I came to Boenninghausen, and subsequently to the IHM, via a route that was somewhat painful. I had been trained in Kentian methods and was the proud possessor of MacRep software. After several years of practice I had begun to doubt the methods I was using, and was constantly in search of a greater degree of certainty in prescribing. I was not happy with my results or my process.
Then the first painful part of this particular journey happened. My computer was stolen, complete with software and dongle. It took a couple of months to sort this out – months where I had a replacement computer but no software. I still had my Synthesis in its fancy red binding, but found it very unwieldy, and was not sure any more whether it was a reliable source of information. And I had a small copy of Boenninghausen’s Therapeutic Pocket Book (Allen), which I had bought on a whim but never used.
At the time I was working with a patient in her 50s who had undergone IVF for the twelfth time, and was in early stages of pregnancy with twins. I was also working with a teenager with a stubborn case of constipation. I followed Allen’s instructions in his introduction and began working with the TPB. Although I found the book physically difficult to read (Indian edition) and the method was new to me, the results in both cases were very good and I felt a greater degree of certainty in prescribing.
In 2007 my route took me to George Dimitriadis and his Boenninghausen Repertory (TBR), a carefully edited repertory based on the TPB. This led me to even greater certainty that Boenninghausen had a stronger grasp than Kent on how homoeopathy should be practiced, and at the same time I began reading articles on Kent’s Swedenborgian influences. I began to get some inkling of how drastically Kent had shifted the practice of homoeopathy away from its original underpinnings.
During my studies I had already become very skeptical of intense psychological investigation which I was taught was an essential part of homoeopathic prescribing. The two- to three-hour sessions seemed more like some form of confession than focused treatment, and I felt uneasy with these methods, both as practitioner and as patient.
In 2010, I met Gary Weaver and in our initial conversations about homoeopathy in general and Boenninghausen in particular, he mentioned the magic words: “take only what has changed.” I began to take the Organon apart, to see it as an essential “users manual” rather than as a venerated philosophical work. To understand the differing energies of Aphorism 5 and Aphorism 6, the context and the change in every case.
Gary began teaching me how to work with the Therapeutic Pocketbook using the P&W software, which I translated into Hebrew. He told me it would take me six months to a year to unlearn the methods I had been taught and to pick up the simple laser-like focus required to work with the Therapeutic Pocketbook. I thought I knew this material, I had studied materia medica (although never provings…) it shouldn’t be so difficult, it would take me a month or two. But it took a year, most of which time was needed to acquire the open, focused mindset needed for case-taking, analysis and remedy choice.
During my studies with Gary, I had to learn to identify the theories, protocols and prejudices I had about remedies and case-taking, and to forcibly put them aside in order to focus on the central facts of the case before me, the real prescribing symptoms which so often are obscured in lengthy case-taking by irrelevant material. I had to unlearn the automatic stress on mental symptoms I had been taught, and to identify cases where the mental symptoms were essential for prescribing, and where they were only brought in for differential diagnosis if at all.
Working with Gary led me towards what to me should be the ultimate goal of any homoeopath – increased certainty in prescribing. I began working with provings, specifically with Hahnemann’s provings which still seem to be more reliable than those carried out in our times. I understood more clearly why Hahnemann was so opposed to the “mongrel homoeopaths” who combined homoeopathy with allopathy, without understanding the central principle of “like cures like”.
Part of my disaffection with MacRep was the realization that I could find many sources giving a particular symptom in relation to a remedy – but that most of these sources were copied from each other, so a large number of “hits” did not represent a greater certainty of the remedy as appropriate for the symptom. Boenninghausen’s work in itself brings much greater clarity and certainty, in that it is based on primary sources, primarily Hahnemann’s materia medica, and on Boenninghausen’s own clinical experience. Hahnemann was not an easygoing master, but even he acknowledged Boenninghausen’s worth and the value of his repertory.
The IHM’s approach is solidly rooted in Hahnemann and Boenninghausen’s writings and teachings. There is no attempt to invent something new and shiny, bells and whistles, just constant in-depth study of the tried and true, around the unchanging principle of “like cures like”. Personal glory or fame is not the objective. Certainty and consistency in prescribing is.
I am very grateful to Gary for the amount I have learned, and continue to learn from him, for the time invested and the willingness and patience exhibited. By nature I question constantly, going over each point again and again, reviewing, rebutting, reinstating – so his patience is particularly appreciated (and frequently tested…). He is a dedicated teacher and practitioner, and I highly recommend the new program he’s offering in Spain.