Dr Kaplan describes in detail the process of ‘taking the case’, which is central to the ability of accurate homeopathic prescribing. Finding the right remedy depends not only on noting all the symptoms, both physical and mental, but on assessing how these affect the patient’s mental state. It is important to try to gain an understanding of the person and his attitudes, fears, thoughts and reactions, both conscious and unconscious, and how these have changed with the illness. As Dr Kaplan says, a more accurate remedy is prescribed by understanding the patient than by an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Materia Medica. But how can we better understand the patient?
The major part of the book enlarges on how to create the bond of understanding between practitioner and patient, the qualities needed to elicit the information required and how to really listen with genuine empathy and understanding. This way the patient feels free to talk and open up, so the ‘real person’ comes through. The author discusses the unconditional acceptance of the patient. He discusses and shares with readers the insights, skills and techniques which have been invaluable to him in the homeopathic consultation, including an understanding of the value of psychotherapy and counselling. The book is about how to achieve the ultimate state of being the receiver, in this case the homeopath, so that nothing stands between the real person, the patient and his needs, and the ability to receive this information and respond appropriately and rewardingly with the prescription of the correct remedy.
Although this book is really written for homeopaths and homeopathic students who will learn a great deal from reading it, there is much to be learned by physiotherapists too, especially those of us working with complementary therapies. It is about the art of the personal relationship which underlies the science of therapy.
Dr Kaplan trained originally as an allopathic doctor but found himself disillusioned with the training and practice of medicine. The importance of the quality of the interrelationship between homeopath and patient in the homeopathic conversation, and the resulting accurate prescribing gave Dr Kaplan the satisfaction he had been looking for. We are left with the strong impression of an inspiring man who discovered that he was unfulfilled and unable to achieve the reward of truly helping people only as a doctor. The benefits of his subsequent career and methods are now available to us all in this interesting and well-written book.
Susan Hollenbery MCSP RCST