Method

Language
English
Type
Paperback
Publisher
B. Jain
Author(s) Alastair C. Gray
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What are the the different methods of prescribing in homeopathy? Why is homeopathic medicine practiced so differently world wide, from one country to another, from one city, one village, one street, one consultation room to the next? It is not through any lack of tradition, research, evidence or rigour, all of which homeopathic medicine has in abundance. Rather, it is about interpretation of the key and fundamental principles of homeopathy and ultimately the immediate needs of the client and patient sitting in the consultation room in front of that practitioner. In order to take in and integrate this broad landscape, this book explores the historical, theoretical and practical application of the major methods employed by homeopaths across the globe.

More Information
SubtitleExploring the breadth, context and application of different clinical approaches in the practice of homeopathy
ISBN9782874910210
AuthorAlastair C. Gray
TypePaperback
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2012-04-06
Pages450
PublisherB. Jain
Review

This book review is reprinted from Volume 25, Number 3, Year 2012 edition of the Homoeopathic Links - International Journal for Classical Homeopathy

Reviewed by Peter Fraser

Alastair Gray finds the multiplicity of ways in which we work a difficulty for himself and particularly for students. He has written this book to help homeopaths and students to better understand the various ways in which homeopathy is practiced. Like the first volume in the series it also hopes to define best practice in response to the attacks of skeptics and the uncertainties of students and practitioners.

The first difficulty with his approach is that he starts with the methods themselves and not with the principles that lie behind them. The most important, the most characteristic thing about § 2 of the Organon is the last phrase: "on easily comprehensible principles." There are many different forms of energy medicine but homeopathy differs from them in that it can be summed up in three simple principles: like cures like, the single remedy and the minimum dose. These apply as they stand but also have deeper meanings and further implications. The single remedy leads directly to the concept of the totality of symptoms and this is the question that Gray believes lies behind the different approaches and so is the one he looks at in the book.

In the article by Richard Pitt appended to the concluding chapter, Pitt says: "In homeopathy it may be necessary to ask whether too much weight is given to the influence of certain individual practitioners as opposed to the collective wisdom of homeopathic science." Gray has ignored this question and decided to define the different methodologies he describes by their most notable practitioners. This is unhelpful in that it personalizes and fragments the different approaches and makes them seem much more different and oppositional than they really were. Kent could be a keynote prescriber or a therapeutic practitioner when it was appropriate. Clarke was a classical homeopath, a keynote prescriber, a pioneer of group analysis and used many other techniques. Hering is only mentioned in the chapter on isopathy, yet he was as classical as Kent and proved the remedies, using them in a homeopathic way not isopathically.

One should always hold absolutely true to one's own beliefs but be completely respectful of one's fellow practitioners and their methods. This is a principle that homeopaths need to be aware of. To a large degree it is something that Gray has been true to in this book. A number of chapters are written by practitioners who have a special understanding and experience of the method that is being described. They can therefore describe the method in a positive way and, on the whole, the book is positive about each of the methods. There are two exceptions. The chapter on polypharmacy consists mostly of the arguments against it and the chapter on Kent is extremely antagonistic. While every other area is described by someone who is an advocate of the method or philosophy, to describe the influence of Swedenborg Graychose Francis Treuherz who is known for his antipathy to Swedenborg and who is often misleading in his description of what Swedenborg taught and how it influenced homeopathy. Swedenborg was probably the most significant scientist in Sweden at a time when Sweden was at the very center of European science. His mysticism may have been entirely at one with his science but it is his science that explains and clarifies homeopathy and which was attractive to so many homeopaths.

Ian Watson in his book on methodologies, which Gray justly praises, starts with "anyone who has an interest in homeopathy and familiarity with its basic principles." Tyler is also quoted and the very title of her work Different Ways to Find the Remedy defines what should have been the focus of this book and sadly is not. She says: "in homeopathy the Remedy is the thing." This is what all great homeopaths have acknowledged and worked towards and the best of them have always used as many techniques as they could learn, in order to find the remedy. If a fair-haired child with an earache is weeping and clinging to her mother, a prescription of Pulsatilla may be fully justified with minimal confirmatory information and, given the principle of the minimum dose, this would be more homeopathic than a much more penetrating case-taking and analysis. This is not to say that every homeopath must come up with the same remedy. Each patient is individual as is each homeopath and each healing path is a unique combination of patient, disease, and practitioner.

One of the important concepts that is not addressed in this work is that of "what is to be cured?" It is the question of "what is the totality" that Gray considers to be the thing that is distinct between all the different methods. However, it is the question of what is to be cured that leads directly to the defining of what constitutes the totality. Looking at the totality without referring back to what is to be cured leads to an appearance that the choice of totality is at the whim of the practitioner rather than guided by principle. Our predecessors recognized what needed to be addressed and prescribed accordingly. A person with an acute cold would be treated for that; a person with a deep personal, emotional crisis would be treated for that.

Further modifying this is the question of what is curable and what is not. It is a question that was of enormous importance to Hahnemann as well as to Kent and his associates. It is one that has very much been ignored or avoided in contemporary homeopathy. Kent would never have dreamed of offering a deep acting remedy in a case that he saw as incurable. Vithoulkas has done us a great service in reminding us of this, particularly in Levels of Health, and it would have been helpful to have had some discussion of this issue included in the book'.

This work has interesting discussions of many of the ways that homeopathy is and has been practiced. For the experienced practitioner or teacher it does not include much that they did not already know; for the uncertain and bewildered student it is probably too complicated to clarify the range of methods in use in homeopathy. The real problem with it though is that it turns priorities upside down. The famous practitioners appear to be more important than the methods and the methods appear to be more important than the simple question of finding the remedy. This approach in turn makes the various methods seem to be more different than they really are. As a homeopath I use all of the methods described here. They form a continuum and are part of the work I do, which is simply to find the remedy.

Review

This book review is reprinted from Volume 25, Number 3, Year 2012 edition of the Homoeopathic Links - International Journal for Classical Homeopathy

Reviewed by Peter Fraser

Alastair Gray finds the multiplicity of ways in which we work a difficulty for himself and particularly for students. He has written this book to help homeopaths and students to better understand the various ways in which homeopathy is practiced. Like the first volume in the series it also hopes to define best practice in response to the attacks of skeptics and the uncertainties of students and practitioners.

The first difficulty with his approach is that he starts with the methods themselves and not with the principles that lie behind them. The most important, the most characteristic thing about § 2 of the Organon is the last phrase: "on easily comprehensible principles." There are many different forms of energy medicine but homeopathy differs from them in that it can be summed up in three simple principles: like cures like, the single remedy and the minimum dose. These apply as they stand but also have deeper meanings and further implications. The single remedy leads directly to the concept of the totality of symptoms and this is the question that Gray believes lies behind the different approaches and so is the one he looks at in the book.

In the article by Richard Pitt appended to the concluding chapter, Pitt says: "In homeopathy it may be necessary to ask whether too much weight is given to the influence of certain individual practitioners as opposed to the collective wisdom of homeopathic science." Gray has ignored this question and decided to define the different methodologies he describes by their most notable practitioners. This is unhelpful in that it personalizes and fragments the different approaches and makes them seem much more different and oppositional than they really were. Kent could be a keynote prescriber or a therapeutic practitioner when it was appropriate. Clarke was a classical homeopath, a keynote prescriber, a pioneer of group analysis and used many other techniques. Hering is only mentioned in the chapter on isopathy, yet he was as classical as Kent and proved the remedies, using them in a homeopathic way not isopathically.

One should always hold absolutely true to one's own beliefs but be completely respectful of one's fellow practitioners and their methods. This is a principle that homeopaths need to be aware of. To a large degree it is something that Gray has been true to in this book. A number of chapters are written by practitioners who have a special understanding and experience of the method that is being described. They can therefore describe the method in a positive way and, on the whole, the book is positive about each of the methods. There are two exceptions. The chapter on polypharmacy consists mostly of the arguments against it and the chapter on Kent is extremely antagonistic. While every other area is described by someone who is an advocate of the method or philosophy, to describe the influence of Swedenborg Graychose Francis Treuherz who is known for his antipathy to Swedenborg and who is often misleading in his description of what Swedenborg taught and how it influenced homeopathy. Swedenborg was probably the most significant scientist in Sweden at a time when Sweden was at the very center of European science. His mysticism may have been entirely at one with his science but it is his science that explains and clarifies homeopathy and which was attractive to so many homeopaths.

Ian Watson in his book on methodologies, which Gray justly praises, starts with "anyone who has an interest in homeopathy and familiarity with its basic principles." Tyler is also quoted and the very title of her work Different Ways to Find the Remedy defines what should have been the focus of this book and sadly is not. She says: "in homeopathy the Remedy is the thing." This is what all great homeopaths have acknowledged and worked towards and the best of them have always used as many techniques as they could learn, in order to find the remedy. If a fair-haired child with an earache is weeping and clinging to her mother, a prescription of Pulsatilla may be fully justified with minimal confirmatory information and, given the principle of the minimum dose, this would be more homeopathic than a much more penetrating case-taking and analysis. This is not to say that every homeopath must come up with the same remedy. Each patient is individual as is each homeopath and each healing path is a unique combination of patient, disease, and practitioner.

One of the important concepts that is not addressed in this work is that of "what is to be cured?" It is the question of "what is the totality" that Gray considers to be the thing that is distinct between all the different methods. However, it is the question of what is to be cured that leads directly to the defining of what constitutes the totality. Looking at the totality without referring back to what is to be cured leads to an appearance that the choice of totality is at the whim of the practitioner rather than guided by principle. Our predecessors recognized what needed to be addressed and prescribed accordingly. A person with an acute cold would be treated for that; a person with a deep personal, emotional crisis would be treated for that.

Further modifying this is the question of what is curable and what is not. It is a question that was of enormous importance to Hahnemann as well as to Kent and his associates. It is one that has very much been ignored or avoided in contemporary homeopathy. Kent would never have dreamed of offering a deep acting remedy in a case that he saw as incurable. Vithoulkas has done us a great service in reminding us of this, particularly in Levels of Health, and it would have been helpful to have had some discussion of this issue included in the book'.

This work has interesting discussions of many of the ways that homeopathy is and has been practiced. For the experienced practitioner or teacher it does not include much that they did not already know; for the uncertain and bewildered student it is probably too complicated to clarify the range of methods in use in homeopathy. The real problem with it though is that it turns priorities upside down. The famous practitioners appear to be more important than the methods and the methods appear to be more important than the simple question of finding the remedy. This approach in turn makes the various methods seem to be more different than they really are. As a homeopath I use all of the methods described here. They form a continuum and are part of the work I do, which is simply to find the remedy.