Last week, we explored the first phase of the evolution of the student practitioner. This phase is filled with the new excitement of seeing and being a part of the homeopathic case. The spark of belief that I too want to be able to do this is ignited. Learning to see people and their dis-ease usually comes fairly easy with the beginners mind. Having a few successful experiences of knowing what is asking to be healed greatly boosts the new student practitioner's confidence. Usually, after six months, a certain restlessness sets in and the new desire to "do" homeopathy arises.
This is the beginning of the next phase in their evolution. It is not the easiest or happiest of times for most student practitioners. The frustration really begins and the realization that they do not know how to use the repertory or find remedies set in. The common question is, "How do you repertize that?" Often, there is no rubric for an idea of the case and this can be quite frustrating. The student quickly learns that they have so much to learn and know so very little. It can come with a defeated attitude. This is where persistence and staying the course is most important. I encourage my students to remember the exciting times from just a few months earlier. It is a time to learn patience and acceptance. It is okay to not know.
I tell my student this all of the time. It is okay to not know the remedy or how to find a rubric at this time. The real challenge is still seeing the case and what is asking to be healed. But sadly the desire to find the remedy is now becoming the most important aspect. The student practitioner usually comes to a great realization that there is so much to learn and they have the desire to know it all right now. This creates much conflict in their mind and their mind will not be settled when they are before the client. This needs to be helped as soon as possible as they learn how much there is to know.
During this time, the greatest challenge is patience. To overcome the hurdle of having to know so much, there needs to be patience. It is impossible to know all there is to know. There is not one homeopath who is not still learning. It is best to get used to this idea and approach learning from a really loving place. We can be our own worst enemy when we cast that line of judgement upon ourselves. The judgement we have about our lack of knowledge is the same judgement we will bring to the case. It is imperative to have loving reminders during this frustrating time that it is okay to not know. I find that this is the most delicate time in a student practitioner's evolution. I remind them that they have worked on over 48 new cases in this first year and that this is more experience than most budding homeopaths will see in the first 5 years of their practice.
The focus is still being able to see what is asking to be healed in the case. This is the time to continue to cultivate this. If the focus becomes the frustration of not knowing the rubric or the remedy, they will have missed being in the present for the case. This challenge is great. I see it in my student's faces when they are thinking about their process of finding the remedy and not being present for the case. If the student practitioner is not fully present and unprejudiced, then they will never find the remedy. They will have missed the most important aspect of being the homeopath; knowing what is asking to be healed.
During this phase, the art of using both sides of the brain is being developed. The one part that is seeing in the abstract and the other that is following the facts. For most people, this is challenging if they have never done this before. It can be overwhelming to the homeopathic student practitioner. But this is the time to learn the process. This can not be learned from a book or even by watching someone else do this. It must be experienced. This is why we train homeopaths in this fashion at RSH. Seeing and doing live cases is the ONLY way to practice this art. It can be developed. Some student practitioners are more adept at this than others.
The one thing that I find that students excel at after the first year is case management. Having participated in over 168 follow-ups in this first year, they are really getting to see how homeopathy works and what to do in a majority of the cases. They may not have much confidence in finding the remedy but the confidence that comes with managing cases and seeing the response people have to remedies is a little easier to grasp. They are usually very accurate in learning what to do next after the response to the initial prescription.
During the second six months and beyond, the need to study becomes imperative. Those students who study in the month between classes, the repertory and the remedies discussed in the class, always do better. It is very apparent for me as their teacher. I do not hound my students to study. They will get out of any program what they put into it. If they are becoming responsible enough for another person's health and becoming a homeopath, they will need to be responsible enough to study. This I cannot do for my students. They must be mature enough to do this on their own. My job is not to hold hands. My job as their teacher is to share foster their growth.
The second phase of the evolution of the student homeopath is summed up by the statement, "I know that I don't know." This is frustrating for most people and not just budding homeopaths. It is humbling. And when there is great desire to know, impatience is usually the end result. If I can help my students to not lose focus on the most important aspect of being a homeopath at this time, then I have accomplished something. The most important aspect is always keeping in the forefront of every case the unprejudiced observer and seeing what is asking to be healed. I find that students from other schools that have been taught rubrics and remedies before the art of case receiving, will approach the case with preconceived ideas about remedies, and want to translate/project that to the case. This is why there are no dry lectures about remedies at RSH. The student practitioner learns remedies by seeing them in cases. This is the best way to learn the energy of remedies and not have preconceived ideas about remedies from remedy pictures shared in dry lectures. It is human nature to want to use the knowledge we have learned but it is a prejudice in learning to receive cases and see what is asking to be healed.
So as the second phase of the evolution of a student homeopath comes to an end, there is usually a crossroads for them. Now is the moment of do or die. Will they jump off the cliff knowing they will make it or will they shy away and move to another profession? I always encourage new students to come for at least one year to find out if they are up to their desire to become a homeopath. Once this decision is made, the student homeopath is now on the road to success. It is not that there will not be bumpy times ahead but when they know they will become a homeopath, they will have the dedication and enthusiasm to continue on this most amazing journey.
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