New England School of Homeopathy

Interview of Paul Herscu, ND MPH

by Greg Cooper
May 26, 2005

Copyright Minimum Price Books 2005

Since the release of the landmark Homeopathic Treatment of Children – Pediatric Constitutional Types in 1991, Paul has consistently been one of the best-selling homeopathic authors. His work Stramonium some years later brought out the sequential phases of expression in different remedy types, which he called Cycles and Segments, and led to a more holistic way of understanding and using remedies.

Especially important is his methodology, unconsciously used by successful homeopaths but difficult to teach, that the events surrounding each symptom must be considered when evaluating the importance of that symptom. This methodology is one part of a comprehensive model of homeopathy which integrates provings, materia medica, philosophy and repertory.

Along with his wife Dr. Amy Rothenberg, Paul founded the New England School of Homeopathy in 1987 in Amherst, Massachusetts, where they have educated hundreds of professional homeopaths. Concurrently, Paul lectures extensively across the US and Europe and has published, again with Amy, theNew England Journal of Homeopathy, which ran from 1992 until 2001 and carried contributions from some of the world’s greatest homeopaths. His current periodic publication The Herscu Letter keeps students up to date on his latest insights and is available via email.

Contents at a glance:

A need for more predictable results
A practice based on clinical cases 
No materia medica confirmations without clinical experience
Why we miss underlying principles
The source of all the problems in homeopathy – how it went from treating a person with “one disease,” to someone with hundreds of symptoms
Boenninghausen’s shortcomings
Inadequate tools to deal with the one-disease principle
Homeopathy in modern language – stress, strain and symptoms
Beyond Boenninghausen towards a sequential pattern of the symptoms
The importance of context – Is there an underlying process?
Understanding a remedy through cycles and segments
One model integrates philosophy, case taking, materia medica and provings 
The Herscu Letter – continuity of learning
Emergent properties of symptoms – the whole is more than the sum of the parts
Learning tools and clinical experience at the New England School of Homeopathy
Favorite books and teachers
Using periodic table or families of remedies
Criticisms of Provings volume 1 answered in volume 2
Conducting a proving leads to improved clinical skills
The role of homeopathy in serious conditions

A need for more predictable results [I asked Paul before the formal interview about his relationship with homeopathy and he began on that thread] –

P: First, thanks for doing this. So the question about me and homeopathy, I’d say there is a couple of underlining trends or philosophies that I have been working with since the beginning. One of them is that I would like to be helping patients in a more predictable fashion and helping those that I teach do the same. In other words, I’d like to just make sure that when somebody sees me or a homeopath I have trained, that a good percent of those people will improve.

Now, I had kind of an interesting experience with myself in homeopathy when I was younger. I was around twenty and got sick and went to a homeopath who gave me something that helped me tremendously. And then two weeks later I went back and I said, “Hey, that was like a miracle!” and he said “Great, why don’t we just give you the same thing in the same dose to just sort of lock it in.” And then I was pretty much sick for the next eight, nine months. So, you know, on the one hand, I got the feel of how wonderful homeopathy could be. And on the other hand, I got the feel of how poorly it could go. And with the highs and lows, it seemed like very interesting medicine to go into.

A practice based on clinical cases 

If you just sort of look at it from the outside, one of the things that has always struck me is the inconsistencies within the profession. And what struck me about the inconsistencies is that anybody could say anything, there were no checks or balances, no proof, nothing to stop anyone from saying anything, which seemed kind of sad to me. And so what I set out to do in the beginning of my writing and teaching was to strictly go by cases, so when I started studying homeopathy, much of the time I invested in reading one case after another, after another, after another.

G: Were these cases from the old masters?

P: Old, old books, old journals, old masters and homeopaths that nobody has ever heard of, just practitioners that had perhaps published one case in his or her life and those had published dozens of cases. And it didn’t matter to me. I just read cases because I wanted to pick up from how they did homeopathy in practice. And pretty much that was and continues to be one of the main tools of my learning.

G: So this is how you started on the road to becoming a homeopath?

P: Yeah, the getting sick, coming across homeopathy, having a beneficial effect, having a bad effect.

G: And wanting to establish a more predictable way of doing homeopathy.

P: Well, for me it seemed like the benefit part was so great that I decided quite soon that this was what I would devote my life to. The bad part was so bad, that I felt like I just didn’t want to go down that road. And what was striking to me at that time was that as I was listening to different people and reading the more current literature, it appeared to be a free for all. It is sad to say, you know, twenty some odd years later, it hasn’t changed at all, the field just gotten more crowded. But basing my understanding of homeopathy, my writing and teaching on my clinical experience, that has worked for me; it has been my philosophy from the beginning.

No materia medica confirmations without clinical experience

I remember the National Center of Homeopathy had a conference where I spoke on the remedy Tuberculinum and how we could prescribe this remedy for children – this was in the mid 1980s. And somebody, an experienced homeopath, a colleague asked a question, a point of clarification about Tuberculinum versus Calcarea phosphorica. There is basically something that is in the books and something he had read a bunch of times and he just wanted a confirmation. And while I knew exactly what he was asking and why he was asking it, and while I had seen that particular point two or three times, I just was not ready to comment on it. I’d say, “You know, no comment.” And he’d say, “Come on, obviously you know what this is.” “I do know what it is.” He’d say, “Well what do you think?” I said, “No comment.”

G: Because you hadn’t experienced it in your practice?

P: I had not experienced it enough to answer with any level of confidence or surety. So basically whatever I write I want to be solid that it’s going to be there a hundred years from now. I remember one of the first homeopaths I met, he said, “This is how I do homeopathy and I help 95% of the people”. Then a year later he changed the way he does things completely and he’d say, “This is how I do homeopathy and I help 95% of the people.”

G: So Why did he change?

P: And then two years later, again, and two years later, again. And that’s also a kind of a feel for what happened in our community. It just seems like because there has historically been no real underlying principles within homeopathy that are generally understood and agreed upon, the community flip flops every few years depending on public perception.

Why we miss underlying principles

G: So is this a good time to say any of those underlying principles of homeopathy that you have come across and put to use in your clinic?

P: Definitely. First of all, I think there are actual underlying principles that are not fully appreciated. And because they are not fully appreciated, many practitioners work downstream from any philosophical points at all. And when we work downstream from those main points, we wind up seeing things that appear to be contradictory to other points. That’s because you are so far down the stream that you’re just seeing – you know – the leaves rather than the trees. Which is funny because when you talk to most homeopaths they say, “One of the things that differentiates us from other medicine is that we have our principles.” And yet in practice, often, the underlying principles are left aside or forgotten about. So you want to hear some?

G: Yes.

The source of all the problems in homeopathy – how it went from treating a person with “one disease,” to someone with hundreds of symptoms

P: All right. In reality, the basis of homeopathy is through Hahnemann’s work where you can basically differentiate, or separate his work into two pieces, one the materia medica and one the philosophy. The philosophy talks, to the greatest extent, about how to treat the individual as a unity, as a whole individual. The trick is how do you get to understand how to help that person and what tools will you use. In that answer he switches from the philosophy part to let’s say the materia medica or the repertory he was working on. Almost a sleight of hand, he switches from the individual to the pieces. It is from that dichotomy, from these two Hahnemanns that all the problems in homeopathy stem and flow. The one Hahnemann that talks about there is really just one disease, period. And the one Hahnemann that says this one disease is seen in ten thousand symptoms. It is in the looking at those ten thousand symptoms that our community has all of its fights and from where the heart of our mistakes begin.

Boenninghausen’s shortcomings

G: So the underlying principle in connection with this is?

P: The principle is that there is one disease, we just don’t have a tool to look at that one disease. And we haven’t had a tool, not because there haven’t been smart people looking at this, (very, very smart people have been looking at this), but historically, we have not had the language for it. But, we do have that language for it now. Briefly, if I can go through a sketch, Hahnemann describes treating the whole individual and then he says, “Do it by looking at symptoms.” When asked what symptoms, he says, “Well, you should look at characteristic symptoms.” And when asked, “What do you mean by characteristic symptoms,” he says, “Well it’s hard to know how to define them but one of the ways you can look at them is the way my friendBoenninghausen looks at them.” OK. So Boenninghausen starts this, (this is all in the Organon,) by saying, “Well great – homeopathy’s fantastic and we have to look at all the symptoms. But maybe we have a problem with trying to look at ALL the symptoms because there is too many of them for an individual and what we really need to do is see if there is some underlying structure to any of these symptoms.” And he starts to generalize symptoms, which is a first step in a long process which has benefits and drawbacks. But, if you can picture it in your mind, you have these ten thousand individual points in the remedy and Boenninghausen takes these fifty points and says, “Were going to make this one and we’ll take these other fifty points and make this two.” So that by the end of the story these ten thousand symptoms really have – maybe they’re just a couple hundred symptoms – a couple hundred ideas that are exemplified throughout the remedy. So in a way he is trying to get the reader to see a whole from these pieces. And Hahnemann backs him up through the Organon by saying, “Well, this is really a kind of direction that we should be going.” The problem that Boenninghausen has is he didn’t really, (again, not because of smarts, but just because of the time he lived in), he didn’t know where the end point was or what he was actually looking for. And so when he would generalize, he would wind up generalizing sometimes correctly and sometimes incorrectly. Hering wrote a repertory, an Analytical Repertory

G: Symptoms of the Mind?

P: Yeah. There is this one, I guess it’s the introduction where he talks about why Boenninghausen was terribly wrong. An example he gave was having to do with…do you want to hear the whole thing?

G: Yes. Hering was saying why Boenninghausen was wrong in everything or just some things?

P: And again, he said the same thing, that in general, there’s something to this concept, but Boenninghausen is still wrong because, and then he gave an example, that Boenninghausen had a patient that responded well to this remedy who had this local symptom around the mouth. And Hering talks about how, there are several reasons why you could have had that local symptom. So it’s ridiculous for him to have picked that one way of generalizing. The example I would give that uses exactly the same symptom around the mouth, which involves shaving, is: Hering says, “It’s totally different if you are shaving yourself or if you have a barber shaving you, because when a barber is shaving you, you are lying down and if you are shaving yourself you are standing up. It’s a totally different phenomenon.” And yet Boenninghausen had that symptom together with all the things around the mouth and all the things around shaving. I would say, I think it means totally different if you need a remedy like Natrum-mur and you’re shaving or you need a remedy like Stramonium and you’re shaving, as opposed to a barber shaving you.

Inadequate tools to deal with the one-disease principle

G: Going back a bit, the underlying principle…

P: So the underlying principle that there is one disease entity was a philosophical one but never one put in practice because the tools we designed, the tools that were chosen, were tools that took the body and the human being apart. Essentially, you were right to put that repertory back when you first picked it up. When you first picked it up and there were thousands of symptoms and stuff your natural impulse was right. A human being is not those things; those things are pieces of it.

G: Not only pieces of it, but perhaps pieces of it in a certain context or in a certain situation. Which could be different in a different situation.

P: Completely different. And so what Boenninghausen did is he kind of saw some things that were easily grouped like burning in the toes, burning in the skin, burning in the eyes and just said, “Well, burning is a key feature here.” And in that respect Hahnemann, Boenninghausen, Hering, Kent, all those people agreed. But then when he’d see something else, he would generalize it and the generalization would actually be incorrect because he didn’t understand where the process was actually going. So, the number one problem in homeopathy is our philosophy does not match our tools and homeopaths don’t know that. And so what they are trying to do is use poorly constructed tools to come up to what they think the philosophy is. And they don’t realize that it’s the tools that are imprecise. They think that they are incapable or slow, but it’s not their fault.

Homeopathy in modern language – stress, strain and symptoms

G: So what can you say to lead people to learn the correct tools?

P: So where are we now? In the 20th – 21st century we actually have the language to describe the work we are doing to match the materia medica to the philosophy and to match the repertory and the repertorization to the philosophy and to match case taking to the philosophy.

Briefly, if you draw a circle and you draw an arrow going to the circle, that would be the stresses of life, all the different stresses of life, be it a virus, be it temperature, it doesn’t matter what that thing is. If you have another arrow coming from the center of the circle going outwards, that’s the response of the individual, the straining of the individual – the responses of the individual to the stresses that they experience. And right where the circle touches both things that’s the predisposition. So having the right predisposition you experience an outside stimuli as a stress, therefore, you have to respond to it. That response is seen through the whole individual. What I just described, that little thing that I just described – the circle, the stress, the strain model – this is understood at this point in every medical institution, in every medical school, in every drug company, in every pharmaceutical company and so on around the world. And the basis of it is within the Organon, if we could just take it at that level. OK?

G: Ok.

P: So let’s just call that step one – people could argue about but that would kind of be arguing against everything that’s known about science. That response then comes out in signs and symptoms.

G: That would be step two?

P: Step two.

G: Ok. That would be the strain?

P: The straining is seen by the individual producing a myriad of symptoms. The general goal of that strain is to adapt to their environment. Not just live with it, but to adapt, to grow from that stress. This of course is the basic philosophy behind vaccinations. You vaccinate somebody so that his or her immune system will adapt to that or will strain to that and produce antibodies that will then keep you from getting sick. It is also the concept behind pretty much everything. So again, it is not debatable.

Beyond Boenninghausen towards a sequential pattern of the symptoms

Now, if you look at those symptoms and you look at the types of symptoms you’ll find that there is a kind of a relationship of one symptom to another, which is sometimes very easy to be seen. For example, the burning here and burning there and so on. And you could sort of grab all those burning symptoms and just say, well, you know those symptoms are actually representative of a larger concept. For example, if I said, “The sun, bananas, oranges and . . . what else like that”, you’d say, “Well the overarching principle is yellow.” Or if I said, “Burning here, burning here, burning here, burning here,” you’d say the overarching principle is burning. And to that extent some of Boenninghausen’s ideas would be fine.

Now, the interesting thing is, if you can carry that idea through the body, you can also do the same corresponding symptoms in the emotions and in the mind. For example, once you start to look at the person saying, “I feel tired, I feel sleepy, I feel fatigued, I feel like I can’t lift this and that,” and then you look at the mind and it says, “I can’t think, I can’t comprehend, I can’t. . . “. Then you say, “Oh wait a minute, the mental symptoms and perhaps the emotional symptoms will also represent this idea.” And then, if you do that, then maybe when you see inflammations of the gut, inflammations of the skin, inflammations of the colon, and inflammations of the eye, you just ask people at random, “What would be a similar symptom on their emotions.” And almost everybody says, “Well in an inflammatory process of emotions that would be like irritability and anger and rage and like that.” Just asking them, without them looking at the symptoms, just asking them, “What would be the symptoms that would correspond to that?” Then you open up the materia medica and you see, “Oh my goodness, its all there – irritability, inflammation, inflammations in the body, inflammations in the personality and so on.” So this is already going beyond what Boenninghausen was looking at.

G: This going beyond Boenninghausen?

P: Yes. Because where this ends up is if you take these general concepts, then any one of the remedies [for which] Boenninghausen might have had fifty, sixty or seventy generalities all of a sudden start to have only four or five or six.

G: Oh. You mean like putting inflammation in the body with the inflammation of the mind of some kind of emotional upheaval or something.

P: Right

G: So you’re ending up with a handful of symptoms.

P: Yes. Now what’s interesting about that is, once you get to that handful there is a shocking realization which is that all of a sudden one can find a pattern of sequence.

G: Oh, that is interesting.

P: But you couldn’t find a pattern of sequence when there is fifty, sixty or seventy because too many of them are the same exact thing and so they don’t naturally lead to something else.

G: I get the feeling we’re leading into the Cycle aspect of the symptoms of a remedy.

P: Well, so then what winds up happening is one of these ideas goes to the next idea, to the next idea, to the next idea. And then when you run out of ideas, what’s shocking is that the last idea all of a sudden connects with the first idea. And it forms a pattern, a kind of Cycle, you might say.

G: So this would be a pattern of symptom ideas, which is peculiar to that remedy, is that correct?

P: It is peculiar to that remedy, it is peculiar to every individual, not some, but every individual who needs that remedy, be it an acute or first aid or a constitutional state. What becomes interesting, once you get it at that level, then a lot of what appears to be disparate points in homeopathy all of a sudden come together. Everything all of a sudden comes together.

The importance of the context – Is there an underlying process ?

G. So what would be disparate ideas in homeopathy that would come together as a result of seeing cyclic symptom patterns unique to each remedy or to each person who needs that remedy?

P: For example, we now understand that symptoms are not important in and in themselves as much as representative of an underlying process that’s ongoing. They are always important within context.

G: Context?

P: They are always context dependent.

G: In studying your work I got the feeling that this is very important.

P: It’s everything. And this why, when you look at a good homeopath, (and you know there are many, many, many good homeopaths, it’s just that a lot of times they may not be able to explain what it is they actually do), when you look at a good homeopath take a case and then analyze it, he’ll say, “Well I am paying attention to this symptom and that’s what lead to the remedy.” Then next case is exactly the same symptom and you say, “Well why didn’t you pay attention to it now?” And they might say, “Well it’s not important.” And you might say, “Well it’s the same underlining, it’s the same intensity, it’s the same everything why isn’t it important here?”

G: No wonder homeopathy is so difficult.

P: But it’s not, it’s just that the tool is, and what they can’t express is that symptom is part of an underlying process in patient one and just not relevant, not part of an underlying process of patient two.

Now, the other issue is that every single human being will have many kinds of general symptoms. And so it becomes important to figure out which general symptoms to pay attention to. And this is of course where Boenninghausen fell flat, because there are too many. But what this process leads to is, understanding that you only pay attention to the general underlying processes that fit this pattern. So that if, let’s say somebody says they stick their feet out of the covers every night, every night. In the wintertime they walk around with sandals in a very cold environment. Is that important or isn’t it important?

G: So what you’re saying is it depends on all the other symptoms whether it is important or not?

P: Well, that’s a very enlightened answer. The answer that most homeopaths will say is, “Of course it’s important.” You know what, sometimes they’ll use that symptom and they’ll be correct and the patient will improve and sometimes they will use that symptom and it will lead to nothing. That’s the problem that homeopaths have had because you don’t build enough momentum to find out why something works and why something doesn’t work. You might be prescribing in an identical situation and yet they’re really not.

Understanding a remedy through cycles and segments

G: So your book on Homeopathic Treatment of Children has been our number one selling children’s book for a long time now. Are you planning on writing a materia medica of a more general nature that incorporates cycles and segments?

P: Well I teach that, and I have taught that for a few hundred remedies for the last fifteen years. But the materia medica is a tool, the repertory is a tool, they are meaningless without understanding.

G: So are you saying that is best to just get the knowledge of the materia medica along with the understanding of how to use it?

P: More so. And this is what I was trying to accomplish when I wrote Stramonium, which is basically an introduction to these concepts and then showing how one could understand a remedy through these concepts and how that remedy plays itself out in cases in the clinic and how really every single person who’s ever going to need Stramonium, every single materia medica that’s ever been written on Stramonium will include these points, because these are the points of the remedy. You know it’s not like a “Wouldn’t it be nice”, rather, it is “That is just how it is because that’s the underlying process.”

One model at the New England School of Homeopathy integrates philosophy, case taking, materia medica and provings 

G: So, this would be how people would learn when they attend the New England School of Homeopathy?

P: What they learn is…right… they learn the underlying principles of homeopathy, where the general state of the individual is then married to the tools that lead you to a clear, predictable, timely assessment of what that state is. So, the first thing you learn is how to take a case so that you can see what the disease really is that needs to be fixed.

Then we teach how to do that, in a way that matches our philosophy. And then, we teach materia medica that matches that philosophy as well. So it’s incredibly integrated and as far as I can tell, the first real integration. We’ve had three attempts: there was Hahnemann, who laid out the philosophy but then was unable to integrate the materia medica into it. Then there was Kent who built upon the materia medica and changed the repertory to facilitate his underlying philosophical structures, but then never integrated the whole thing. And then there is this . . . Can you think of somebody who has case taking and materia medica and repertory and provings, the whole thing, under one model? And the nature of a good model is that it can explain previous models well and we can do that.

The Herscu Letter – continuity of learning

G: Would you consider the Herscu Letter, I know it’s a periodic letter you send out, I’ve heard that some schools have distance education, but I have heard that your school’s form of distance education is accomplished through the Herscu Letter. Would that be accurate to say?

P: More accurate is: I go to a country to teach something and I’m teaching this . . . I’m teaching this philosophy. Then I demonstrate it through videotapes and I demonstrate it through live cases and through analyzing using the repertory and teaching materia medica. And then I have to go home. And the people in that country say, “Well, I mean, what do we do now, wait a year?” And because of that, then what I did is say, “Well you’re learning this stuff. You can continue learning it through this newsletter.”

G: But it is the type of thing where it’s not like a newsletter, where people just sign up and they get the current issue. It’s like a person starts it; they start right at the beginning.

P: Right. They start at the beginning and we go through basically every issue in homeopathy – the mess up with keynotes and what they really are, the mess up with provings and the disaster that’s leading our profession. And we just kind of go one step at a time. And show how a model just can really, not just answer those points, but actually lead to predictive outcomes.

Emergent properties of symptoms – the whole is more than the sum of the parts

G: I am not professional homeopath – I just kind of try and take care of my friends and my family but I read your books and I listened to your 10 hour videoTreating Challenging Children and I am just personally grateful to you for studying the remedies in enough depth to perceive the idea of cycles within remedies, because not only from my hearing you explain it but from my intuitive feeling, remedies should have that kind of cyclic activity in them. That’s what I see everywhere in nature, I see cycles and opposites and the way it integrates that within each remedy it’s such a fantastic contribution to homeopathy.

P: I really think it’s the time. We are all in some respects prisoners of our time. And we do have the language of emergent properties. You know the example I give is: if you take hydrogen and oxygen, there’s nothing you can do, there’s no way to study oxygen and hydrogen to predict that water would have the property that it does – that liquidy thing. That’s an emergent property. But you look at water and you think, “Wow this is really cool!” It’s the same thing with symptoms. Symptoms do have emergent properties to themselves. You just have to be able to develop the skill to do this.

G: It sounds like the whole is more than the sum of the parts.

P: For sure. They are for sure the parts, but they are beyond the parts. You can’t leave the parts behind, but you can see them for something much grander, much better.

Learning tools and clinical experience at the New England School of Homeopathy

G: So when a student actually attends classes at the New England School do they get clinical experience there?

P: Yup. There are various levels of clinical experience. There is seeing videos, seeing live cases. And sometimes taking cases and then at times sitting in with me or Amy in clinic seeing patients there. Is it a full clinical program? No. Really, what we need for education is very, very far from what we have at this time. But before we need that education we need the tools.

G: We need the understanding.

P: Yup, because I have met a lot of people that say, “Oh yeah I have studied this remedy and this remedy and this remedy and yet I can’t help this patient.” And it’s a patient that needs a remedy that they have studied. So it’s not a question of some hidden secrets, some hidden remedies, some unknown rubric, you know I don’t believe that kind of homeopathy really truly works. What I find in practice is that what really works is being able to understand the underlying process, which is not a little secret, it’s right there in plain sight. You just have to be able to grasp it.

G: Can we change gears and take few specific questions?

P: Yeah.

Favorite books and teachers

G: Maybe two or three of you main mentors, or do you have any over the years?

P: Well I’d say George Vithoulkas is the person that influenced me the most. One of the first books I read was the Science of Homeopathy and it was just, I mean really, really cool. By the time…but mostly, really, it was the casebooks and the old books.

G: What author of those old homeopaths stands out in your mind?

P: My favorite, the one that I have a kind of a relationship to, Hering. Between Hering, HahnemannBoenninghausen, those form the base of it and thenLippe and Allen after that Kent

Using periodic table or families of remedies

G: When we see homeopaths using the periodic table or using families of remedies to suggest remedies…

P: No comment.

Criticisms of Provings volume 1 answered in volume 2

G. Ok. Provings. Did you read those few comments I wrote about what people have said about your method of provings?

P: Yes. Most of them were based on, unfortunately, just because of the timing of publishing and stuff, the first volume came out before the second volume. There was supposed to be a two-volume set. Instead it was volume one and then four months later or five months later, something like that, volume two came out. Those comments were all based on volume one because volume two answers ALL those. Even the very last chapter of volume two, re-encapsulates or encapsulates the whole two books.

G: Ok.

P: But it is somewhat disingenuous too, in that some of those comments didn’t mention that I was the one to bring up the questions in the first place. They’re like, “Well he’s not answering these questions.” I brought up the questions. I showed where the problems are and throughout volume two I answered how to get to that. And finally answering with how we did it. Towards the end of volume two there is that study that shows how we were able to tell the difference. And then the very last chapter is just an encapsulation of how we did it. So really, what never happened is a second book review on volume two, which if there was, then that would have answered those questions

G: Then that should be done.

P: The problem is that, because of the nature of who is in our profession again, it’s very hard to have people read whole books. Whole, whole concept books. So volume two is actually all of the history of provings. Hardly anybody is going to be able read that. And, honestly, I didn’t write it for most people now, because I know they don’t have the sitting power. But it’s for the people that are going to be doing research.

Conducting a proving leads to improved clinical skills

G: Well it sounds like understanding Provings is going to be, with your teaching, is going to be more related to understanding remedies and to actual case taking and all seems to be part of the same package.

P: And this is the point – that ALL of homeopathy is the same thing. And so, when people do provings where they can’t tell the placebo from the people that took it, that reflects on their practice, because if you can’t tell who took a remedy and who didn’t take a remedy, how does that not reflect your practice? And the skills that you take on to learn how to do a proper proving are the same exact skills as how you conduct a follow up interview. Learning that is learning how to be a homeopath. It’s not simply incidental to homeopathic life.

The role of homeopathy in serious conditions

G: There is one question that I’ve wondered about quite a lot over the years, as I’ve seen people who have been under really good, well supposedly, really good homeopathic care, yet they come down with life threatening or even fatal diseases. What would you say to a person who has a really serious chronic condition? For example, how much faith or time should they put in homeopathy and how much faith or time should they spend either with other so-called natural methods or with conventional medicine?

P: It depends on the ailment and on the individual. Homeopathy has a place at the table because it helps the individual. If you take the correct homeopathic remedy you’re able to strain better towards what you experience as stresses and be able to adapt better to them and therefore not need that ailment as much, all things being equal. But then, that model also works for other kinds of therapies. You know if somebody has a bullet in their lung, a homeopathic remedy is going to be useful in that situation, but what’s appropriate is something completely different.

G: So what you’re saying depends on the situation?

P: Right. Homeopathy has a place at the table, an important place. I have routinely been in the Tertiary Medical Center here with people that are unconscious and, you know, at death’s door and I could tell you for a fact that homeopathy, the right homeopathic remedy saves lives and pulls people out of it. Given that, if you think about the average . . . our profession does not get the results that it should. And what people fail to realize is that the answer is not a secret little thing. The answer is that the tools are wrong and we just need new tools.

G: Well we’ll look forward to that time and your contributions to it are being felt by me personally but obviously by all the other homeopaths who go to your school and read your books. I really appreciate your contribution to the whole thing and for you taking the time for this interview. Thank you.