Homeopathy: A Practice Development Perspective
Best Practices: Adding Homeopathy to your Practice
First, let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of homeopathy in all its forms. Growing up, Pulsitilla was my remedy and just giving you that information probably tells you more than I would like about the personality and profile of my younger self. I am happy to say, I grew out of it!
Moreover, from an economic perspective, it seems obvious that the only way homeopathy could have grown to the size it is now, is with significant value being offered in the delivery of the service. With most homeopaths only taking cash, with limited ability to make claims about their art form, it is extremely unlikely that a homeopath would be able to build their practice without word-of-mouth referrals, born of significant health improvements.
In writing this piece, my intentions are to share some of the new wave of best practices we are seeing in the modern practice of homeopathy, and perhaps start a conversation as to how homeopathy might take its rightful place in an optimal medical system. Although the article is homeopathy based, these are best practices for all holistic practitioners.
There are several potential pitfalls when starting a classical homeopathy practice, here are a couple of the most obvious ones.
The first issue is speed of results. Homeopaths have told me that it can take 10 years, including schooling and experience, to be able to consistently make accurate remedy recommendations. Most homeopaths admit to be always learning up until the day they stop practicing, such is the complexity and subtlety of such an individualized skill. But the question has to be asked: What will keep your patients coming back for successive intakes and provings if they are not seeing quick relief to their symptoms or at least measurable progress?
The second big issue facing homeopaths is that we live in an unprecedented time of toxic overload in the modern human experience. How do you separate those symptoms that are a true reflection of the patient’s homeopathic profile vs. the symptoms from chronic toxic exposure? In the time of Hahnemann, there was a fraction of the potential pollutants that we are exposed to every day in the modern world. If we think of homeopathy as ‘reminding the body what it already knows how to do,’ you could see that while subtle energetic signals might be effective for some acute or chronic conditions, by what mechanism would a homeopathic remedy be able to open up the pathways of elimination for toxic substances from the cellular to the organ level?
The third issue is exposure. How do you market yourself to the parts of the population that know nothing about homeopathy? What are the types of conditions that lend themselves to a classical homeopathic approach, as opposed to allopathic, functional or integrative paradigms?
In order to combat these issues, here are some of the best non-clinical guidelines for building an effective practice.
1) Educate, Educate, Educate. There are so many resources available at every patient’s fingertips right now through the Internet, and connecting patients to this info is easier than ever. Using blog, e-newsletter or social media platforms to share great information is essentially effective marketing for your practice at almost zero cost. Following amazing homeopaths like Dana Ullman or Patricia Fitzgerald online would be a good start. For those practitioners who are ‘un-tech-savvy’ you may want to print them out for your patients or get some help from your kids!
2) Keep Listening. By far the most valuable trait of a homeopath is their ability to listen effectively. With so much of the rest of the medical system focusing on anything but listening to the patient, just having a good ‘bedside manner’ and really making time to listen can make all the difference. Any way that you can maximize the placebo effect is going to add value to your care, so concentrate on the patient-physician relationship, including attention; compassionate care; and the modulation of expectations, anxiety, and self-awareness.
3) Ask for Testimonials. There is a significant shift underway in the way that people interact with advertising. The growth of social media is an indication that it is other users’ experiences that stimulate consumers, no only claims companies make about products and services. This should play into the hands of alternative medicine, as word of mouth has been the engine that has driven our industry. Getting those testimonials is one thing, but making them available in places people can see them is key. Your website, Google Maps Business Page, Facebook Fan Page and Yelp are the best places to have testimonials for maximum visibility.
4) Stay Relevant. There are a large number of conditions where drugs and surgery are proving ineffective. Depression, anxiety and allergies are three conditions that jump out as conditions where practitioners can maximize their marketing efforts. Where are your communities depressed, anxious and allergy sufferers? How can you meet them?
These four practices can help significantly in keeping patients moving through the healing process, and keep your work relevant in the eyes of your community. However there is one clinical practice that we see trending in homeopathy that is worthy of reflection.
I know that the subject of complex homeopathy and homotoxicology this is a testy and touchy one for those practicing classically, but from a practice development point of view, the use of complex homeopathy, especially early in the healing process, can be extremely effective at resolving the modern problems faced by practitioners.
With the use of drainage and sarcode complex formulas, practitioners can offer products that will not only start to alleviate symptoms, but also start to open the pathways of elimination so the body can, at every level, move from dis-ease to ease.
There are other practical benefits to complex homeopathy, both in fewer compliance restrictions associated with classical practice (mint, coffee, etc.), but also the amount of time it takes for practitioners to get consistent results is far less than classical methods, especially when utilizing bioenergetic testing. For these reasons, homeopaths should be much more open minded to alternative forms of homeopathy if they want their profession to be taken seriously, don’t let us be divided and conquered! There is plenty of room for complex and classical homeopathy in patient care.
For homeopathy to attract patients and take its rightful place in an optimal medical system, homotoxicology provides significant opportunity for those homeopaths willing to think outside of their Hahnemann box.