Shifting Through Layers: A 5-Year Case

 In Homeopathy

Paul Theriault, ND

As cases progress over multiple remedies and through multiple years, patients generally advance through the layers of human spiritual development. These layers were described in my previous article (NDNR, June 2016).1 This article here details the progression of 1 such patient, followed for a number of years, who was remarkable in her rapid progress through the layers.

Layer 3

First Visit, November 2009

The patient was a 27-year-old woman who presented to me in November of 2009. She wanted to have her case taken due to a lack of self-development. She felt she was not the same as others – that others were changing and developing, leaving her behind. She said she didn’t know how to have a relationship, and would take time out to be alone. She wasn’t ready for a number of things her peers considered normal. She felt as if she needed to be around others but that it never worked out. She wasn’t where she should be in terms of her life cycle. She didn’t feel complete.

She felt as if she wasn’t connecting to others, wasn’t able to interact with them, as if a barrier prevented her from interacting. She saw this barrier like a cloud, which somehow distorted things around it. At this point, we ran out of time, so booked a follow-up appointment for further case-taking.

One Week Later

At the following round of case-taking 1 week later, she quickly returned to her issues surrounding identity. She was having difficulty seeing herself outside of her career. She felt as if she wasn’t fulfilling her potential, and saw no personalization within her life. I asked her about potential, and she replied that she felt as if something outside of herself was directing her. This was a major theme of her life. She could resist this directing force, but that always ended disastrously.

When asked to describe this force, she spontaneously went into source language,* describing a white cloud which gave form to things within it, and a dark gray cloud which was trying to be white but couldn’t because it was tainted.

In this greatly abbreviated case-taking, we see a person who feels she has fallen behind in her personal development because her life is being directed by an outside force. She feels a lack of self outside of this directed role, and directly observes a barrier between herself and others, making communication and connection difficult. While the barrier issue might suggest a Layer 2 remedy, the core issue here is of a lack of identity due to direction by an outside force, which suggests a Layer 3 remedy.

I selected Alumina (or Aluminum oxide, consisting of aluminum – a Layer 3 mineral, and oxygen – a Layer 2 mineral). A 1M potency was prescribed.

Follow-up, December 2009

At her follow-up in December 2009, she expressed that she felt much more able to see herself doing other things outside of her career. She felt more open and more assertive, and rated her overall improvement at 15%.

I prescribed a single dose of Alumina 10M.

Follow-up, January 2010

At her next follow-up in January 2010, she presented with another picture entirely. She reported that she was growing extremely irritated by others in her workplace. She was tired of others complaining and piling work on her. She felt like others were taking advantage of her and not reciprocating. She felt her interactions with them as a pressure, a heaviness in her chest. She felt a small object in front of her throat, like a shield, protecting her from interactions with others. However this shield blocked out interaction, leaving her somewhat depressed and drained of energy.

The opposite of this shielded depressed feeling was a feeling of giddiness. She felt she had the energy to do things in her life, and had pleasing social interactions. She then moved into source language again: She described an energy emanating out from her, a yellow-white light that surrounded her. Within this light, everything was beautiful and fine.

We can see from her second interview that the patient is in a completely different state than she was previously. The feeling of being shaped by outside forces was completely absent, being replaced by a state of having difficulty with boundaries during social interactions, culminating in a source of light protecting her; she was also engaging in harmonious social interactions.

The second remedy I gave was Phosphorus 10M** – a remedy also in Layer 3, but more developed and advanced than Alumina, and situated to the right of aluminum on the periodic table.

Layer 4

Follow-up, February 2010

The patient’s next follow-up was in late February 2010. She again reported complete resolution of her previous state, and a new problem emerging. She reported a feeling of grumpiness. She felt happy doing her own thing, but became extremely frustrated by others who disrupted her plans, making her feel extremely uncomfortable. She had a definite way in mind that she wished things to go, and was disturbed when others prevented this. She hated when the actions of others directly impacted her.

When I asked her to elaborate on things impacting her, she replied that she made a point in her life of not negatively impacting others. She felt that others were detouring her away from what was familiar, and that this required her to take corrective actions. There was a way things were supposed to be – familiar, predictable, and safe. Interaction with others merely disrupted that.

Using free association,*** she described an image of 2 objects colliding, one of which is molded to the other one, adapting to it. It was like Jello, being molded into something outside of itself. Upon questioning, the patient reported no issues with her identity, feeling secure in who she was.

The patient’s state was again different. She described herself as being within a predictable state, safe and sensible, but being thrown out of this state by her interaction with others, which caused her great irritation. Issues of identity were completely absent, being replaced with the issue of maintaining her environment as a stable and safe place for herself. This is indicative of a shift to Layer 4.

Because she used source language to describe this state as one of a Jello-like substance, molding itself to another, I prescribed Calcium sulfate (or plaster) as a 10M single dose.

Follow-up, March 2010

The patient’s next visit was in March 2010. She reported that her previous state of feeling like Jello had disappeared. She now reported a great feeling of anger and of needing to push things away from herself. She felt everything around her was not quite right, and wanted to change it to suit herself more.

She felt that she was becoming an adult but that parts of herself were clinging onto childhood, and that she needed to fight against them. Those parts of her were holding her back, stopping her from being who she wanted to be. It was like a weight, weighing her down. I asked her to close her eyes and explore this feeling, and she immediately jumped into a description of the opposite state from that heaviness. It was a state of being outside of her body, where she felt this conflict erase and felt more like herself, without any impediments. She felt lighter there; everything was the way it was supposed to be. In this state she felt an attraction to her body, though she couldn’t fully enter it. She felt like her body was an empty shell, not sensitive to what was going wrong, and not truly herself. In contrast, she felt heavy while in her body, and felt the full unpleasant reality in which her body was enmeshed.

This visit presented the patient in a fight with aspects of herself. She felt that parts of herself, those she identified with her body, were holding her down and back from her full development. She responded to this with a near out-of-body state, toward an idealized energetic realm where things were more proper than they were in reality. We see further growth in this patient, with issues of being shaped by the outside world dissolving, and her now taking a more active role in actively choosing and shaping her immediate environment – a prominent feature of Layer 4.

I chose the remedy Ferrum phosphate, combining the fighting spirit of the Ferrum remedies and the diffuse and energetic nature of the Phosphorus remedies. I gave a single dose of 10M, dissolved in water.

Layer 7

Follow-up, April 2010

The patient returned for a follow-up in April 2010. She reported a return of an old symptom of acne on her face, back, and chest. She had experienced this around puberty, and had experienced generally bad skin since that time. She felt physically flawed. She felt she had to fake a state of health, so others would think she was fine.

When I asked her to elaborate on what she meant by fake, she stated that, deep down, beings had an essence, a core hidden by outer layers of the personality. It was the essence of that thing, unaffected by its circumstances. It governed the actions of things and people, as the underlying motivation for their actions.

She saw this as a ball of light within the being, a small metal sphere, like the molten core of a planet. It was a liquid, but strangely not physical. It was as if this sphere was attempting to be physical but was not able to. It has a slippery, molten feeling, and was maintained in coherence by an internal force. It was separated from matter by a barrier, rather like a water balloon. It was light surrounded by a ball of metal.
It was changed only by the experience of the person it was within.

As we see now from the shift in language and issues, the patient has moved into another layer. Now the issues of her true inner-self, her core-essence, emerge. Rather than issues of identity and self-definition, however, her issues revolve around the expression of the deep core-essence within her social context, thus avoiding the social mandate to be fake and pretend that everything was fine with her life.

I gave her the remedy Europium phosphate, as a 30C potency, taken in liquid daily for 2 weeks (to avoid skin aggravations), then afterward as a single dose of 1M.

Over time, she reported a clearing of her acne, and a complete clearing of her skin issues after her next remedy (Obsidian in August of 2010). She was also treated with a final remedy (Anhalonium) in June of 2011, the case-takings of which we will not discuss at this time.

Follow-up, January 2016

I recently followed up with this patient in January 2016. She had just given birth, and although the birth was difficult and her newborn son was having a difficult time, she was content and extremely peaceful in her life. She was stressed by some immediate circumstances in her life; however, this stress was triggering no suffering or deeper states within her. She was able to deal with the immediate situation, and even though it was stressful, she was at peace with it, despite having been without homeopathic treatment for several years.


This patient was extraordinary in her movement through a number of different states, all of which occurred with clear source information, and in a clear linear sequence over a very short period of time. I and many other colleagues, such as Tinus Smits,2 note that clients will often advance through layers over time, moving more or less sequentially through them. Oftentimes, patients will skip layers in their progress, jumping 2 or more on occasion. Sometimes a patient will also jump backwards, recapitulating incomplete developmental stages they never fully completed. Overall, however, we detect a trend of advancement, with most patients ending up long-term in a remedy from Layer 7 (Diptera, Lepidoptera, Birds, or Lanthanides) or Layer 8 (Actinides or Fungi).

Part of the healing process involves patients moving through their developmental process efficiently, safely, and with peace and joy. Our outer-life stressors should not trigger any deep disturbance in our psyche. When these outer events do trigger deep distress, it is imperative that we search for the cause. While in many cases the cause is trauma, or physiological loss of nutritional, biochemical, or hormonal balance, in many cases (especially those patients for whom we have addressed these issues) the cause is an inability to move beyond 1 of these developmental steps. It is part of our duty as naturopathic doctors to be able to recognize this scenario and offer appropriate treatment and referral, rather than try to squeeze every individual into a biochemical framework.

* Source language refers to the patient spontaneously going into an almost trance-like state and describing the physical characteristics of their homeopathic remedy. This is well described by Irene Schlingensiepen-Brysch in her book, The Source in Homeopathy.

** I would note that it is quite rare for patients to so completely change remedy states so quickly. This patient was remarkable in this respect, changing remedy states approximately every month.

*** Free association is a technique in which patients are given words and then describe images, feelings, and other things that occur to them after the word is spoken. I will often use prominent terms as free-association words, and find that the patient elaborates on them in more detailed ways.

Paul TheriaultPaul Theriault, ND, graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) in 2010. He maintains a practice in Calgary that is dedicated to chronic diseases, elimination of blockages to healing, digestive problems, and autism. He uses homeopathy, constitutional hydrotherapy, drainage, and auricular acupuncture as his main tools. Dr Theriault is the author of one book about triturated remedies in homeopathy (A New Era: Homeopathy and the Human Spirit), and a second book systematizing the animal remedies in homeopathy (The Table of Animals). His websites include and


  1. Theriault P. The Path of Human Development. Naturopathic Doctor News & Review. 2016 June;12(6).
  2. Smits T. Inspiring Homeopathy: Treatment of Universal Layers. Haarlem, Netherlands: Emryss Publishers; 2011.
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