The interview process
The homeopath begins by listening to the details of the patient’s ailments as well as anything else that the patient feels is relevant to the case. In addition to eliciting objective symptoms relating to these complaints, the homeopath, through the use of many open-ended questions, encourages the patient to describe his or her exact experience of the illness or discomfort in progressively greater clarity, depth, and detail.
The aim of this interview process is for the homeopath to perceive the inner state of the patient, a single state that best points to the correct single prescription. This inner state is expressed through mind and body but is deeper than both. Although in everyday life many of us remain unaware of it, it is constantly expressed in the way we speak and interact with others, in what we choose to do in our spare time, in how we dress, and (often most clearly) in the content of our dreams.
How does the homeopathic assessment differ from a conventional one?
Unlike a conventional medical intake, which follows a preset formula whose goal is to choose from a relatively limited set of diagnoses, a homeopathic intake is open-ended. Because the homeopathic diagnosis is based on a wide variety of factors (including how the person reacts to the interview process itself), the homeopath gives maximum room for the patient to describe the ailment exactly as he or she experiences it.
This seemingly peripheral information is often more important than the objective information that medical doctors typically rely on, and it forms the basis of the homeopathic diagnosis. There are literally many hundreds of homeopathic remedies, which means that correct diagnosis requires great precision in understanding the patient’s state.
This elaborate interview process, when competently guided, inevitably leads to a holistic view of the patient’s state, and to a perspective that ties together seemingly disparate phenomena into a unified story and portrait of the illness at hand.