The Principles of Homoeopathic Philosophy - Margaret Roy
An understanding of the principles of homoeopathic philosophy is fundamental to the successful practice of homeopathy. For ease of study, this text presents key ideas in homeopathy in the form of a self-directed learning programme which can be followed in its entirety or read selectively.
Key Features, the reader is introduced to:
* basic concepts and laws in homeopathy
* how to read and record symptoms homeopathically
* the use of Repertories of symptoms
* how to interpret and analyse a case
Additional features throughout the text Suggestions for
* further reading
* learning activities
* self-testing questions
This excellent resource will be invaluable to all students of homeopathy and readers coming to the subject for the first time. This book is an excellent tool, ideal for any student. The key ideas are each presented as a set of self-sufficient lessons. Each lesson is clear and lucid, with useful analogies, examples, learning activities, reading references and self-testing questions.
- Author: Roy Margaret
- 150 pages
- Printed in UK
Reprinted with the permission of The Society of Homeopaths, from 'The Homeopath' magazine, No. 52, 1994 edition:
Reviewed by Ian Townsend:
Margaret Roy, is Principal of the Scottish College of Homoeopathy in Glasgow and she is, like Ernest Roberts, an experiÂenced homoeopath. She also has the added advantage of being a qualified educationalist and has worked previously in teaching.
Her Principles of Homceopathic PhiÂlosophy (published by the distinguished international medical publisher ChurchÂill Livingstone) presents a very different approach to the previous book.
It is bigger - physically around the size of Sankaran's Spirit of Homoeopathy and consists of 150 pages of closely and carefully argued text. A second differÂence - this is quite unashamedly a disÂtance-learning study text, aiming 'to guide the student step-by step through a learning programme on homoeopathic philosophy.' It contains 14 'lessons' (inÂdividual chapters), 3 appendices, and, like the former book, a useful index at the end.
First, what content does it cover ? The 'Lessons' are: 'What is Homoeopathy' (16 sections), 'The Vital Force' (13 sections); 'Resonance - The Law of Similars' (10 sections); 'The Symptoms' (25); 'The Action of the Medicine' (10); 'The Law of Cure' (13); 'Homoeopathic Theory of Disease' (11); 'Selecting a Potency' (28); 'Proving a Remedy'(l4); 'Taking the Case'(lO); 'The Repertory' (6); 'Repertor-ization 1' (28); 'Repertorization 2' (10); 'Case Analysis' (17). These are followed by Appendix 1: Hints to Aid Study, 2. Guidelines on Conducting a Proving, 3: Some Model Answers to Activities.
From the start, this book concentrates on the student, talking directly to her. It acknowledges individuals have different approaches to study, suggests one parÂticular approach - and also refers the reader to an appendix which explains the particular difficulties a student may have in approaching the study of homoeopathy for the first time. It takes an especially dense example (Organon: Â§11) and analyses it, guiding the student through his making sense of it. How I wish I'd had this advice when I first struggled with it! A small but important point here - the author refers to other texts which are available to help the stuÂdent organise his learning, but these refÂerences are omitted from the text. (For example Northedge's Good Study Guide or any of Buzan's titles would have been useful).additional material which the interested student may like to consult. Teachers will recognise in this list activities which go on in any successful piece of learning - we get information, reflect on it, folÂlow it up, add to it, and start to use it in a variety of circumstances and at differÂing levels of competence. Margaret Roy is to be congratulated for
The claim the author makes is that the text should begin to train the student to think homceopathically, involving usÂing analytical skills and what may be a
new perspective on the problem of disÂease. Will this be achieved by someone using this study text ? I have no doubt that this will be the case.
Three main books are used as source references throughout: Hahnemann's Organon, Kent's Lectures on HomoeoÂpathic Philosophy Â«nd Vithoulkas
SciÂence of Homoeopathy. Each is given a detailed introductory paragraph, placÂing it in an historical and homceopathic context. This is something I haven't seen other books do, and is very welcome. The layout of 'PHP' may seem strange to readers not used to self-study texts. Each page is attractively designed. Bold side headings keep the reader clear about the subject under discussion; ample use of thick bold lining and white space sepaÂrates information so that
she is not overÂwhelmed by it, and boxed icons (little pictures identifying different activity catÂegories) introduce boxes asking students to perform some task or other - all eleÂments which go towards a very well-designed piece of educational material.
A basic plan cycles throughout the book - a concept is introduced followed by some activity in which the student is required to participate (brainstorming ideas on paper, researching specific topÂics in textbooks, personal reflection) followed by a summary of those points, or the introduction of new material (folÂlowed by activities as above). The end of each chapter suggests specific
readings from each of the source texts, and also
capturing the homoeopathic version of the process and arranging it so clearly.
From Lesson 2 onwards, a further inÂnovation is introduced into the text. Each Lesson commences with an overview of its Main Headings (nice to see what we are going to cover), a set of Aims - a loose explanation of what the purpose of the lesson is, and a list of Objectives -more detailed statements of what we may confidently expect to be able to do as a result of working through the chapÂter. I believe this is the first homoeopathic book to pay such close attention to what are called 'learner's expected outcomes' (i.e. what the student should be able to do as a result of reading the book and carrying out the activities suggested). It's very useful for comparative purposes (Hmm he objectives say I should be able to do such-and-such -now- can I ? Can I remember this ?).
Given such an important innovation, it seems a little churlish to observe that the educational objectives are not as detailed or specific as I would have liked
- they lack a full description of what the student should be expected to do, in quantifiable terms. Perhaps this is only the sort of thing another teacher would pick up on, but I hope that at some future date, when 'Principles' is reÂprinted, Margaret will use the opportuÂnity to refine this point.
Each of the lessons is very clear. The book has grown out of the author's seven year experience of running distance-learning courses, and this is reflected in the sheet logical consistency of the text
- there are no abrupt jumps from one subject to another, terms are explained clearly, excellent analogies enable the reader to make the information his own. To avoid making the review too long, I will simply pick out some of the things I found interesting.
For those of us who have struggled with introducing the Kentian concept of 'susceptibility' to our students (perhaps too early on in a course) Roy's explanaÂtion of it - straightforwardly, in terms of resonance to a remedy - is refreshing and probably more appropriate to an introductory level of a course. Potency is another subject students (and tutors !) find difficulty with - the lesson in PrinÂciples of Homoeopathic Philosophy is very good and clear - the Vithoulkian model (borrowed from the Physical Sci- â€ž ences) of energetic waves is (excuse the pun) further amplified and very clear examples are given.
The lessen on case Taking follows the advice laid down by Hahnemann and other classical authors, and the Roy goes on to give some very useful practice points covering 3 difficulties which the new practitioner might meet, which are not currently found in any other homeopathic textbook. Frustratingly, these areas of conditional language, language masking symptoms and emotional exaggeration are given very brief mention - I would like to have seen this section expanded. Different methods of recording the case (Hahnemann's, Vithoulkas', and Reeves' - the latter consistently misspelt) are discussed. Following this lesson, there are 3 detailed chapters on Repertories and Repertorization which include useful student exercises. It concludes with a chapter on case analysis.
One of the things I really liked about this book was the wealth of exercise examples encouraging the student to categorise, analyse, evaluation and synthesise for example, symptoms into hierarchies, patterns as good or bad examples of the Law of Cure in action.
PHP is a major contribution to the literature of 20 century homeopathy. It can be read by itself as a normal text, or interacted with (as intended) as an experiential process. The author's grasp of the process of homeopathic treatment is so unclouded and vital that it shines through every page. Even after (or perhaps because of?) 10 years in the field, I read some of the things she wrote and thought to myself, 'I have never heard it expressed like that before - now I understand that more clearly'. To attempt a detailed comparison of two such radically different books would be foolish. I'll certainly be talking about Ernest Roberts' book to friends and students for one set of reasons, and enthusiastically recmmending Margaret Roy's Self-Directed Learning text to my students from now on - for another set of reasons. Each is, in its own way, a welcome addition to our libraries.