Report on Ardavan Shadrar's Seminar Concerning Case Analysis
I just came back from Malaysia after taking a 3 day all day course with a brilliant MD Iranian homeopath, Ardavan Shahrdar. He is discriminated against in the West because of international politics, I am not sure how well known his work is known, but at the seminar at least, I was one of the only Westerner. I will be working with the Malaysian community and a few Iranians around the world to deepen my understanding. I am writing this with the hopes that others will join me.
Below I have reflected on what I learned in hopes that those who know better will correct my first impressions. For Dr. Shahdrar’s writings, please refer to Minutus.org. Among the cases that he presents, I found a case similar to a failure that I had experienced. I thought, if only I had known I could have succeeded with this case. That is what brought me to his seminar.
WHAT I LEARNED
Dr. Shahdrar is identifying patterns of disease based on infectious disease epidemiology data. His theoretical model fits well with the teachings of the founder of homeopathy, S. Hahnemann, yet because he is using modern allopathic data, he is both daring and creative.
He may look allopathic in outlook if you jump to conclusions before understanding his reasoning process. After all he uses modern epidemiological data which has nothing to do with allopathy and its belief in the theory of opposites (not the similum). How he uses that data is what makes his work an offshoot of Hahnemann's miasm theory. When he says “miasm,” similar to Hahnemann, he includes both the acute and the chronic disease miasms. Currently, we use miasm to mean chronic miasm and we exclude the acute miasm. He is using the symptoms of disease as phenomenological features. This is what Hahnemann did when he identified Sycosis and Sphilitic miasms. The specific pathogen as the cause of disease is not part of his theory. Therefore, he warns students that we cannot automatically select the disease cause that has been identified by allopathic lab work. Instead the totality of symptoms must identify the disease symptom pattern that matches the case. Dr. Shadrar summarizes misunderstandings of his work:
A few points I want to emphasize is that what I am searching for is the underlying masked primary state. And I want others to understand that I use psychoanalytical tools, too and not all the cases need miasmatic approach. Maybe if we begin our introduction focusing on miasm, will lead to a misunderstanding that I am a 'Miasm' person. Of course using RV (repertorium Virosium) is a distinct aspect in my miasmatic approach but I want others know that I am not a one-sided type of homeopath.
Similar to any classical homeopath, either mental and/or physical symptoms can occupy the center of the case. However, unlike the constitutional prescribing that we are so accustomed to in the US, he teaches:
1.) Pruning the symptom list to remove symptoms that are secondary reactions of the organism to the symptoms occupying the center of the case. What are secondary symptoms? Typically, there is a shock that causes the patient to react producing primary symptoms. The primary symptoms then cause another set of secondary symptoms. The secondary symptoms are adaptations to the primary symptoms. For example, unpredictable epileptic seizures and resulting brain damage caused a patient to avoid social situations. Avoidance of company is a secondary symptom and should not be included in the repertorization. If these secondary symptoms are pruned, sometimes few distinctive symptoms remain. At all costs I have always tried to avoid this situation, but Dr. Shahrdar suggests that I should not try to fill up my rubric list just because I am lost if I actually have a paucity of symptoms.
2.) If we do not prune, we are temped to think we have a clear constitutional case because we are including many symptoms that are not at the center of the case. Instead he advises avoiding hammering cases into modern constitutional interpretations. Note that he uses keynote etc., but with great care as described above. This is wise because modern cases are severely suppressed by medications. That is, there is a good natural cause for a paucity of symptoms. For that reason, he also advises pruning symptoms that can be related to complications of medication. In such cases, when there is a paucity of symptoms, he offers the Genius Epidemicus (GE) (available as software) as a cross check with classical cases where there is a "paucity" of symptoms. A paucity of symptoms could mean that few symptoms are expressed by the organism or that only the expected symptoms of the disease are present but lacking in SRP (small rubrics) that express the individuality of the patient. In the second case, a large number of symptoms could be described as a paucity of useful symptoms. Thus, paucity does not necessarily mean "few" symptoms. GE is the Materia Medica of infectious disease categories that Dr. Shahdrar has refined so that the rubrics are limited to the Strange Rare and Peculiar (SRP's) of the disease category and symptoms that appear with high clinically observed frequency.
3.) Finally, when the patient reports frequent intensive attacks of repetitive symptoms, those acute symptoms should be addressed first even though it is obvious that the main complaint has a deep miasmatic background. If this is done, aggravations can be avoided. Thank god!!!