Book review by Dr Mansoor Ali
Dimension: 5.5” × 8.5” Color: Single
Price : Rs.149
The Homeopathic Conversation – The art of taking case by Brian Kaplan
A useful book to teachers and students who wish to improve case-taking skills. Because this book is an attempt to draw attention to what actually happens in a homeopathic clinic or college OPD and method to overcome the drawbacks.
If you neglect making a careful case taking.. ..the patient will be the first sufferer …then you yourselves will suffer from it…ultimately Homoeopathy also.
Brian Kaplan qualified as an orthodox medical doctor at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. In 1982 he came to England to study homeopathy at the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. After completing a comprehensive training in homeopathy (exclusively for medical doctors) he became a member of the Faculty of Homeopathy in 1983 and a Fellow in 2002. He then studied counselling, nutritional dietetics, fitness, yoga, autogenic training, and provocative therapy. His approach is eclectic and rigorous, with the aim of treating the whole person as well as the disease.
In this personal and passionately argued book, Dr Kaplan traces his journey away from the mechanistic world of conventional medicine towards the empathetic, person-centred philosophy of homeopathy
According to Kaplan “The ability to listen well and say the right thing at the right moment is central to the homeopathic process.”
“The homeopath who is able to take good case histories at least has a chance of finding the remedy”.
Difference between UK & US based homeopaths
In the beginning Dr. Kaplan gives the reader a brief auto-biographical sketch of his early medical training and his subsequent introduction to Homeopathy. He beautifully compared UK based and USA based classical homoeopaths based on their achievement with mentioning the reasons.
This is followed by discussions about acute case taking, chronic case taking, our state of receptivity as the practitioner, note taking, nonverbal communication, and many other important topics that influence our conversations with our patients.
Major sections are
- Becoming a doctor
- Discovering homeopathy
- Homeopathic education
- Taking the acute & chronic case
- Receiving vital information’s
- Learning from other disciplines
- Techniques in the case taking room
- Doctors, scientists and psychotherapists
- Nonverbal clues, signs and symptoms
- Learning and teaching case taking skills
- Postgraduate supervision
In the chapter homeopathic education – he explained various factors that affecting the quality of homeopathy.
Why not memorizing our books
People have been able to lean by heart religious texts like Bible & Quran, but no homeopaths has been able to memorise Alle’s Encyclopedia or Hering’s Guiding Symptoms. Abbreviated materia medicae, like Allen’s Key note are shorter still difficult to memorize.
In this chapter he compared the work of various classical authors based on their living territory and analysed their success and failures.
Kent’s repertory has been added with many rubrics and medicines. He warns that there is a danger in adding information in an indiscriminate way, but as long as additions and changes are carefully marked and attributed to authors, the usefulness is increased.
If Hahnemann lived longer?
He feels uncomfortable when homoeopaths quote Hahnemann, and creating un necessary dispute with others. He revised Organon five times. If he had lived longer than 89 years – he may revised Organon many more times, because he learned more and more from clinical experience. If he lived in this era of microbiology and genome – Organon would have been revised appropriately.
In Acutes – He mentioned two methodology in case taking. One for the patient consulting you for the first time, second for patients who have seen you before.
Author is not available by phone during consultation time, unless it’s matter of life and death – a good thing other also can adopt.
In chapter – Learning from other disciplines – he emphasized the need of Psychology, Psychotherapy and explained the concept by masters in that field.
Dr Kaplan has a very deep understanding of Freud, Jung, Reich etc. His deep knowledge helped him a lot to be a better case taker.
Point camera to Physician
He requested al homeopaths who are recording cases over video, to point camera not only to patient but also to physician. So that it can also be of great use in teaching materia medica and case analysis.
In chapter 10 – he described various techniques in consulting room – such as neurologic programming, humor, provocation, words, talking about our own life, since a homeopath who married and has children will relate differently to families from one who is single.
Other Homoeopaths & doctors
How many homeopaths are sure of their remedy?
When a homeopaths comes to see you, consider it as great compliment. That is because he admire the way you think homeopathically or is in awe of your encyclopedic knowledge on homeopathy. He described various techniques to deal with these class of patients.
Similarly if a allopathic doctor or scientist consult you as a homeopath – you must consider it as challenging case. Because their view of a homeopathic remedy is that of putting a drop of medicine at one end of a large swimming pool and drinking a teaspoon of water at the other end. Try to remember that it is hard for him to accept that pills contains homeopathic medicines.
Learning and teaching case taking skills
Case taking best taught using practical exercise by dividing students into small small groups. He had given many sample exercise that teacher should give as an assignment . He has given some excellent exercises that the student to practice under supervision of a teacher.
There are two essential components of homeopathic postgraduate supervision
Supervision of the case analysis
Supervision of the consultation
This book is very enjoyable to read but chapters on psychology difficult to digest