Prejudice: A Pitfall in Homeopathic Prescribing

education prescribing Jun 28, 2023

The most common pitfall in homeopathy is prejudice. This is prejudice on the part of the homeopath whose pitfall is not seeing the case clearly because of ideas in his/her mind that are not of the essence of the case. Let's examine the roots of this prejudice and what it means.

First the definition of prejudice; according to Mirriam-Webster's dictionary prejudice is an opinion made without adequate basis. To damage by a judgment or action. To judge before full hearing or examination.

Hahnemann spoke of the unprejudiced observer in Aphorism 6 of the Organon of Medicine; " The unprejudiced observer well aware of the futility of transcendental speculations which can receive no confirmation from experience be his powers of penetration ever so great, takes note of nothing in every individual disease, except the changes in the health of the body and of the mind ( morbid phenomena, accidents, symptoms) which can be perceived externally by means of the senses; that is to say, he notices only the deviations from the former state of the now diseased individual, which are felt by the patient himself, remarked by those around him and observed by the physician. All these perceptible signs represent the disease in its whole extent, that is, together they form the only true and conceivable portrait of the disease."

The big question then is, "How does prejudice appear in our case-receiving?" It is the biggest struggle for homeopaths because it is our blind spot. Often we can not see what is before us because our prejudice is the filter through which we interpret life. These filters, we are very well accustomed to and can rarely see them ourselves. This does not mean we can not heal this once we become aware; though it is often a difficult task.

The first prejudice we carry in most cases is a feeling that we know what they mean because we have experienced something similar ourselves. It is natural for us to do this because we immediately relate to our previous experiences. When we do this we are involved in our own thought process and not simply observing the case. Much is missed during this time because when are playing our old tapes we can not be free of them to simply hear and observe our client. Much time of the case can be consumed in our own thought processes and reliving our experiences. This is always the case when we have an emotional response to our client. If we are having an emotional response we are not present for the case. We are in our own emotions.

The second greatest prejudice we have as homeopaths is familiarity with the case or the person. This happens regularly when we are receiving the case of family and friends. In our familiarity, we make great assumptions of knowing the person or the dis-ease. Remember Hahnemann specifically directed us to take note of nothing in every individual disease, except the changes in the health of the body and of the mind. The little things that we are familiar with in those we know we often take for granted. We don't even notice the little gestures that we have become so familiar with. "Mom always did this and her mom always did this so it is natural that she should be doing it. I've seen this my entire life and never thought  anything about it." This is prejudice because we have not made the proper examination.

The next prejudice is one of information and previous cases. These are really separate prejudices but they often come together in case receiving. When we study homeopathy we retain much information about remedies etc. It is natural that we would want to use this information. We come to "remedy pictures" that we hold in our minds. Sometimes these pictures are so generic that it is easy to see them in many of our clients. Example: "Sulphur is always an artist" and "Sepia always hates their husbands". These ideas are our prejudice. When we see a case and translate a remedy to it we are missing the most vital part of prescribing; that is, being unprejudiced to actually "see" what is asking to be healed and not just projecting a remedy to the case.

This also shows up when we see a case that reminds us of another case we have seen previously and has a similar theme or story, etc. This becomes more reinforced if we have had a successful healing response to a remedy previously given. Now the prejudice is translated to all cases with a similar theme; the previously successful remedy is going to work in the new case. It will cloud our ability to see the case and we will be doing bad homeopathy if we prescribe from this prejudice.

The last great prejudice is in the form of transcendental speculation. This prejudice is one of arrogance and false knowing. When we come up with lofty ideas about a case that we can not support from true observation, we are speculating. This is a common mistake and one most homeopaths make. It is one built on false understanding or trust in our own psychic abilities. I personally respond to intuition but do not proceed in any case without careful investigation of the idea in ways that are not leading the client. If we routinely prescribe to what we think about the person or the case without having heard or seen it, it is mere speculation and a recipe for disaster. This is prejudice in its purest form.

The most important part of being a homeopath is being that unprejudiced observer. If we wear the filtered glasses of our prejudice we will not see the case clearly. If we can not accurately know and understand what is asking to be healed, we will rarely find the perfect remedy for our client. So, practice being the empty vessel when receiving a case. Let all thoughts of remedies go during the receiving part. Let all emotional responses go and practice beginner mind. There has never been a case like this before you. EVER! No two people are ever the same so even though in the end a similar remedy may be given, be sure it is not coming from prejudice. Let each case stand on its own.

I often equate the process of case receiving to meditation. It is active and fully observing without any attachment. Simply, hear and see the case for what it is. Let your five senses report to you, without attachment. This is also being the "empty vessel". "Let go" is the mantra I have for all of my students. When you can stay actively aware without attachment, you will not miss a thing and the slightest detail may be the most important clue in the case.


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