You are the one responsible for your health and healing. Not a doctor, or GP, or a blood test, or a specialist. You. Feels good somehow doesn't it to consider it this way?
An open, accepting space to tell it how it isSince the homeopath is looking at the whole of you, you can pretty much talk about any odd, seemingly unconnected, unusual thing that you want or feel like bringing up. It is distracting to the doctor, they want to stay on point and to keep things symptom related to the part being discussed. Homeopaths on the other hand have been trained to sit in discomfort, to be ok with feeling confused as to the what the patient is describing, and to not judge the person for whatever they may have experienced. It is all part of the homeopathic system of case taking. There is also a fundamental trust that everyone has the ability to heal already within them, even if at the moment it is latent. You are not coming to be fixed, but for tools and support, basically a get-unstuck-agent that will put you back on the road to good health and help you on your path.
Unlike a doctor that takes charge of the treatment process, a homeopath is merely the one to objectively fit together the presenting symptoms to see how they express the whole, like seeing a large unfinished jigsaw puzzle. Then they pattern match what they see in that puzzle image to what remedy or other suggestion can help you the most.
And get it out of your mind that a remedy is going to take over the healing for you. It is just a tool that helps stimulate the body to heal itself, as the body would be able to do naturally before it got stuck, and does all the time when we are healthy. We don't pay attention while we feel great, but what is happening to bring about that great feeling? It is essentially the countless natural and internal processes at work keeping us alive and whole. The body is an amazing phenomenon if we stop to ponder it!
What can you do to get the most out of homeopathy?
The global or whole person action of homeopathy means that when we take a remedy or support we may suddenly feel inspired to eat better, to go to the gym, to buy that house we always dreamed of, or to drop the procrastination that is holding us back, to reach out to friends, or to see our loved ones with greater appreciation. Remember, it is the whole of you that has the potential to improve! And the main complaint that brought you to see a homeopath, the anxiety and burnout, that too improves. And if it does not completely disappear, you can see it differently and discover ways to improve it, whereas before it was stuck, and there was only one possible, off course outcome. I encourage you to get the most of what homeopathy can offer! And to appreciate the journey back to health.
Homeopath and Holistic Practitioner.