When receiving cases, the homeopath listens and observes without prejudice. Often, this is a time that the client will share more about themselves than at any other time in their life. Aside from psychotherapy, there are few other modalities that ask the client to speak so much about themselves. This requires a safe place and great trust. The homeopath must earn this by listening intently and never judging the client's suffering.
Our job as homeopaths requires us to determine what is asking to be healed. Often, this is somewhat different from how the client sees themselves. As we determine what is asking to be healed, it often seems as if we must hold some judgment about the client’s sufferings. This is true in a sense. Many times, it is the seemingly inconsequential things they may report that will lead us to the remedy.
After their case has been given, I find that the person is in a very vulnerable place. They have probably shared something they have never told another person in their life. There is rarely a new client case in which the person does not cry at some point. This is usually the place that is really asking to be healed. The person will often report that they had no idea that they would come and talk about such subjects.
This requires great skill and sensitivity on the part of the homeopath. It could be felt as harsh to just give the remedy and not offer some understanding of their sufferings after having just poured their heart out. I find in most homeopathic training that this vulnerable time is not addressed appropriately, if at all.
What I have found to help with this is what I like to call "holding up the mirror." Holding up the mirror is a process that comes at the end of the case before the person leaves the office. I will share with them parts of their story that relate to the essence of the remedy I have just recommended. This lets the person know I have listened attentively and understood their sufferings. It also gives them back another version of their story. I find that this is homeopathic. At the time of such openness and vulnerability, giving the client your version of their story helps them hear it anew and gives them the opportunity for them to sort of fill back up. Many times, I will take the content of their story and re-contextualize it. Offering it back to them in a slightly different context gives them the opportunity to reabsorb their story with a different view. It helps them separate a bit from it and see it as a story rather than their painful emotional experience.
This process also allows me to share a bit about the remedy and how it relates to the context of their sufferings. Often the client will say something like, “How did you know that about me?" in response to this. This is when I will tell them that I was just repeating their story back to them in a slightly different context and that I have shared only information that they have already shared with me. It’s like holding up a mirror for them.
As homeopaths, we have a great responsibility to be sensitive to our clients. To let them walk out of the office without this process is not completing our job of being the compassionate homeopathic practitioner. Once a client leaves the office, it is now their time to reflect on all they have shared. They should leave the office knowing that they have not been judged and that they will receive compassionate care. Holding up the mirror for them is a part of that process.
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