Jan's column: following up on follow-ups
There have been a few comments on my
article on Neodymium sulphuricum about the lack of follow-ups on the cases. The
follow-ups were left out on purpose.
Case presentations are essential in homeopathy; the individuality as a principle is very important. Case presentations, however, can have several purposes and the style of presentation depends on the purpose.
One purpose for presenting a case is to show the method of case taking. Here, a full presentation of the case is paramount, so the reader can see how the case taking is done, and a complete write-up is appropriate. A follow-up, though, is not needed as such, unless the follow-up is also used as an illustration for the case taking of follow-ups.
Another purpose for presenting cases is to prove that homeopathy works. Here, the description of the case does not have to be very lengthy, it can even be quite short, but the follow-up is essential. If the author also wants to show the laws of Ekdiokie (Ekdiokie is a Greek word for ‘throwing things out’), mostly called the Laws or rules of Hering, then a very detailed account of what happened after the remedy is very important.
Another purpose for writing cases is to illustrate the remedy pictures, which is the most frequent situation. Writing down the case is essential here, and the text can be more or less extensive. Follow-ups as such, however, are not necessary for such presentations as they do not add to the remedy picture - it is only necessary to know that the patient did well, but that is quite obvious, otherwise the case would not be presented!
One can write down every symptom, or limit oneself to the essential aspects of the case. In homeopathy, there is a tendency to feel obliged to give a full report of the case but, in fact, full reports do not exist. There is always more to find and describe, so every case presentation is already a selection.
The Neodymium sulphuricum article
This article had as an obvious purpose the presentation of the remedy picture. Here, follow-ups were left out because they did not give more information. In general, follow-ups would have been: “The energy went up, the patient felt better emotionally and solved some problems in their life. The complaints went significantly down or disappeared completely.” It would not have given any information about the remedy as such.
It feels as if the commentators want to have proof that the case did well. For me it was obvious they did, otherwise I would not have presented them. Written follow-ups are after all no proof, either. The proof of the article can only come from one's own practice, one's own experience.
In principle, cases can be invented, follow-ups can be invented. My experience is that no matter what kind of proof one gives, those who do not want to believe what is written will not believe it anyway. Those who are open, will be open to test the information for themselves, to see what works and what does not work. My attempts to convince people have mostly been useless, naïve, and humbling. In that sense, the situation within the homeopathic community is not very different from the way homeopathy is treated by conventional medicine.
I heard from a colleague homeopath that many homeopaths did not believe in homeopathy. That was quite a shock to me. It must mean that they do not see any results in their practice. In such cases, no proof will ever be enough.
It might be or might not be a coincidence that the article is about Neodymium, a Stage 6 remedy. Stage 6 is about proving, proving oneself or what one stands for. Maybe this article shows that I still want to prove myself - or that I want to prove that I do not want to prove myself!
Keywords: follow-up, proving, Neodymium, stage 6