In some ways, I hold a unique position within the homeopathic world. I’m deeply involved and my work is fairly well known because of my introductory book Impossible Cure, but I am not a practitioner. Although I studied homeopathy for several years and practiced part-time for a couple of years, I quickly realized that my role is as a promoter, writer, activist, and educator to the general public. For me, homeopathy is not a source of income, but rather, is a cause I support. And as many of you know, my devotion to this cause arises from the fact that my son was cured of an “incurable” disease – autism – thanks to our marvelous healing art.
From this vantage point, sitting both within and without the homeopathic world, I watch the various factions in homeopathy go about their customary internal wrangling. Some things never do change, and perhaps they never will! But I also consistently see a few problems that I believe need repair in order to maintain the health of homeopathy, especially in the West.
First and foremost is the shabby homeopathic care that many homeopaths themselves receive and, as a consequence, their poor health. I rarely meet a homeopath that has a homeopathic practitioner other than his or herself. In fact, these days I like to ask homeopaths directly: Do you go to a homeopath? Invariably, the answer is a sheepish no. To paraphrase the old adage – the homeopath who treats his or herself has a fool for a homeopath. In fact, I have discovered that most homeopaths treat their own family members too. Whatever happened to the ideal of the objective observer?
On top of this, I have found that when homeopaths do opt for treatment by another homeopath (usually when they have become seriously ill), they often do not follow their homeopath’s advice and tend to change homeopaths frequently. Why? The bottom line, I believe, is that homeopaths tend not to trust other homeopaths.
Perhaps this is an intrinsic miasmatic problem that emanates from the critical nature of Hahnemann. Whatever its origin, however, the net effect is at least two other problems that tend to plague the homeopathic community: burnout and self-destructive behavior.
Think about it. If you can’t trust another homeopath, then you’re not going to entrust your patients’ care to them. As a result, homeopaths in the West rarely enter into joint practice arrangements in which they agree to cover for one another. Each homeopath stands alone, trying to provide 24/7 care for their patients – an impossible task and a certain recipe for overload, stress, and once again, ill health. In the end, patients and practices suffer.
A distrust of other homeopaths also fosters a commonly accepted behavior in the homeopathic world: bashing of other practitioners. As misguided as the allopathic world is, you will rarely see a doctor publicly maligning another doctor, no matter what they think of them. In fact, this “professional courtesy” is taught in medical schools. Homeopaths would do well to follow this example, for the good of our profession. Let’s keep our wrangling amongst ourselves. And please – let’s keep it professional and based on homeopathic methodology, not personal.
Dear homeopaths, I care about you. Because of my book and other writings, people correspond with me every day asking for advice and referrals. I would like to be able to refer them to practitioners who are healthy and happy. I am also trying to convince more and more people to use our beloved medicine. But how can Homeopathy expand and serve the world if its practitioners are unhealthy islands of stress who bicker in public and confuse their patients in the process? I can’t count the number of times panicked patients have written to me when they’ve read dire pronouncements online and now fear that they must change homeopaths, even if their case is progressing nicely.
Please seriously consider what I am saying. First, select a homeopath for yourself, and once you do, stick with him or her and be a good homeopathic patient. Follow the advice you give to your own patients!
Second, band with other homeopaths in your area and set up joint-practice arrangements. Your patients will thank you and ultimately, your body will too. By doing so, you may also learn what I have discovered over the years – that almost every homeopath has his or her weaknesses and strengths and deserves courtesy and respect. Let us learn to help one another. Let us be whole and let us be healed.