This article explains not only what to expect in a homeopathic consultation, but provides the reasons for them. For those that have never sought homeopathic treatment, the consultation is very different to typical medical appointments as the homeopath is seeking a large scope of information that will aid in providing you with a tailored care plan, specific to your needs and goals.
The homeopathic method
The homeopathic method is about understanding the signs and symptoms that an individual expresses in disease, and matching them to a substance in nature that is able to produce that same symptom pattern when tested on healthy volunteers.
Sounds simple, but the problem is that most people won’t experience a condition in exactly the same way. These unique differences are important in homeopathy as they aid in identifying a remedy that will be most helpful for the individual. When a homeopath finds a remedy which contains the individualising symptoms of the client, not just the disease, they have found what is called the simillimum, the ideal remedy.
The challenge for the homeopath is identifying the simillimum from amongst thousands of remedies! Most homeopaths will be familiar with a hundred or so remedies, but it’s almost impossible to remember the details of them all.
With a database of thousands of remedies, and with the challenge of finding an excellent match, you can see how important it is that the homeopath spends time taking the details of your case.
When your arrive
When you arrive, make sure you are 10 – 15 minutes early if it is your first consultation. A client intake form is used to gather your basic personal details, as well as your health history, the chief complaint(s) that brought you to the homeopath, as well as and medications or other treatments you have or are currently undertaking.
During the consultation
The exact format of the consultation will differ based on the training and preferences of the homeopath, your goals, and the time available, however, it tends to include the following:
- Clarifying the chief complaint (the reason for your visit), and your health goals and priorities.
- Understanding what current or past treatment you’ve had, any formal diagnosis, or pathology results.
- Investigation of the symptoms related to your chief complaint, including onset (timing), location, any sensations, anything that you’ve noticed that may aggravate (make it worse) or ameliorate (make it better).
- Broader health history – including investigating potential causes for the current symptoms, past health complaints, and even family health history (for example, are there conditions that run in the family?).
- Your general state such as your disposition, likes and preferences, dislikes and aversions, such as to temperature, weather, seasons and food, are also gathered. Your general state can also include your energy level, dips at certain times of the day, etc.
- Mental and emotional health is also important, and depending on the method used by the homeopath, often bring the most unique and individualising features aiding or confirming remedy selection. Example of symptoms sought include fears/phobias and anxieties.
- A ‘head to toe‘ gathering of symptoms past and present of major body systems or organs may also be gathered.
- Basic physical examination, such as blood pressure, temperature and pulse.
Homeopaths write lots of notes
The homeopath has to do this in an unprejudiced way, and that is part of the reason why they will regularly clarify what you say so that it is accurately understood as you’ve experienced it. The homeopath attempts to record symptoms accurately, as it aids with the research they do after the consultation. An initial consultation may take an hour or more.
After the consultations
If the remedy was easily identified, the homeopath may prescribe on the spot. However, in other cases you may be asked to collect your remedy at another date, as it is not uncommon for the homeopath to do more work after the consultation to find the simillimum.
This may include further research of your condition, investigating different remedies, consulting different databases and reference material, health journals of similar published cases, etc.
Follow up consultations
During the follow up consultation, the homeopath is aiming to determine your response to the remedy, and determine next steps.
The homeopath will want to know what happened after you took it, if you noticed any changes, when those changes occurred, and for how long. Depending on your response, or even if there is a lack of response, the remedy may have to be re-evaluated, prescribed at a different potency, or your homeopath may need to find a new remedy all together.
A follow up consultation will typically take half an hour or more.
Homeopathic healthcare requires a partnership between the client and the homeopath, which means developing good rapport and open communication. For chronic conditions, homeopathy can be like a journey of ‘chipping away’ at different symptoms, working on improving general vitality, and supporting the individual in their goals and priorities at any point in time.