Alfons Geukens, 30 September 1944 - 18 October 2010
I remember very clearly the day that I met Alfons Geukens for the first time. It was October 1983 and I had heard that he was looking for colleagues for a newly founded homeopathic practice. I was living on the other side of the country and phoned him one evening for a meeting, maybe in the coming weeks.
“Could you come over here tonight?” he replied.
I was immediately struck by his urge for action and I took my car and made the 200 km drive to Hechtel, where he was living.
From the first encounter I liked him.
He told me full of enthousiasm about his ambition to create a clinical training centre for homeopathy, following the model of his teacher Vithoulkas. I saw that he meant every word of it. He had built a brand-new building with six consultation rooms, a treatment room and a nice reception space. Above all, homeopathy was practised here on a daily basis: chronic pathology, acute diseases, an own guard-duty. This was exactly what I had been dreaming of: a practical training in homeopathic medicine.
I started a few weeks later with my training. I could follow all the consultations with Alfons and learned a lot in a short time. With the constant stream of patients he made the homeopathic materia medica come alive. He showed me the characteristic signs of homeopathic medicines: the fanning of the nostrils in a Lycopodium bronchopneumonia, the “small spot pain” in the Kali bichromicum migraine, the loquaciousness of Lachesis, the dark red lips of Sulphur.He showed me how to see patterns in symptoms, and how to observe a patient. For the first time I could see the sometimes astonishing results of homeopathy. I believe this is one of his major contributions for homeopathy: to bring it back in the daily clinical practice, as it was in the times of Kent. His strength was not in the elaborate psychological analysis, but in the very concrete “bedside” therapy. He always stressed the importance of a good clinical examination and fluent acute prescribing.
He had experience in tropical medicine. First in Haïti, where he worked as a nurse. Later in a small hospital in the inland of Congo, as a medical doctor. After two years he returned to Belgium and settled down as a family physician near to his native village. There, he came in contact with homeopathy through a patient of his. Immediately he saw the great possibilities of this kind of medicine and set off on a quest for more knowledge. That’s how he met George Vithoulkas, who had a vision: to spread homeopathy through Europe in creating clinical training centres.
With his innate enthousiasm, Alfons wanted to be part of this great vision. In the summer of 1983 the centre had materialized and immediately there was a team of five physicians and one lay-homeopath. From then on things were going fast: every year a few more colleagues arrived, there was an influx of patients, seminars were organised. It was going explosively fast. We had too little space. No problem: one morning we found out that Alfons had hired some machines to break a hole in one of the walls, so that a whole new wing could be built, including a large seminar hall. Some dark clouds started to mount. The team was now so big and Alfons’ urge for expansion could not be tamed, so that tensions in the group were growing. Some conflicts could not be cleared and there were some painful splits. I left the group in 1990.
Alfons was a born teacher who could inspire people, but he had difficulty in the daily interactions with colleagues. He had greatest difficulty listening to other opinions. He hardly knew how to relax and to enjoy life. I remember seminars on Alonnisos: we went to the beach, Alfons stayed in his room to study. Only when there was music could you see him relax and enjoy. He had a crushing sense of duty.
Maybe, the shadow side of Alfons had something to do with his tragic personal history. He lost his father a few weeks before he was born, in the last days of the second world war. The German forces were withdrawing with a lot of violence and terror, especially in the region of Hechtel: 36 people were shot. One of them was his father. Coincidence or not: Alfons lived and worked in the Twaalf Septemberstraat in Hechtel, named after the day of liberation of his village.
Alfons was an inspiring father for a whole generation of homeopaths. He trained more than 50 physicians and made hundreds of students enthousiastic for this beautiful form of medicine.
Let us be grateful for his life and continue his work.
May he rest in peace.
Henk Van Hootegem
I met Alfons Geukens in 1980 when he first came to my lectures in Alonissos.
He was a very shy and low profile student who returned many times to the classes I was giving in Alonissos.
I foresaw his great talent and enthusiasm in homeopathy from the very beginning. I remember well that I called him privately and told him he would become a great homeopath. He became not only an excellent prescriber but also an excellent teacher due to his untiring studious nature.
With his death the homeopathic community of classical Hahnemannian homeopathy lost one of its most laborious and illustrious exponents.
Keywords: in memoriam