A patients experience of the therapeutic encounter with a homeopath
(* Name changed by the editor to protect confidentiality)
Homeopath: Hi Lauren (*)
Patient: Hi Julia (*)
Homeopath: How are you doing today?
Patient: Overall very well thanks, and you?
Homeopath: Am fine myself, a bit exhausted by the changes of the weather…
Patient: Oh yeah…I know what you mean…
Homeopath: Lauren, you have agreed to my interviewing you a bit about your experience in the homeopathic consultation…
Homeopath: I will just be asking you some general questions, there is no intention to disclose any details of your case at any time. This interview serves only the purpose to understand better how the homeopathic encounter feels to a patient. Its all very well for me being the practitioner, but how patients feel in this therapeutic space is what interests me.
This interview will be anonymised and your name will be changed to a fictitious one.
Homeopath: Shall we begin?
Homeopath: Lauren, This was the first time that you saw a homeopath, when you came to see me?
Patient: Yes, it was the 1st time I did go see a practitioner of any alternative discipline actually. I had no knowledge or experience with any CAM treatments whatsoever, until now.
Homeopath: What made you try an alternative treatment approach?
Patient: It was actually recommended to me to try homeopathy by a friend. She had been treated and was very satisfied with the treatment. So she told me to give it a try . She’d also read somewhere that homeopathy was good at treating my condition.
Homeopath: So, up until now you only ever had seen conventional doctors? Big difference?
Patient: Yes, only been seeing GP’s. Oh yeah, big difference!
Homeopath: Would you like to elaborate on that?
Patient: Well, …first of all, you are not in a hurry, where as the GP barely takes the time to listen to what you’ve got… and they don’t tell you much either; hand you the prescription and show you out..that’s it…
Homeopath: What did you think when you found out that the 1st consultation could take up to about an hour, or even longer?
Patient: I thought, my god, what on earth could she possibly want to know from me that it could that long..
Homeopath: So how did it feel for you, that 1 hour consultation…actually it took a little less, about 48 minutes? Were they daunting?
Patient: Well, it did at 1st feel a bit weird when you asked me such questions that went back that far in my life…like the childhood diseases and stuff… I couldn’t help but wonder how that could possibly have anything to do with my condition … or how life incidences, like, my divorce could be related to what I have now…
Homeopath: …they sure can…that is part of what homeopathy is about; finding a patients very own influencers in life that may have been the source of all evil…
Patient: …yes, it was good when you explained all this to me…and I see it now..I was a lot more confident about telling you these things, after you had explained…
Homeopath: So, you had felt uncomfortable…
Patient: At first a little, not because of you, its just that…I didn’t know what to expect…being told is still different from then experiencing it…do you know what I mean?
Homeopath: Yes! It’s totally ok. I fully understand. I have huge respect for my patients when they are prepared to share their case with me! It humbles me! It takes a lot of trust!
Patient: Yeah, when you first come, you don’t really know that other person…perhaps just by phone or e-mail, which is even worse… You don’t know them yet and don’t feel readily comfortable around them…, but that quickly changed with you. You can probably tell, by all the stuff that I have shared with you from my life…
Homeopath: I am very grateful for that trust! … and all that a patient shares in the homeopathic consultation is treated with strictest confidentiality. In this respect we homeopaths, are no different to any other health care practitioners, doctors or even lawyers… confidentiality of what we are told applies, and our notes and patient-files are kept in locked filing cabinets…
Please remember that the information you share, has the sole purpose of allowing me, the homeopath, to select the best matching remedy for you in your current presenting state of health. The deeper the insight into your individual state and circumstances, the more precisely can a remedy be selected…
Patient: Yes, I understand that, and… I mean, I can also tell… I have seen the changes coming from that little pill you gave me…I just had that one, and could literally see an improvement of my condition day by day!
Homeopath: Is there anything in particular that you would like to mention in this interview?
Patient: hmm … no, not really…it works. Homeopathy works, and I mean, if it takes that 1 hour in the consultation to find the right medicine, a remedy, then that is a time well spent… how do conventional doctors do it… in the short time that you spend with them? … but then again.. that stuff doesn’t really work, does it? … I mean, they give you this ‘n that and then some more for effects from those meds… and then whatever sickness you have, it comes back at a later time… Should have come to homeopathy sooner…
Homeopath: Thank you Lauren for spending this time with me and answering my questions!
Patient: You’re welcome!