Foreword to 1st edition 1994.
by Dr Brian Kaplan.
No rational person can doubt the fantastic advances made this century by medical science. Potentially fatal diseases including pneumonia, meningitis and tuberculosis are now treated fairly routinely. The discovery of insulin has brought relief to the previously debilitating disease of diabetes. Transplant surgery has given life and mobility to thousands. Demons such as syphilis and Hodgkin’s disease have simply been put to the sword.
Nevertheless, many chronic diseases such as eczema, migraine, colitis and arthritis, to name a few, remain very difficult to treat. In spite of this, orthodox medicine, greatly aided by the technological revolution, remains the first choice for most people in the Western world. And notwithstanding great victories in its war against disease, a murmur of dissent is being heard more and more frequently amongst its recipients. Perhaps the reason for this is that as conventional medicine journeys further and further down the electron microscope of scientific discovery, it is losing sight of an ancient healing art. The art of therapeutic listening has sadly been sidelined as the science becomes dominated by deterministic thinking. Wonderful things can be discovered by magnifying diseased tissue, but we are in danger of examining the cells of the tissue and neglecting the patient to whom they belong. By all means, let us look down microscopes at cells, but let us not forget to step back and look at the whole world that these cells occupy. The patient as a whole, personal history, relationships, family, job and position in the community may all have tremendous influence in the causation and perpetuation of disease.
It is ironic that most doctors are all too aware of these influences. No medically trained person would deny that stress and anxiety can lead to to a stomach ulcer. And yet the mainstay of the medical treatment of ulcers is by drugs that suppress the secretion of acid in the stomach. Dentists often note the deterioration of gums after a severe shock or disappointment but are trained only to deal with the gums and teeth and therefore often feel powerless to deal with the emotional environment that depressed the immune system and allowed the tissue changes to take place.
For Peter Chappell the psychophysiological changes that allow illnesses to develop and prevent the natural healing ability of the body from curing them, are all important. In this honest and outspoken book, he has drawn not only on his extensive experience as a homeopathic practitioner but also on his own life and personal exploration with psychotherapy.
It is his view that the susceptibility to disease is usually created by a severe emotional shock to the system. This shock may occur in early childhood, as many a Freudian or Kleinian would concur, or even in utero, since emotional trauma to the mother can affect her physiology profoundly and may be transmitted to the foetus. Of course, as physicians, we may never discover these traumas which are often well hidden and protected, buried in the unconscious mind, all too painful for the patient himself to remember. However, we have a better chance of uncovering these events if we remain silent and allow our patients to speak into a space of compassion and understanding. Peter Chappell has clearly made it his business to make the time for creating such an atmosphere within his practice. The case studies used make for compelling reading. The expert classical homeopath is much like a detective as he vigilantly searches for clues in his patient’s life history that could lead to a successful prescription. These vignettes will surely be described by the medical profession as ‘anecdotal evidence’ and this is true. The author’s theory that deep emotional trauma can produce susceptibility to disease is not scientific since it can be neither proved nor disproved. Nevertheless the stories have an unmistakable ring of authenticity, and most homeopaths would agree that their remedies, prescribed for the whole person, are capable of producing profound physiological and psychological changes in their patients.
The homeopathic approach to the patient varies between two poles. On the one hand the practitioner prescribes for the presenting illness while on the other he listens in silence waiting for the patient to reveal the true centre of his problem.
Peter Chappell leans heavily towards the latter approach and this book is a useful contribution to the literature on classical, whole person orientated homeopathy.
Dr Brian Kaplan MBBCh MFHom
Emotional Healing with Homeopathy
by Peter Chappell
Published: 2004, North Atlantic Books, USA