Philosophy and case management

Achieving and Maintaining the Similimum by Dr Luc De Schepper

(I wrote this in Nov. 2004 for the Homeopathic Times)

With so many new repertories and provings as well as materia medicae, this book of Hahnemannian philosophy and practical case management is a big welcome. Luc De Schepper, doctor and acupuncturist has been using homeopathy since the early eighties and runs his Renaissance Institute of Classical Homeopathy in Boston, NJ and Las Vegas. He has already contributed much in the way of good literature on Classical Homeopathy including a translation of the fourth edition of the Organon.

The first thing you’ll notice are his frequent and appropriate references to both the Organon and Chronic Diseases. Also, he enlightens us even more by putting his writings into historical context. This adds light and meaning to our understanding of Homeopathic philosophy.

The other point he continually emphasizes is that most homeopaths are stuck not the fifth but the fourth edition of the Organon because they still prescribe dry doses which Hahnemann didn’t do in the fifth and sixth editions.

This is not a book to read but demands attention and study and should even be considered a basic textbook for all schools. The only criticism is that the style of writing at times can be too casual and familiar and at other times patronizing which can take from the seriousness of the book. However, don’t let that put you off.

Of course you may not agree with him all the time – just as he doesn’t always agree with Kent and Scholten etc.

Regarding his general plan of prescribing centessimals he suggests a low potency for sensitives (p.53). However four pages on he seems to contradict himself by quoting aphorism 156. Nor should you forget that Hahnemann prescribed the other way – one drop of the juice of Bryonia to the strong washerwoman. I would like Dr Luc to have explained the reason for his choice of low potency in sensitive individuals.

On page 64 he says never gives the constitutional remedy in an acute, “It’s a grave mistake.” I’m not so sure it’s that grave and he fails to quote Kent here who said if the constitutional fits the acute symptoms then give it. Nor do I assume that the natural acute eg., Aconite will automatically be required for a Sulphur patient in an acute.

Another critique is that (he seems to love the sycotic miasm) he throws out generalizations about miasms without any backup. On page 112; “In Chronic Diseases, Hahnemann makes an interesting point about malaria…and is a Tubercular miasmatic expression.” Hahnemann never invented a tubercular miasm nor a cancer one for that matter. Ironically Luc continues here to quote Hahnemann’s Chronic Disease who says it has a psoric aspect. (CD p.133 footnote). Also, again on page 224 he reiterates the same without the evidence.

While he can point out others’ mistakes as in Rima Handley ‘must have confused’ the fourth and fifth editions of the Organon and Mary Aspinwall’s article in Homeopathy Today for promoting her hair lice products rather than homeopathy he can be forgiven a few oversights; Boenninghausen and Jahr never qualified as doctors and Hering did not add Pulsatilla to his Guiding Symptoms because he died after the third volume.

Continuing his love of things tubercular, I find it hard to swallow Pulsatilla as “Jealous and tubercular” (p.118). Anyway, what is tubercular jealousy like? Nor can I accept Nux vomica as a psoric medicine (p.118) which is why Hahnemann omitted it from his Chronic Diseases. Why does he regard Lachesis as sycotic rather than syphilitic?

Apart from his sweeping and casual statements regarding miasms and remedies, he does much the same with his beloved [over-used?] nosodes. On page 172 he suggests a nososde is needed to remove a miasmatic block. Who says so? Likewise on page 186;  “A chronic intermittent nosode is imperative to “clean up” the miasmatic poison and allow the well selected remedy to act on the vital force. Many may find this too simplistic.

The tougher job of finding a small remedy doesn’t hold well for Dr Luc. He relegates Sabadilla to the level of a shallow acute remedy. Why can’t it fit deeper cases as a miasmatic remedy? He’s also critical of people who prescribe a small remedy – if there’s such a thing; “So the ‘successful’ small prescriber…” He relegates small remedies to a “limited field of action fitting a specific problem” as in the treatment of local pathology (p.228).

I don’t share his confidence that one teaspoon from a solution of Psorinum will be enough to prevent a child being infected with head lice (p.227). Nor do I have a rule that because it’s August I give Psorinum for hay fever (p.283).

While this may sound critical, the remainder of these 360 well thought out pages are an asset which make the reader ask important questions. He provides a good understanding of fifty millesimal even contrasting its use to Kent’s scenarios for the second prescription.

He presents us with an insight into Hahnemann’s cases while in Paris (hopefully the subject of another book dealing with them comprehensively). He gives us thorough examples of case management and importantly looks at acute versus chronic which is a theme seldom shown at conferences – even by our pop star homeopaths – which makes this book very welcome.

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