Casetaking by Hahnemann

Prior to the IHM opening its own teaching facilities, some of us would teach in colleges in Europe and give seminars around the world. One of the biggest observations made was that students would comment that acute illness would respond very well to the application of homeopathic medicine, but that more chronic cases would not respond at all or only very feebly.

In recognising that homeopathic medicine works on the same principle regardless of whether it’s a chronic or acute condition the problem must lie in the extraction of information during the case taking. In examining the problem in greater detail we came to observe that the Kentian method of extracting information and what is required is flawed.

To this end we recommend all practitioners go back and read the Organon without the Kentian overlay and see exactly what Hahnemann suggested to do. One of the problems would seem to be that people differentiate the methodology in ascertaining the symptoms required for making a prescription. It always struck me as strange that a practitioner in dealing with for example, a bruise on the patient would only take into account the nature of the injury and the resulting ecchymosis on the surface of the skin. In giving arnica for this condition the patients bruise would resolve very quickly and in much faster time than if left alone to heal.

Yet when it came to dealing with a chronic illness the practitioner would take symptoms not related to the disease condition and amplify mental symptoms and emotional states above prominent prescribing symptoms in other locations. This is a direct problem related to the teaching in colleges from the writings of Kent in opposition to Hahnemann’s directions for correct case taking.

One of the phrases often touted in homeopathic circles is treat the patient not the disease. This is incorrect. We treat the disease as exhibited by the patient through his or her symptoms. This has nothing to do with constitutional prescribing, or personality prescribing, or central delusion, or prescribing on mental symptoms that have been present all the patients life and have not changed since they became ill.

To justify this statement I quote from the sixth aphorism of Hahnemann’s Organon where he states that the practitioner takes note of nothing in every individual disease except the changes in the health of the body and of the mind and in brackets morbid phenomena accidents and symptoms, which can be perceived externally by means of the senses that is to say he notices only the deviations from the former healthy state of the now diseased individual.

One of the problems for the new practitioner and even for the practitioner steeped in Kentian Swedenborgian philosophy, is that they have never been taught that only deviations from the previous state of good health are taken into account, and this has nothing to do with personality or preferences which would appear to be the main basis for a chronic prescription. In simple terms this would mean that a localised rash of recent origin would take precedence over a mental symptom or desires that have never changed and which rightly should be attributed to the personality of the patient and not a disease state. We only take into account mental symptoms when they have altered. If the mental state and personality of the patient has not altered discernibly to the practitioner or noted by the patient’s friends, then we do not take it into account at all.

If you follow this one aphorism and apply it during case taking from today, you will note an increase in success in finding the correctly matched remedy for the patients collected symptoms for prescribing.

The IHM seminar speakers, Guillermo Zamora, Vera Resnick and Gary Weaver demonstrate the Hahnemannian method during seminars by presenting numerous cases to demonstrate how Hahnemann’s observations, principles and directions work every time.

In teaching students the correct methodology for ascertaining accurate symptoms for prescribing, we understand that we will be dismissing Kent’s advice for case taking, however we feel it is justified because it is in direct opposition to Hahnemann’s instructions.

We would ask that you try this in your next case taking and observe only the symptoms that have deviated from health and nothing else.

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