Blog - Shilpa Bhouraskar

Sixteen Lessons from my Homoeopathic Journey

This blog is special because it was written when I completed 16 years of my homoeopathic journey! It is hard to believe… But I actually started all the way back in 1998.

Looking back I’ve come a long way since then – from a very frustrated student just out of medical school who seriously did not believe she could last beyond a few months of her practice to now having impacted thousands of patients over three different continents as well as students and practitioners over 74 different countries through my training videos, Academies, forums and the Homeoquest software...

But more importantly the students in my Academies are helping tens of thousands of patients in different corners of the globe thereby creating these ripples around the world through their healing and homoeopathy.

Having said that I have made hundreds of mistakes and each mistake has encouraged me to look deeper and explore a new perspective, tool or resource that helped my growth further. So every year has taught me something new and every lesson has enriched my life in so many ways. And today I want to take a moment and look back at all these lessons. And I have decided to share my 16 lessons that I have learnt over the past sixteen years of my homoeopathic journey - that have contributed to my growth and success in some way.

These learnings came to me at different times over the years. I was lucky to stumble onto the first two right at the very beginning. The rest were hard-won lessons I learned over the years. So without further ado, here they are:

1.The purpose of the first 10 minutes of every consult is to simply understand what your patient really wants:

Some of my greatest aha moments have come from just asking this simple but powerful question - What do you really want? The beauty is the answer offers a deeper pespective through every followup. And almost always this question has helped me find hidden gems or discover the exact tools to get my patient back on track and propel their healing journey.

2. Always keep track of what stage your patient is at:

This is another one of those things that I somehow instinctively understood from day one. Every patient feels most comfortable expressing at a specific stage. And it's much simple to just take information at where they are at and work from that stage.

This is so critical, and I have seen many experienced practitioners including myself mess this up at times. But even as a beginner, just doing this can really make huge difference to your practice. There is this immediate sync in the room because real connection starts there.

3. It’s not always about verbal information –

Some of the key information I have got from my patients is through non verbal mode. Not every patient can or will communicate effectively in verbal form. And this is not restricted to just objective symptoms. You can find nonverbal information in many other forms - their body structure, gestures, their paintings, their music, their sketch books, their doodles, their books.In short any and every creative pursuit is an expression of the patient's deeper energy. Don't miss this vital data to trace their disturbance..

4. It’s A Lot Easier To Get Information From The Patient when you come from a position of “not knowingness”– The “Conventional Consultation” does not work :

The conventional consultation is focussed on being in a position of “All knowingness” and “All important”. The practitioner is in the driver's seat and has “all” the answers.

This is completely opposite to what we need to be at. You assume the position of “not knowingness” and “wonder” and “curiosity”! The patient is in the driver's seat and has "all" the answers. Your role is to simply make them aware that they actually have the answers...

5. Choose your resources and tools to match the Patient's Stage:

We are trained to use an approach that we learn in school, that we feel comfortable using or we logically believe to be the best. But your patients are not you. And your favourite approach does not always work for everyone. Real learning starts with this awareness.I have written a series of books on this. I would encourage you to read the first book - "When Your Favorite Approach Does Not Work" if you haven't already. You will find a complimentary copy for download on the left side of this page.

6. Don’t Expect Just One Single Remedy to cure every case:

If your strategy is finding that one single simillimum in every case, then you don’t really have a plan. You are simply planning for a lot of frustration, disappointment and heartache. 90% of my successful cases have never received the Simillimum. Your patients do not want the Simillimum. They want the outcome that the Simillimum provides.

So you need to let go of that perfection mode. You need to diversify your tool kit. You need to know how to use partial simillimums effectively in series. You need to strategically use tools and resources at different stages so you can get that outcome with or without the Simillimum.

7. Use Good Followups to get to the next Stage:

The best strategy is is to get to that first good prescription at a stage the patient is at. But this is the start. When a patient starts doing well, its easier to sit back and rest. Fight that urge. It’s a lot easier to do the right things and make the right decisions when you aren’t stressing about the next prescription… Use the good followups to explore the deeper layers. The bits that do not fit!

8. Journey to the Simillimum– :

There are many ways to get to the Simillimum but here is my take on it based on the Stages Concept. If you are able to confirm the same remedy at, minimum three stages, then this is the closest you can get to the so called “Simillimum”. But there are lots of boxes to tick to make this possible. The disease process has to be linear and traced to the same disturbance. The remedy has to be a well proved polycrest. The patient has to be willing and practitioner has to be in sync....

9. Finding homoeopathic remedies isn't everything:

It is wise to remember that there is scope for health and wellbeing even beyond the spectrum of homoeopathic medicines. There are patients who can easily express beyond Stage 4 and may not need “medicine” in any form. In others another form of energy therapeutics can be a more powerful catalyst for their healing. You need to let go of your instinct to prescribe a homoeopathic remedy for every case.

On the other hand there are patients at Stage 1 who will not respond to any potencies. They need high doses of conventional medicine because that is the most appropriate tool for them...

10. Discover your own gifts and purpose:

I work with many new practitioners. They ask me “Will my practice give me a sustained income?” But the fair question is - What are you willing to give your practice? What unique gifts would you bring on to the table? What legacy would you want to leave behind through your work? When you give yourself the permission to discover your innate gifts and offer it to your work, your work will gift you back in abundance.

11. It’s All About Integration and collaboration of two systems:

I dream of a day when conventional and complementary practitioners will work together and join forces in every corner of the globe. That will be a huge milestone for health and healing. Having seen the pros and cons of both systems I sincerely believe in working towards that future. The real future is thinking in terms of “partnership” integration and collaboration...

12. Knowing your limitations is The Most Important Thing (And It Becomes More Important As you grow):

This is relevant as you build your success. The bottom line is there are always more opportunities than there is time. What projects you want to undertake? What opportunities do you want to accept? What type of patients you want to work with? You can only do so much. Choose wisely.

13. Spend time discussing, brainstorming cases with like minded colleagues:

I changed my practice at five different places within the first few years across two different continents. And the only thing that sustained me were my discussion groups with like minded colleagues.

My journey changed radically since I created this global homoeopathic network. That is where I share my ups and down. This is where I find that inspiration to get out of bed each morning. That is where new connections are made with students and patients. And this is where I meet the experts in the field around the world to enrich my journey.

14. The Power Of Mentoring Is Enormous:

I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if I hadn't had mentors at every stage of my journey. Even to this day I am actively engaged in various mentoring groups for my own personal and professional growth. So if you haven't already then find a mentor for the next stage of your journey now.

15. Baby Steps:

This is so important when you are starting. Your first case will fail, that’s OK. Your first remedy will not do anything, that’s OK. Your first patient will refuse to talk, that’s OK. The important thing is to take the next step in your plan... and you keep moving forward. You’ll get there… just get started.

Be gentle with yourself, forgive yourself for mistakes, don’t expect to be perfect – just get moving, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

16. Invest In Yourself… No One Can Take Your Skills From You:

I spend a lot of time, energy, and money on building my skills and knowledge. I’ve been doing that from the start, and I’m not sure I can ever stop… no one can take that away from me. I’ve been fortunate enough to have long term success… but I’ve also had set backs.
I’ve had to restart my practice from scratch five different times – my entire database of patients disappeared overnight - but it never slowed me down. In fact, it really wasn’t even very troubling, because I knew I had the skills to bounce right back. Once you’ve developed your skills, you have the ultimate control over your destiny and journey.

So there’s my 16 Lessons… I’m not claiming they are all-inclusive, or that they’re a fit for everyone. After all, I only had 16 to work with. But they’ve been working really well for me…

So let me know – what’s your #1 tip for success? What was the one you learned first? Which one was the most painful to learn? What did I forget? Leave a comment below and let me know… I read all of the comments.

Discussion:

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Thanks Shilpa.
May I add the most valuable lesson that I've learnt, is for me and my issues to get out of the way (as much as ever is possible!) of my work.
Attempting to maintain a neutral position around any issue that a patient may raise maintains my empathy and high regard for receiving the case from a patient.
The implication here is that I am constantly a "work in progress" as I continue in my Soul's journey this lifetime. I sometimes feel that during a consultation with a patient, that they are the practitioner, and I am the subject of healing! It's truly amazing to do this work - the Magnum Opus.

Great Lesson Peter!

Thanks Shilpa much of this resonated with me. Sometimes I know healing happens through a well timed question or observation as much as a medicine which creates the ah ha moment for a client.
Good luck with your next 16 years.

Thanks Christine, Yes I agree. We so often focus our energy on just the remedy, but the whole process including the practitioner is the catalyst for healing!

Thank you Shilpa - I really enjoyed these lessons. Some great reminders here. Your wisdom, experience and encouragement are a great boost to me.

Thanks Jill, I am glad this has been useful.

Congratulations for your success Dr.Shilpa. Your untiring efforts have reaped countless fruits in the form of students and practitioners over many parts of the world. Go ahead with the same spirit. All the best.
Last but not the least, I am fortunate enough to be the member of this community relishing the taste of your fruitful journey.

Thanks Naga Surekha. It is a pleasure to have you in this homeopathy network and community.

Dear Shilpa

Wishing you all the best ....ultimate goal of your life is to discover your self..that would be the ultimate source of happiness...bliss..I know you will achieve that via your hard work in homeopathy.You are born for that.
BTW which drug you resemble most...can openly describe that.

thanks
Anil Gera
ak6366@gmail.com

Dear Dr Shilpa ,I learnt a lot from your blog as a Homeopathecian and added more to my knowledge even after passing out in 1972 from the 1st batch of N H Medical College & Hospital, new Delhi,India. My best wishes to you for sharing your experiences.

Thanks Dr Achleshwar,
It is my privilege to connect with someone as experienced as you.

I really enjoyed this article Shilpa, especially your honesty in regard to admitting that there are a number of patients for whom homeopathy is not the answer at that time and that if our quest is to only ever find the similimum then we will lose many of our patients. All homeopaths know and realise the power and wonder of the extent of healing of the similimum but in practice these experiences can be few and far between. When I first started practicing 10 years ago I thought that to be a good practitioner I had to be able to produce successful results every time since that was the message I got from listening to other practitioners cases at seminars. I now realise that we all have our successes and failures but that my patients choose me as their practitioner because for some reason they have been attracted to me for help. We are all a work in progress - both practitioners and patients.

Thanks Anne. You have raised an extremely vital point. Your patient’s choose you and are attracted to you. Our job is to help them with the best of our knowledge and expertise - with or without homoeopathy and/ or the simillimum...

These were wonderful to read.
I resonated with the state of "know nothingness" - this is where I struggle the most. When sitting with a patient, my antsy mind wants to jump ahead to all the remedies and analyze while they are talking. I have to continually catch myself and bring myself back to the present - to occupy the present moment only - observing, listening, recording. It's a meditative practice! A bit like what Peter is saying - to get out of my own way.
Thanks for sharing Shilpa.

Thanks Lizzie. Love your analogy of a Meditative practice for the Homoeopathic consult!

Thank you Shilpa
As a student I constantly look for guidance from those who have come before me. You are a wealth of information and I soak it up like a sponge. What I really appreciate with you is your openness to methods other than Classical Homeopathy. I believe that is the key to being the best you can be for your patients.
I also appreciate your stand on believing Allopathy and Homeopathy can find a way to work together. I work in the allopathic medical field. I wholeheartedly believe the two can work together and intend to be the one here in Mid-America to prove it. I have a long way to go in my learning before that happens. I am so glad to have you as a mentor, I am truly grateful for your blogs.

Thanks Jane. All my best wishes are with you.

Wow, what a great read today as I make my way back to my clinic desk after the holidays! For me the idea of reflecting on my 'own gifts & purpose' in practice is a good one... I also totally relate to No 12 - knowing your limitations (there ARE always more opportunities than time!!). I'm taking that good advice 'Choose wisely' into 2015. Many thanks Shilpa.

Thanks Lee. Having watched you build your practice so closely here is wishing you another wonderful year. May all your dreams come true!

Dear Shilpa,

Thank you for your blog and the many lessons I've learned from your practice. When I was ready to give up, you have been an inspiration to continue. My practice (if it can be called that, since I'm mostly a farmer now) is primarily animals, with human cases thrown in here and there for good measure. Animals don't talk much, but they do give lots of indications of what's wrong, and it's a challenge to get the information that they offer. The key is keen observation, taking the time to STOP and see what's in front of me that I could easily miss if I'm in a hurry.

Oh, how I loved reading your thoughts on simillimum. I have heard so many times that we're always looking for the Simillimum, and I have rarely found it, but have found good remedies to address the illness along the way.

In point 7, you say "its easier to sit back and rest. Fight that urge" and then you seem to contradict yourself when you say "make the right decisions when you aren’t stressing about the next prescription". What urge are we fighting, then?

Why must the remedy be a well-proven polycrest? One of my mentors uses many small remedies and has had wonderful success with them.

Finally, I appreciate your openness to other therapies. I have used EFT and hypnosis with human clients, and Bowen Technique and acupressure with humans and animals, and sometimes wondered if I should not be involved with so many modalities--yet, they work, sometimes before I even consider a homeopathic remedy, and sometimes following homeopathy.

It is always a joy to connect with you Joy :)
To answer your specific query in point 7, it is mostly related to treatment of a multilayered complex case where you are planning to use a series of well indicated remedies as each layer sheds.
So when a layer is removed the patient reports back to you happily, you may want to do nothing in that consult.
But for me this is the best time to go that one step deeper and get further information of the deeper layers. This is what I meant - Fight urge to do nothing.
And making the right decisions here is simply note down the remedies that may be indicated on this new information. So when the patient does come back with indications of the new layer you are well prepared with your plan in that followup.

With your other point on the Simillimum, the remedy must be a polycrest for the convenience of the practitioner. So you can check if it is indicated at at least three stages or more even before they are prescribed. And only a polycrest is proved to get information at all stages.
On the other hand small remedies have a patchy proving( only at one or two stages) so while you can prescribe them at those indications, you could not check the information at other stages before prescribing. Having said that it does not mean they cannot be the Simillimum. Many small remedies that create a dramatic response well beyond the proving information they were prescribed on are what I call Accidental Simillimums.

Shilpa, when you ask the client "What do you really want?" (point no. 1), do you mean what is their goal for this homeopathic process or something broader? Can you please give an example?

It is an open ended question Judith. The beauty is the patient interprets it based on the stage they are at. They could talk about just wanting to get rid of their sinusitis or wanting to connect with their deeper selves. It then becomes easier for you to adjust and simply follow their case from there on....

Hello Shilpa - I do wish i were able to meet you in person. your humility and passion come through in your writing very clearly. i think what i appreciate most is your admission of failures. i don't think that homeopaths as a group are trying to hide their failures, but i think they find the successes a lot more interesting to talk about. the end result is, we rarely hear about others' failures, and so the failures we experience in our own practices can be more painful for us. i think there should be more discussion of failure in homeopathic practice. i have sometimes felt like packing it all in. it's honest admission from others about the fact that homeopathy can not always help every situation, that helps me to feel encouraged to keep trying! thank you for all your efforts. Best, Rachel Chaput (USA)

This is the finest explanation I ever read. I fully agree with you that patient is In the driver's seat and practitioner is next to him. Driver, patient, has all the answer. Logicaly said. Thanks shilpa.

Thanks Santanu:)

Hi Shipla thanks for your tips from your homeopathic experience. Well my experience is never to give up till one finds the correct remedy. A remedy which causes some aggravations and later ameliorations. In one case had to struggle for 3 years before I found such a remedy. We have to be flexible to use different approaches to get success.

Well done Julius for showing that persistence.

Thanks a lot mam for great lessons.
And I think the best lesson is no. 15 "BABY STEPS" great.

I have been following your lessons and articles for about a year now, and I've learned so much, esp as I'm starting off my practice after a break. These 16 lessons just summarize what you have been teaching. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience, we need more mentors like you in the homeopathy world!

Hi Dr. shilpa ! after reading this , no matter where am i in my practice or what i learnt up to now., i realized the need of a mentor for beginning practitioners like me . i need a mentor like you as your stages concept is the only one that i understood better even than organon. as i feel it may lead to any other approach and do not interfere with any of them . i've tried to apply whatever approach infront of me and got much confused. i have only the will to earn money through true practice. money to survive, truth to be better. then , what i have to do to reach a mentor ?

sorry dr.shilpa ! due to some grammatical mistakes., iam rewriting this.Hi Dr. shilpa ! after reading this , no matter where am i in my practice or what i LEARNED up to now., i realized the need of a mentor for beginning practitioners like me . i need a mentor like you as your stages concept is the only one that i understood better even than organon. as i feel it may lead to any other approach and do not interfere with any of them . i've tried to apply whatever approach infront of me and got much confused. i have only the will to earn money through true practice. money to survive, truth to be better. then , what i have to do to reach a mentor ?

Thanks mam for encouraging

Thanks Shilpa

For the 16 important paras, which you shared out of your experience. Yes one should think in those lines,and benefit from them

Among 16 what attracted my attention was #11;;;

" It’s All About Integration and collaboration of two systems"
We need this very much.

With best wishes

Dr Wequar

Miami Florida.

Note: By the way Miami is getting it,s share of ZIKA; Whats your take.

Shilpa, you have put together such a good checklist of Lessons Learned and I always enjoy your succinct notes. You clearly have a wonderful gift for teaching. Point 1 - To try and understand what the patient really wants - is SO important. That too would be my number One also. So I try to remember always to feed that question to the patient at an appropriate point during the first consultation, gently probing for more details depending upon how they answer…. Some don’t quite know what they want, or can’t reveal it clearly until you have gained their trust.

Related to that, one of my best College teachers used to say, “it can be useful for the practitioner to ask themselves also the question “Has this patient currently got a Future to get well into?”. If you feel for instance that e.g. the patient is in such a low emotional place that the answer to that would be, “I don’t really think so. Not in their current frame of mind, home situation, or whatever”, then consider what you can do in discussion to plant a seed in their mind to start them thinking about more positive outcomes e.g. ask them what they would really like to be doing (once - hopefully with your help - they have found a way of dealing with whatever it is that is wrong with them currently). Instilling Hope can be so important.

From homeopathic discussion groups I’ve attended I’d also say that one of the commonest problems during the first consultation, particularly for nervous new practitioners anxious not to be seen as indecisive, is to decide what to give as a solid first prescription in the limited analysis time often available. Your own courses and that of Dr Joe have given a lot of really helpful advice on strategies to tackle this problem. From my own Lessons Learned I would just add that when in group discussions we have helped each other to decide what remedy(ies) to give with at least some degree of confidence as a first prescription, even in cases where the information as to symptoms is quite lacking, contradictory etc, we have always found that perusal of the list of Narayani combination remedies supplies a remedy that everyone agrees could well be helpful. By the second consultation it is very often the case that that combination remedy will have induced some of the symptoms to have changed, and “opened the case up” to enable a better appreciation of appropriate future remedies.

Many thanks for all your valuable insights :)

Thanks Tim for your feedback and thoughts. I completely agree. I believe Stage 1 needs to be given a much more emphasis in our homeopathy schools and colleges so we can better equip our future generation of homeopaths with every tool to make that confident start.

Good morning shilpa
You know what my first patient told me ? He came about 8p.m of night at my chamber and told me that doctor I am suffering from coryza fever bodyache and severe headache from yesterday and I have to set out at 7a.m. next morning. Can you control it with in the rest of the night. I treated him and told him to tell me when he come back how was he after taking re medicine. After three days he came to told me he was fine before he was for his schedule. What I want to tell that doctor must have confidence in himself. Whatever challenge or obstacles comes in the way doctor must have the courage ability and knowledge to face it. Doctor must not be depressed with failures.

Thanks for sharing your experience Santanu. Yes when our patients need that immediate relief from an acute, we have our task cut out! Confidence can only come when we train ourselves with those Stage 2 tools. Well done.