Reprinted with the permission of The Society of Homeopaths (from "The Homeopath" Journal Winter 2005 edition). Reviewed by Francis Treuherz.
We are all passionate about homeopathy, which is why we are reading this journal. The medical doctors and veterinarians who wrote this book had as much to lose as most of us did, when they embraced our passion. This book tells the stories of their transition from conventional medicine to homeopathy. David Curtin, Charles Forsyth, Alice Greene, Peter Gregory, Brian Kaplan, David Owen, and John Saxton are all teachers on the Homeopathic Professionals Teaching Group (HPTG) based in Oxford. Unfortunately two other founding members of this group, equally passionate, have died since it was founded: Lee Holland and Andrew Lockie. Knowing them, almost all, in different ways, indeed counting many of them as friends, I can imagine what Andrew and Lee might have written. I feel their absence keenly.
Robin Shohet is a psychotherapist and management consultant who has a special interest in supervision, and has worked with the HPTG team. His editing may have been severe or gentle, one cannot tell, but the result is a highly readable book, allowing the passion and the individuality of the contributors to shine through. The journeys of the contributors are diverse. John Saxton, one of the two vets, has recently become president of the Faculty of Homeopathy, a first for a vet. David Curtin taught me medical sciences when I was a homeopathy student; one of the first from Britain to have been taught by Vithoulkas, he refused the confines of teaching medical science and began to teach homeopathy too; he has carried on learning and growing, and is still brimming over with new ideas, currently anti-ageing methods.
Brian Kaplan's mentor was the late Dr Erich Ledermann; Brian had to escape from the constriction of a South African allopathic medical education. He too, is still moving and shaking, now with laughter, as he confronts his patients with a method called provocation therapy. For Alice Greene it is important that we exist in absolute freedom and love; that we matter; that we are loveable, and as capable of loving others as ourselves. These are just some of the personal passions, shared with the readers. The good doctors thought that they might lose out professionally when they left allopathy, but it is obvious that they have benefited enormously, and so' have their patients.
Reprinted with the permission of The ARH (from the Journal 'Homeopathy in Practice', Spring 2006 edition). Reviewed by Grace DaSilva-Hill MARH.
Passionate Medicine is a compelling and inspiring account of the lives of five doctors and two veterinary surgeons as they share with the reader their journey from conventional medicine to homeopathy. Each chapter is written in the personal style of the practitioner, making it an enjoyable reading experience, far removed from the usual dry style often adopted by writers on this type of subject. This makes the book easy to read in chunks, just right for those valuable spare periods that we all seem to find so scarce these days.
In search of truth and meaningful healing in their professions, Drs Brian Kaplan, Alice Green, David Owen, Peter Gregory, John Saxton, David Curtin and Charles Forsyth challenge the shortcomings of medical school education, in particular the notions that clinicians should be emotionally detached and apply a reductionist and depersonalising approach to their work, whereby the patient is viewed as an object of rational science, and disease and ageing as forces to be conquered by surgical techniques and chemical drugs.
This is certainly something which resonates deeply with me, as I never made it to the end of the first year at medical school in the mid-1970s. Even as a nurse practitioner I was often aware, like these Doctors, that we were neither helping eople to get better nor understanding why they became ill in the first place. Each chapter begins with a short introduction and an important message from the contributor to the reader. The one that says it all for me is that of Dr Alice Greene: We absolutely exist in freedom and love, we each matter; we are loveable and capable of loving others as our self. This realisation, at the heart of health and healing, is the open secret that patiently waits for us behind every disease. Making this connection conscious is the creative challenge illness brings, both to the one who is sick and to the one who cares.
Each writer describes how their personal life experiences had a bearing on their choice to pursue a medical education, and how their search for truth took them to homeopathy and the changing role of the clinician from expert to facilitator in enabling people to heal themselves. If one has an accident and a leg is fractured for example, or a woman suffers an ectopic pregnancy, I would expect that a skilled surgeon would be the most appropriate person to deal with these two scenarios. However, one has to challenge many of the medical therapeutic practices that oppose rather than assist nature in the healing process.
They all share similar feelings of frustration, stress, repressed anger, tiredness and fear of failure as they describe their career paths in medicine which led them to seek and explore more meaningful alternatives, from meditation and autogenic training, to provocative therapy and eventually homeopathy.
In studying homeopathy, these doctors and vets tell the reader of their excitement and enthusiasm in learning how the physician-patient relationship is central to the healing process, and of the potential for self-healing both for the patient/animal and the practitioner. The genuine caring, intuition and humanity they found in their homeopathic teachers contrasts with the behaviours witnessed in some of their medical educators which appeared to have been motivated more by ego, ambition and patronage.
These five doctors and two veterinary surgeons are members of an organisation formed in 1992 called the Homeopathic Professionals Teaching Group. Their aim is to train medical doctors and vets in homeopathy in a very thorough way, as well as maintaining their own learning by reflection and peer supervision. The editor of this book, Robin Shohet, was invited to be their group supervisor in 1999, and the result of this close professional relationship is the publication of Passionate Medicine. It must be pointed out that not all is doom and gloom with conventional medicine, and indeed one of the doctors in this book has recently returned to conventional medical practice.
Whether you are a doctor, vet, patient, student, or a teacher of medicine or homeopathy, or simply a seeker of new forms of healing, you will enjoy this book for what it is, and you may also choose to reflect on the way its contents may be relevant to your own life. In the words of the last contributor in the book, Dr Charles Forsyth: It is a wonderful privilege to help others and relieve suffering, but to be involved in real healing and homeopathy demands a conscious engagement in the process of personal .transformation, and this is magical.