How Ellen learned Homeopathy
I was drawn into homeopathy because it had a philosophy and principles. I had seen miracles before so the healing power of homeopathy did not draw me to homeopathy as much as the way of thinking about healing.
School and media based thinking
Before I began studying homeopathy, my I was a school teacher. As a Ph.D. researcher, I also spent many hours in the schools observing teachers and students. I noticed that many of them were using medicine to withstand physical and mental problems. Many of these students had trouble studying. For example 20% of a class of middle school children had permission from the school to use antihistamines for allergies. Of course they were sleepy. This heavy use of medicines among children had deep roots in their family habits, so I felt that schools could do little to change this.
My self-care techniques of meditation, tai chi, shiatsu and yoga provided experiences that were outside of “common sense.” I thought my personal experience is not a lie. My previous studies of cultural anthropology, history, religion, politics and economy told me that in any era, seeing through public ideology is difficult. In our era of information glut, seeing what is true just based on common sense information is impossible.
For each of us, what we experience should be our basic source of information. I needed to recreate my own basis for making choices that were not dominated by the mass media and school education. If not, in a world that is paralyzed information overload, I felt sure I would not be able to find my own path. Furthermore, I felt that practices-based self-care must be based on some deep natural principles.
Without doing anything very extreme, I developed the practice of observing myself minute by minute from a position of emotional balance. I believed that there is some basic principles in the phenomenon that I had observed, but at that time, I had not found even a hint of such a principle. Through homeopathy, I found a healing practice based on a clear philosophy and a basic principle. It is only a hint of what I am searching for but I am grateful for that hint.
My first homeopathy teacher
Meeting Tom Heard was a turning point in my life. Tom provided the deep entry study for many homeopaths in Pittsburgh. Although for about three months I was very doubtful of the theory of homeopathy, nevertheless, every month on Sunday in my living room, I sponsored Tom’s homeopathy clinic. From 10 am until 5 pm on the 4th Sunday of the month, Tom listened to the problems of six clients. Over two years, some old clients came less frequently and other were healed. So new clients were introduced and we watched the healing process unfold again. Some were not healed. There were four to six students over the two years.
After each interview, our teacher used his 20 years of experience to analyze patient cases, and discussed his difficulties and successes with each case. I was interested because he was describing the natural principles that I had been interested in from the beginning. It was many years before I full grasped that this was the philosophy of Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy. Tom did not describe the history in detail but he was describing the principles of Hahnemann’s student, such and Boenninghausen and Herring. The pattern described by these classical homeopaths were actually happening before our eyes. As I compared what I had observed and what I was studying, I was drawn into deeper study.
As I gradually gained experience, it became my job to follow up on the progress of clients. I had to find out if they should be seen or if they needed some adjustment in their instructions and then report my finding to Tom. Of course, I bought professional homeopathic books and a computer program. Very soon one year of observation and study passed. For my support of the clinic, Tom helped me with the analysis of my first cases. By the end of the two years, I was busy doing a formal course in homeopathy. For me, deeply researching the problems of a real client remained the best form of study.
Learning in the Clinic
The philosophy and research method of homeopathy and my Ph.D. research are similar. Both research methods are based on identifying a simple pattern based on a complex story and observations. The study of homeopathy took my research method far beyond what I had studied for my thesis. In addition to the relationship with the research method, the content of my thesis also related to my educational ideals.
My Ph.D. thesis was about young artisans who were learning a trade by observing and participating in the workplace. There were many similarities in the Sunday clinic education that I sponsored and the artisans learning a trade in the workplace as they worked. At the clinic, my teacher’s explanation of changes in the client’s symptoms could be placed against a background of our observations of him conversing with the client. Each observation had a previous history of interactions. We were learning in the context of the workplace, that is, the clinic. The understanding that developed from these workplace apprenticeships was deep and concrete. I was comparing our teacher’s abstract explanations of what we observed at the clinic with the theories that I read in textbooks. We were not just being exposed to concrete examples, we were learning the abstract homeopathic concepts.
More than the teaching methods that I used as a college and middle school teacher, the artisan’s learning through doing and observation were not just interesting, we were learning to value a practical understanding of homeopathy. Because I had this experience, even after I started formal homeopathy school, I created my own practical methods of study. To this day, helping clients to overcome their health problems is a continuation of my first exposure to clinical homeopathy.