Student Diaries – Karen
||Karen is at the beginning of her third and final year of study. Her first diary entry (October 2016) provides the reader with some background information, explaining how Karen first ‘discovered’ homeopathy, and the important role it now plays in her life. Karen also explores some of the challenges she faces as she tries to balance home and work needs (she is a single parent, managing her own business), with the increasing demands placed on her as she prepares to complete her homeopathy course.
“As I sit down to write June’s diary entry I take a quick glance at the previous month’s entry…”
As I sit down to write June’s diary entry I take a quick glance at the previous month’s entry and I am filled with relief! I made it! I managed to submit all my work to the college by the first weekend of June and it feels amazing.
Through blood, sweat and a few tears I actually managed to complete all the assignments and graduation cases. I tentatively handed my suitcase full of work in to the Principal’s office and spent the rest of the weekend anxiously peering my head back into the office to see if I could catch a glimpse of how my work was being received. No news is good news I kept reminding myself, although I struggled to detach myself from all the past three years of my work and leave it in the office as I drove home Sunday. I felt my heart and soul was in that suitcase of college work but at the same time a sense of freedom was beginning to creep in as the weight of the past few months was starting to lift.
I purposely arrive at college half an hour earlier on the Sunday. This will be my last weekend before graduation next month. I take a walk around the beautiful grounds on this warm summers day and soak up the all the sounds and sights of nature. I feel grateful for having the opportunity to study at this college but also sad that I will no longer be coming here. It only seemed like yesterday that I visited this college upon recommendation from my Homeopath, which was years before I actually took the plunge and enrolled. I always knew that I would come back and study Homeopathy here, the grounds and building have been so conducive to studying. You can learn so much about Homeopathy just by paying close attention to nature; the smells, colours, shapes, environment and patterns of plants all indicate their healing purpose. I will miss this place.
Shortly after the previous college weekend I managed to slip a disc in my lower back. It was a previous injury that had returned and unfortunately left me unable to move too well. It was my saving grace; not being able to move meant that I had to do my homework and forced me into cancelling work commitments so I was able to knuckle down and focus on completing all my assignments. I silently blessed my body for this, in a bizarre way it forced me to slow down, not only physically but mentally too. I felt an inner stillness and peace of mind come over me and this enabled me to find clarity and (in my opinion) produce a better quality of work.
Having a quieter mind meant that I was able to hear my own inner guidance more clearly and this has helped me enormously in the past few weeks; coming to the end of my student journey I am about to embark on a new chapter in my life and this will mean making some decisions and changes about my current line of work and how I will transition into my role in offering Homeopathy to the world. I know I will forever be a student in Homeopathy but I do feel ready to take that next step.
One of our pieces of homework in the third year was to write a thesis on a subject of our choice that relates to Homeopathy. This was something that had been hanging over me for quite a while and in true Karen fashion I had left to the very last, giving myself only a few days. I decided to choose an area that I was most passionate about in my life and relate this to Homeopathy. I chose the subject of mental health to write about and its role in Homeopathy, or Homeopathy’s role in mental health. I think that over the whole of the three years and all the homework, assignments and projects I had undertaken this was by far the most inspiring to me. I thoroughly enjoyed collating all the research into mental health classifications, drawing from my own personal experience through being a service user and group facilitator with Mind (mental health charity), combining this with exploring ethics and our role as a Homeopath when a patient presents with mental health issues. I re visited some constitutional remedies and looked at their individual expressions of mind symptoms and remedies that would be prescribed for various psychotic expressions of mind symptoms.
Somehow, as I wrote this I had a sense that I had come full circle and a deeper sense of being ‘on purpose’ was emerging. I was glad that I chose to write this towards the end of my student journey and prior to stepping onto my Homeopathy career path. It was giving me an indication of where I may be heading in the future and also a reminder for me as to why I was here and studying Homeopathy in the first place; a desire to support someone’s path back to well being. The psychological element that plays a part in Homeopathy has always deeply interested me.
What I had predicted was going to be a very stressful month actually turned out to be the most inspiring and relaxed few weeks I’d had in a very long time!
“The last month has consisted of attending various student clinics and …”
The last month has consisted of attending various student clinics and focusing on completing my case writing notes for graduation in July. It is beginning to feel more real now, although I cannot possibly imagine being on the other side of July and actually completing all my work and clinic hours. I remind myself; where there is a will there is a way! This has been my mantra throughout my life!
At May’s college weekend I had realised I had made a mighty mistake; I had misunderstood my deadlines for when all my assignments needed to be handed in and realised that I have only four weeks to finish and hand my coursework in. After the shock wore off, I realised that in actual fact this is exactly the prompt that I needed. Most of May will now be spent with me glued to my lap top with my head in the books. If anything this has forced me to be more focused and I do always work best under pressure. I have warned friends and family that I will not be readily available for the next few weeks, cancelled social meetings and warned my son that his mum will be taking over the lap top for the next month.
I do not feel so relaxed at college in May. I can’t stop thinking about what I need to do and how am I going to find the time to do it. I am not enjoying the lectures so much this weekend, mainly due to my mind being pre occupied. This annoys me as I have been looking forward to these particular lectures for a while and I feel I am not getting the most out of these days. I want to switch off from my mental chatter and just focus on the lessons but I struggle this weekend.
On Saturday we cover some different remedies from the Matera Medica in the morning followed by some Practitioner development work. We have the chance to reflect on various aspects of our learning and which specific experiences have made us change, what we have learnt from them and how we would do things differently in the future. Reflection is always a very valuable part of learning. I often think I reflect on things in my mind but to actually carve out the time and write these experiences down I am always surprised at what more comes out. I can understand things more clearly and I find it interesting to see how much I have changed from my experiences as a student Homeopath.
Another valuable tool we are invited to look at is something that is used commonly in workplaces and businesses; a ‘SWOT’ analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). As a self -employed person I find this tool really helpful and reminds me to put my business woman hat on and identify what I am doing well, what my niche is and what I areas or trends I can capitalize on in the local market place. In the last few years my clients have been mainly pregnancy and post natal.
I have found it really easy to introduce Homeopathy to my pregnancy clients and even more so for post birth recovery. I feel that going forward this would be an easy area for me to specialise in.
Sunday’s lectures are all around the Periodic table; looking at remedies made from the elements of the periodic table as well as identifying common life patterns that people will be experiencing depending on where they are in their life’s journey (and where they are on the periodic table). This is what I love about Homeopathy and why I could never tire of learning about it; bringing together science, psychology, natural universal laws and astrology. What an incredible day! I wish my chemistry lessons were like this at school they would have been far more interesting.
I am inspired. My mind is opened to new levels and perspectives in Homeopathy and my understanding broadens. I am constantly reminded that I will never know it all. The lecturer brings such an incredible depth of knowledge to the table along with an infectious humour and fun manner. There are many laughs and light bulb moments for everyone, where remedies are understood more fully and deeply. We look at how we can recognise certain life patterns that our patient’s (and ourselves) may be experiencing in life.
After our weekend of lectures I drive home absolutely shattered and brain dead. I’m thankful that we have two days once a month as I don’t think my poor brain could cope with much more! I awake at 3am the next morning thinking about remedies, homework and patient’s cases that I need to follow up. This is no good so I take pen to paper and write down a list of everything I need to do over the next couple of months. To get everything out of my mind and on paper was the best thing I could have done and somehow that really helped. Thankfully I was able to feel more peaceful after doing this return back to sleep.
My plan for the rest of the month is to remain calm and focused, I CAN do this!
“This month’s college weekend is right in the middle of Easter holidays …”
This month’s college weekend is right in the middle of Easter holidays. I feel for the first time in a long time quite relaxed as I am driving into college. I am questioning why I feel so relaxed and calm about everything, this is an unfamiliar feeling for me but one that I am going to milk for as long as I can! I reason with myself that I should be panicking and feeling overwhelmed due to July’s graduation date looming nearer, which equates to case writing, clinic hours and homework essays! Try as I might, I do not feel pressured at the moment. I think this is due to my new positive outlook I have recently adopted; I have made a vow to myself that I will endeavour to make a commitment to enjoy completing my studies, otherwise what is the point? I trust that I will be able to bring it all together by July and know that I have done my very best. I have made a commitment to complete this course in a three year time frame. My college offers an optional fourth year which is commonly taken up by students, but for me I have known from the start that I will only be doing three years. Yes, slightly more pressure (understatement) but it is possible. In order for me to give 100% of myself to my studies I cannot afford to feel stressed and overwhelmed, so I made a conscious choice to enjoy this period of study as soon I will be out there in the scary wide world as a Homeopath and with a new set of responsibilities that that will entail.
April’s college weekend includes a very fun Easter inspired lesson on working with our Homeopathy Repertories and searching for ‘rubrics’. For someone reading this who has not studied Homeopathy, this book is a little like our bible, along with the Matera Medica. At the beginning of our first year we purchase these two books which look like something out of a Dickens story. Both over two thousand pages and being the back bone to out Homeopathic learning. All our patient’s symptoms (most of them) we endeavour to find in the clinical repertory. In order for us to find suitable remedies for our patients, we must be able to search for what we call ‘rubrics’. We must try to translate our patient’s symptoms into the language of the repertory and by doing this will lead us to remedies.
At first, along with many other students, I found this book quite scary! I would not know where to begin or how to look for symptoms of a headache when there are around 88 pages that come under the title ‘Headaches’. Our work is to try to get as close as possible to the exact nature on our patient’s symptoms (where possible) and part of doing this is to look at rubrics (headings) in our book and be able to translate symptoms into rubrics in the repertory.
When we cover repertory work in our lessons, usually the tutor will read out either a real or fake person’s case and we will try to find rubrics and search for appropriate remedies. This day, due to it being Easter, we pair up and search for rubrics and remedies to win Easter eggs. This is fun but unfortunately I am quite competitive so I tend to try and skip the process of looking up symptoms in the book and shout out my thoughts on which remedy it is! I’m sure this must be incredibly annoying for the poor tutor but I have set my sights on the Easter egg and I want to win!
As I drive home on Sunday evening, with a half-eaten melted Easter egg in my bag, I suddenly feel a little scared to be leaving in July. For the first time in my learning journey I actually feel like I don’t want it to ever come to an end. I am aware that my learning in Homeopathy will never be over and there will always be more to discover, but for my college course I can see an end in sight now and I’m actually beginning to feel a sad at the prospect of not coming to this lovely place after July. It is set in the most beautiful grounds and full of dynamic, wise and very unique tutors, not to mention the other students that I have so very much loved getting to know. I have been very blessed that life brought me here and grateful for how it is shaping me.
“The weeks seem to be flying by so quickly and I cannot believe that spring is finally beckoning …”
The weeks seem to be flying by so quickly and I cannot believe that spring is finally beckoning and the long cold dark winter days are thankfully becoming much less. I am hoping that with the arrival of spring I will be renewed with energy and enthusiasm for tackling my case writing notes for July’s graduation date, which is beginning to loom over me and making me feel a little uncomfortable. This is due to my pile of increasing notes I need to write up. I have discovered that I have excellent skills in procrastination and unfortunately this is not doing me any favours. I will endeavour to look for a remedy for ‘procrastination, very good at’.
I am really looking forward to attending college this weekend, to have a break from my work and home life. It is quite a luxury to be able to sit down and soak up information on a subject that you love. I don’t think I will ever tire of learning about Homeopathy.
Saturday’s lectures include a great review on remedies for the skin condition Eczema; this is incredibly useful as it is a very common condition that people will contact a Homeopath for. We look at four well prescribed remedies in depth, compare and differentiate and discuss the remedy traits for each one. We explore various other supplements, nutrition and homeopathic creams that are available as well as looking at underlying causes for this condition.
The afternoon’s lectures we learn about some of the new remedies that are not in our books and when to prescribe in clinic. We also review some of the more common remedies, what we call Polychrests. These remedies are very important in Homeopathy to understand as they can be used to treat different diseases and not just one. Of course it would depend on the person’s individual expression of their illness to determine the correct remedy, but Polychrests have a number of different uses.
We end the day with a beautiful (and much needed) guided meditation by one of our gifted lecturers. Our class have an open and heartfelt sharing on how we all feel we are doing within the course and we voice our worries, feelings and experiences with each other.
Our teacher’s soothing words guide me into a serene and peaceful place, one which I had entirely forgotten existed! I leave the session feeling more relaxed and calm than I have done in a long time.
Years ago I trained as a meditation, mindfulness and relaxation Instructor and used to give regular guided meditations for stress management. Participating in this meditation has reminded me how I had forgotten the benefits of meditation and how vital this is to incorporate in my life as a form of stress management. I am once again grateful that our college has the holistic syllabus that it does and includes these types of practices.
Sunday we have a day of inspiring lectures with our visiting Teacher. The day is focused around slimming and Homeopathy. I must admit I did not know what to expect from this day as I wasn’t entirely sure how the two subjects worked together and whether they could.
We look at women’s body types in more detail and relate this to specific homeopathic remedy pictures. We examine eating habits, cravings, metabolism, different cultures and how this could impact our patient’s choices of food.
We delve into eating disorders and the relationship between food and emotions, also examining the importance of a healthy thyroid function for stabilising weight in women. Our lecturer very cleverly links in everything with Homeopathy, I wonder how I could have even questioned the relevance that Homeopathy could play in slimming and weight issues. I am left with not only a thorough understanding of how Homeopathy has the ability to address this subject but also a more in depth knowledge of the remedies that were re visited in the lectures.
I think for me the third year has been a lot about building on existing knowledge and adding depth to my understanding of Homeopathy. I am beginning to feel more confident in my practice as a student Homeopath (dare I say!) although I am sure this is because I have the support of the college and other supervisors. Once out on my own I am not sure if I will have the same confidence to begin with.
I remind myself to not run before I can walk and just to enjoy being ‘the student’ and soaking up all the knowledge.
“February has gone so very quickly and has been briefly interrupted by a half term break…”
February has gone so very quickly and has been briefly interrupted by a half term break. My son went on a skiing trip with his Norwegian family and as this was his first time in these types of freezing conditions I packed a multitude of Homeopathic remedies in his suitcase to equip him for coughs and colds (brought on by cold weather) and plenty of Arnica for any skiing injuries!
Having my son away for a whole week I had planned to catch up with writing up my patient’s cases for graduation, as well as some more study. Unfortunately my good intentions did not go to plan and I did very little study. I managed to see a patient for a follow up appointment and was very pleased to hear that her symptoms of a chronic cough and skin condition had greatly diminished! This was a case that I had shared with fellow students at one of the college’s student clinic. The remedies that we came up with for this particular patient was very much a joint effort so I am very excited to share this news at our next clinic day.
At February’s college weekend we were once again gifted with some incredible Homeopaths/Teachers, so freely imparting their wisdom, knowledge and experience to us.
Saturday’s lectures included the following subjects: vaccinations, immunity, disease, history of disease and background on understanding why vaccinations were developed and on what theoretical and scientific basis. We look closely at germ theory and how our understanding of disease in the body has evolved through the ages. Why vaccinations were introduced and how effective are they. We discuss the body’s response to trauma and look closely at the physiological changes in the body from stress.
It is a very informative day and quite scientific in the style and approach of the teachings. It is good to re-visit a more in depth look at physiology and the history of our thinking towards disease and ill health. I am a little over loaded from facts, figures and statistics at the end of the day and wish my brain was more able to absorb all this information.
Sunday’s teachings were with yet another incredible Homeopath and teacher. This day we were taking a closer look at Sarcodes, which are Homeopathic remedies made from healthy tissue which can include hormones like adrenalin, testosterone and pituitary gland. We look at the periodic table and its relationship to remedies. We explore patients’ unique way of expressing themselves and how this directly relates to a remedy such as body language, hand gestures and spoken terminology. No subject was off limits this day, it felt like we went to the edges of the universe and back again as our lecturer managed to take our minds to the beginning of creation, through the ages and the patriarchal/matriarchal divide in history. I’m not entirely sure how, but he successfully managed to tie all this in with Homeopathic remedy pictures in people! It did actually make sense to all of us (believe it or not) and once again, I have left college feeling that not only have I deeper understanding of Homeopathy but excited to see more patients, now equipped with some different tools for case taking.
Towards the end of February I am booked to give a talk to a group of expectant mothers and their birth partners at a ‘birth preparation workshop’. In my work I tend to specialise in pregnancy and post-natal therapies so I give regular talks to groups in my local community about the benefits of massage, reflexology, mindfulness and flower essences in pregnancy, child birth and postpartum recovery. This is the first time I will be introducing the subject of Homeopathy as part of my talk and I have planned to discuss the Homeopathic childbirth kits that Helios pharmacy sell as an easy way to introduce Homeopathy to my audience. I am excited and very nervous as I prepare my handouts to the group. This ties in perfectly with my homework for this month which is to design a handout on Homeopathic remedies for expectant mothers. Very synchronistic!
I was pleased to see that my audience were very open minded and welcomed Homeopathy with open arms. They were all very enthusiastic and grateful to have learnt about the childbirth kits as unfortunately, as I have discovered, Helios are not allowed to advertise these kits anymore.
I am positive that Helios will be receiving a few more orders shortly!
Overall, February has been a fantastic month for learning, developing, understanding and experiencing Homeopathy at new levels. I am aware that I have a back log of cases to write up before July’s graduation as well as needing to find more hours for clinical experience. I am starting to feel the pressure and as usual I have no idea where I am going to find the time. I will be praying for a miracle that I can actually make it all come together for July!
“The first weekend in January I am still suffering from the cough that has been persistent for the past four weeks…”
The first weekend in January I am still suffering from the cough that has been persistent for the past four weeks. I have taken a few remedies but nothing seems to be shifting this. My son and I are passing this cough and sore throat back and forth. It seems that everyone I speak to (or know someone) that has been experiencing similar symptoms.
On the Saturday of January’s college weekend I do not feel I am able to attend for fear I will be coughing my way through lectures so I stay home and take three doses of Ignatia (a remedy that can be used for a dry, hacking and spasmodic cough.) I notice a little improvement but nothing substantial.
On Sunday’s lectures we have a day with one of my favourite teachers. I shouldn’t really have favourites but I know that when this lady is in town there will always be some serious soul shaking going down! The lecturer brings her shamanic teachings and wisdom to her students, providing us with the opportunity to go within; a chance for self- reflection, meditation, practitioner development and an invitation to work with shamanic energy.
The college grounds on this very bleak winter’s day provide the perfect back drop for this type of personal development and journey work. This seems like a perfect way to start 2017!
Shamanic work uses the elements of nature (fire, wind, air, water, and earth), animal spirits/totems, plant medicines, meditative practices and other sacred healing energies as a pathway to working with our inner self. In shamanic practices, the Shaman or one who is guiding others will often use drumming as a way to help the person or group relax. The rhythmic hypnotic beat allows one to mentally switch off and travel deeper within. We are guided through meditations throughout the day where there is an invitation for experiential learning. It is not pushed upon us but the opportunity is there; to travel within and ask ourselves some questions and gain deeper insight into areas that perhaps we can’t allow ourselves to go in the day to day life. It is a sacred space that is offered and I feel blessed that our college incorporates this into our curriculum. For me, this is a vital part of being the best Homeopath/healer I can be. To continuously reflect on myself and understand my blind spots or even being aware of areas in my life that I have been neglecting or not ready to heal myself. Taking part in this type of work allows me the space to do that, and one that I don’t usually make the time for.
Our group is a combination of third and fourth years today, we work together as one. Never before have had I felt the connectedness and trust that is so evident between us. Maybe this is due to us having had time to bond over the past few years but today feels a bit more special, we are all more open and intimate and this can only be achieved where there is trust. Ego is left at the door and we all share snippets of our inner selves with the group.
Stories around creation myths, Greek mythology, archetypes and planetary symbolism are acted out through all members of the group as we delve deeper into what areas of our own consciousness they represent. How does this all tie in with Homeopathy? A deeper understanding of ourselves and therefore our patients. A chance to heal, as we connect back to nature and therefore our own nature.
I find shamanic work spiritually nourishing and this has always been an integral part of my personal journey as a woman, healer and homeopath. The changes that are felt are often less obvious but a more profound and subtle shift in myself is felt and this will always reflect in my work with my clients. We have worked with subtle energy today and what is Homeopathy but an energy medicine.
At the end of the day I realise I have forgotten about my cough and have actually coughed very little throughout the day! Maybe Ignatia helped more than I realised.
The rest of the month is filled with attending student clinics, both at college and externally. We discuss different cases that we have been working on and look deeply into various methods of prescribing and how we reach those conclusions. This is where the bulk of the learning takes place; real life cases with real life issues. These range from self- esteem, skin conditions, asthma to more serious cases of potentially life threatening conditions. I strive to find a balance between opening my mind to others’ perspectives and ideas and listening to my own intuition. I am constantly reminded to keep an open mind and expand my ideas and thoughts. I challenge my views and question if they are fixed or fluid as I listen to other students and teachers ideas about matching remedy prescriptions to cases.
January has been an incredible month for learning and I am feeling a lot calmer and less stressed than I was in December. I hope I can maintain this feeling for the next few months leading up to graduation in July!
“Somehow Christmas and life have completely taken over and I have found myself without a spare five minutes to do anything”
As I sit down to write my diary entry for December I have just emailed the ARH (Alliance of Registered Homeopaths) asking for an extension to submit this month’s entry. My college weekend was at the beginning of December, and my intentions were to write this shortly after. Somehow Christmas and life have completely taken over and I have found myself without a spare five minutes to do anything. I hope I can recapture the level of inspiration that I felt after my college weekend. Unfortunately, since then I have felt weighed down with the pressure and time limitations of this month’s schedule. I have been incredibly busy between working on my business, seeing clients, student clinic, case writing and the build up to Christmas. Things have gotten a little too much for me and I’m longing to jump on a plane somewhere hot and escape everything for a couple of weeks! Unfortunately this is not an option so I reach for the second best option, my trusty ‘calm and clear flower essence’ (an Australian Bush flower remedy) hoping that this will have some positive impact on my frantic mental state.
December’s timetable at college begun with a morning of Iridology. Not knowing too much about this subject or why it may be useful in Homeopathy I was very intrigued. Iridology, I soon learnt is a technique where by practitioners examine the colour, pattern, shape and other characteristics of one’s eye and through a very careful analysis and is able to determine information about the health of the person. We all took turns in examining our partner’s eyes and seeing if we could relate anything back about the different systems and organs and general health of the body. It was fun and something different and gave me an insight into another diagnostic tool that could potentially be useful.
We were given the opportunity to have our personal photo of our eye diagnosed by the Iridologist in front of the whole class. I chickened out due to my ‘ignorance is bliss’ mentality taking over but I enjoyed witnessing the amazing accuracy of the feedback.
The morning of Iridology was followed by a presentation on Children’s learning disorders and which Homeopathic remedies and protocols to work with in the case of ADD, ASD and ADHD. This is a subject that is close to my heart as my son has ASD (Autism spectrum disorder). I have experienced changes and shifts in my son’s behaviour from Homeopathic remedies that were not always specifically prescribed to treat Autism but more for his general health. This is what I always love about Homeopathy with regards to addressing issues such as learning disorders or supporting a child’s wellbeing , I love that it always comes down to the individual nature of a child/person and how they uniquely express their illness or dis-ease. I enjoy revising different remedies and I love the open discussions that these subjects always lead to. The lecturer has kept what could be potentially quite a deep and intense subject to teach very light by actively encouraging our participation and views on the subject. There is no room for dogmatism in Homeopathy, this is what studying Homeopathy continues to teach me; always keep an open mind. I have found myself questioning many of my deepest beliefs about what I thought to be true about healing and Homeopathy many times over.
We have visited Autism/Homeopathy numerous times at college but each presentation and lecturer always has a very different angle on this subject. I feel I am beginning to adopt a rounder viewpoint on my approach with Homeopathy because of this.
On Sunday we have one of my favourite lecturers teaching us the whole day. I love this man’s approach to teaching. He tells animated stories and anecdotes around the remedy pictures and is able to bring anything he talks about to life. His style of teaching is more abstract and fun and I listen intently to his years of wisdom and experience in Homeopathy. Throughout the day we learn about the remedy Hydrogen and we continue the theme of the periodic table by expanding our knowledge on the tissue salts that can be used as part of our prescriptions. Learning the uses in healing of the natural elements such as potassium, table salt, hydrogen, magnesium, calcium and many more is bringing me back to my chemistry lessons at secondary school, albeit far more interesting! He even throws in a little remedy suggestion with the tissue salts that apparently will help you avoid getting drunk on a night out. Sworn to secrecy but I guarantee I will be trying this one throughout the Christmas period!
I leave college and drive back home after a mind-expanding weekend. I am blown away by all the knowledge and wisdom that has been so generously taught to us over the weekend. I am grateful I have a 30 minute drive home as I desperately need this time to transition back to the reality of my home life.
It is not only at college weekends and student clinics where our learning in Homeopathy is taught. Most of my learning has always been through the actual use of the remedies themselves. The remedies teach me and come to life through life situations and this has never been truer as I write this; in the last few days I have burnt the side of my hand on my heated grill. After running the burn under cold water I reach for my first aid kit and look for my flower remedy Mulla Mulla which has never let me down. I realise that I have none left so I look through my Homeopathy books and find a remedy Cantharis which appears to be one of the more obvious choices for minor burns. I have never actually used this remedy and I am aware that the Cantharis that I have in my cupboard is around nine years old! Oh well, I remember a saying that somebody told me that you will always have the remedy that you need with you, so I took one dose.
Within 20 minutes the pain worsened and within 40 minutes the pain had completely disappeared and there was a scab forming. Even though I have been living and breathing Homeopathy for the past few years, I am still shocked and in awe when I witness these kind of results. I only wish that I had taken a before and after picture! This is where true learning takes place as I will now feel confident to recommend this remedy in the case of minor burns.
“The first morning back to college I take the familiar drive into the college grounds…”
The first morning back to college I take the familiar drive into the college grounds. The beautiful countryside views that surround this college are simply stunning and are conducive to learning homeopathy. I love the building, the history of the grounds and the beautiful nature that surrounds. I love the fact that I can take lunchtime walks amongst the sequoia trees, lake and surrounding nature to clear my mind and prepare me for the afternoon’s lessons. I need this environment to learn, to absorb and process all the information that we are given on weekends. I am thankful that our college is here.
Each college year is launched by an annual talk from the head of the ARH (Alliance of Registered Homeopaths). We need this talk by someone whom is up to date with what is happening within homeopathy and its relationship to the world ie. media, NHS, groups that oppose complementary therapy, and the general public. We are informed about the latest happenings in homeopathy, how it is progressing and moving forward. We are given up to date information on the latest news and things to look out for. It is always so incredibly inspiring to begin the new college year with this type of talk. I remember why I am here and also who I am! As I look around at all the students and teachers I feel a sense of belonging, part of the ‘homeopathy family’. We are all here because we believe so passionately in this arena, and it is a comfort to be around like minded people. All of us are individual, and unique in our perspectives and styles, but united by our passion and belief in this extraordinary healing art.
The first weekend back for me was all about consolidating and clarification. Subjects that had left me somewhat bewildered in the first couple of years have suddenly all made sense in the space of one weekend! I have been told this before; that things seem to come together more in the third year, and there have definitely been a few light bulb moments for me. Remedy pictures are becoming clearer, methods and approaches that can be taken are now suddenly starting to make more sense. Whether it is because I’ve had the summer away from my books and my brain is less frazzled, therefore I am able to receive the information better I do not know, but I feel less confused and a deeper level of understanding is taking place.
One of my most favourite subjects in homeopathy is miasms. Learning about hereditary pre dispositions to disease and how it is expressed in each miasmatic state has always fascinated me. I love learning about the different types of miasms and understanding how an individual can carry through their life certain genetic patterns including behaviours and lifestyle. This makes complete sense to me and I have fun seeing these traits in friends and family, and of course myself. This is one of the subjects in homeopathy that I feel there is always more to learn. Each year we delve deeper into this subject and the understanding of how to identify a miasm in a patient and when to intervene with miasmatic prescribing. I wonder if it is one of those subjects in homeopathy that I feel is never ending and always more to learn, like homeopathy itself!
November’s lessons involved learning about ‘obstacles to cure’ in our patients. What would prevent a patient from responding to treatment and how we can identify these factors and methods of approaching these obstacles? We take a deeper look at suppression of disease through drug and environmental factors and how we would approach treating this in homeopathy. My natural inclination seems to always veer towards a more classical approach when seeing patients, I am always more in my comfort zone looking at the mental and emotional symptoms of my patients and matching with constitutional remedies. Having chosen a college that teaches all methods and approaches, I have had to be open to learning all of these methods and understand why only using one approach to treating a patient can pose limitations.
We are learning about remedies that are used to support specific organs of the body and this is something that doesn’t come easy to me, but is vital to understand when looking at remedy prescriptions.
We take a closer look at understanding different responses to remedies in terms of discerning what is happening to the vital life force energy of the patient. When we can understand this we can know how they have responded to the homeopathy, and which methods of treatment to look at next.
This weekend’s learning has been excellent, now I am seeing patient’s under supervision it is bringing theory to life as I am seeing this all in practice. It has helped to bring more light on my own cases and understanding their response to remedies.
Throughout the last month it has been a struggle attempting to do snippets of coursework in between my work load, see my own patients, not to mention clinical supervision. My son has been ill with bouts of sickness and colds which seem so prevalent in the autumn and winter months. I am aware of how much my response has changed to him being ill. I am far more comfortable allowing his body to express his illness and listen to what his symptoms are telling me. A couple of years ago I would be throwing all different remedies at him in a desperate panic and expecting immediate results. I can see how I have more patience now. I panic less and I have more trust in his body’s ability to heal, even if this takes longer than what I would hope for. It is these little bench marks that I can see how my confidence is growing in the principles of homeopathy, as well as my own ability to discern remedies.
This coming weekend our lectures are around homeopathy and children’s learning disorders. I cannot wait. This has always been a subject very close to my heart and something I would like to eventually specialise in when working as a Homeopath.
“As the beginning of my third and final study year in Homeopathy approaches the same old familiar feelings begin to arise…”
As the beginning of my third and final study year in Homeopathy approaches the same old familiar feelings begin to arise: ‘is this really for me?’, ‘how on earth can I fit all this in to my already busy life’, ‘have I really got what it takes to complete my studies and actually become a Homeopath’, not to mention can I handle the financial commitment for the next 10 months. I have the same pattern of thoughts go through my mind each year at the beginning of a new term. I am also aware that for my final year I will need to devote more time to case writing and clinical supervision. I feel under pressure before I’ve begun!
I first found Homeopathy at the age of 21, I was working in Covent Garden in the beauty industry as a makeup artist. I had suffered from acne for most of my teens and early twenties. Being in the beauty and wellbeing industry I felt very self conscious of how my skin appeared and having gone down the regular conventional route of antibiotics and medicated skin cream for my acne over the years I felt hopeless and was eager to try a different approach. I asked my GP to refer me to the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital (now known as the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine). I was very fortunate to get an appointment, although I had no idea what Homeopathy was or how it worked, my only experience being using some Nux Vomica as a hangover remedy! I wanted to give something else a go as I was desperate.
Not knowing what to expect from this initial consultation I found myself having a fun and relaxed chat with a lovely Irish gentleman who was my designated Homeopath. He completely put me at ease and the whole experience was very enjoyable. Answering questions around my food cravings, moods and dreams fascinated me, and the relevance that this would have on my skin condition. I was prescribed some pills which I took on a daily basis, not knowing what they were or what they would do.
Three months after my first set of prescribed remedies I had left my job, gone on my travels and my skin was beautifully clear for the first time in ten years. To this day I do not know what I was taking but I do know that my whole life completely changed after that first appointment. I was eager to understand what Homeopathy was, how it worked and where it came from. My experience propelled me to delve into understanding that there were other contributing factors in our life that would impact the health of our physical body. I wanted to understand the connection between the mind (thoughts and beliefs), our emotions and our physical wellbeing. I knew Homeopathy targeted the ‘energy’ of the patient, and this is what interested me. It led me into a journey of studying mind/body therapies and metaphysical practices; mindfulness and meditation, holistic therapies such as reiki and reflexology as well as learning about the natural healing properties of flowers and plants. I set up my own practice in London as a Holistic therapist offering these treatments.
A few years down the line when my son was born my gut instinct told me to use Homeopathy for his health. I became increasingly familiar with different remedies and when to use them on my son. I experienced first-hand the immediate effect that these small sugar pills had on his health and I instinctively knew that this was something I had to learn more about. I began to google different homeopathic remedies, I bought Homeopathy books as well as learning from my own Homeopath. I started to feel that Homeopathy was something that was in my blood. It made sense to my holistic approach and thinking, plus I witnessed results, that was the main thing!
Fifteen years after my first experience with Homeopathy, I am coming towards the start of my third study year for my licentiate in Homeopathy. I continue to run my own Holistic therapy business and I balance this with being a single mum. Easy, no. Deeply fulfilling, yes! If I did not have passion for Homeopathy I would not be able to do it, this is what drives and inspires me!
The most challenging part for me prior to embarking on my student journey was finding the most suitable college for me in terms of the location, fees and journey time, this was something I deliberated over for the best part of five years. I wanted to find a college that had a great philosophy and learning approach that I resonated with. Another factor that was very important for me was it being the right time in my life to be able to dedicate to studying. I am now realising there never is the ‘right’ time; since embarking on my studies my work has literally doubled and I continually have to create the time and motivation to my studies.
Also the financial commitment was daunting for me, being a single parent with my own business I was taking a risk. A risk that I was more than ready to take. I soon realised that I would never forgive myself if I didn’t pursue a career that I loved and felt passionate about. I also knew that from already having an existing client base I would be able to slowly introduce homeopathy to my clients so it was a very valuable investment.
I ease myself back into Homeopathy after having had a summers break by getting all my folders out and reading through the remedy pictures and class notes. As I flick through the pages and read I sense my passion coming back with a vengeance. I realise how much I have already learned in the past two years, how far I have come in this space and how much I have evolved personally and professionally as the result of my study journey. My Homeopathy hat is officially back on and the fire inside is lit once again!
I am now eager to return to college and see both new and familiar faces. I am ready for the year ahead and I feel focused on what I need to accomplish in order to graduate next July. I’m hoping this influx of positive energy will sustain me through the rest of the year, bring it on!