The success of homoeopathic treatment rests firmly in the quality of the information gleaned from the client. To this end, the method of obtaining and then analysing the information becomes paramount. In fact, we have a saying in Homoeopathy "A case well taken is a case half-solved". So what kind of information is the Homoeopath looking for?
Over time, with the input and experiences of many practitioners, various methods have arisen in the attempt to improve prescription results and rates of cure. Some of these remain true to our guiding principles, and some do not. There are some general guidelines that should always be followed.
- Take a thorough case. Look at any part of the person's life where there is suffering and disturbance.
- Pay special attention to anything peculiar, strange, unexpected. When some symptom or reaction contradicts what you might expect in the situation, it is important.
- There is a 'hierarchy' in the symptoms, where greater value is placed on those higher up the hierarchy. Mental symptoms are at the top, followed by emotional symptoms. In fact the choice of remedy may be decided by the nature of the mental and emotional suffering. Under this are the 'general' symptoms, which apply to the person as a whole ie. sensitivities to the environment, sleep, energy, appetite etc. Then come the 'particulars', symptoms which relate to specific parts or locations in the body eg. gut, lungs, brain etc. This hierarchy is always moderated by the 'strange, rare and peculiar' consideration mentioned previously.
- Use the client's own words. Don't put words in their mouth. Don't assume you know how they feel. Assume you know nothing of them and wait to be told what their experience is like.
- Establish a timeline of events. Often there are triggers for problems to come to life. These triggers or events may define the focus of the interview and be central in reversing the progress of those problems.
- Search for patterns. Often the same symptoms, feelings, sensations and reactions will occur over and over again during seemingly different situations. This repetition is disease, as true health involves flexibility in our ability to respond to stress. Chronic disease is the forced reaction to all situations in the same way.