Healing, Simillimum, Proving

1st NATIONAL CONGRESS OF THE FIAMO
October 2-3 1999, Rome, Italy

Dr. Gustavo Dominici

SUMMARY

Healing homoeopathically means searching for each case’s Simillimum. Such a search often proves difficult. A careful analysis of the patient and a diligent study of the remedies are not enough: it is necessary to develop a marked sensitivity in recognising and defining what is really important both in patients and in the remedies. In order to achieve this, the doctor must undergo a meticulous training which, in the first phase, involves an accurate study of his own symptoms and an evaluation of how they change in response to the homoeopathic treatment. At a later stage, the doctor can tackle proving which he will perfect as he comes to know about symptoms that are alien to his own nature. Consequently, proving provides not only a way of studying new medicaments but also the quickest means of becoming an excellent therapist. The case of an aspiring prover is shown. The work is intended to be a testimony that encourages others to explore the unknown in order to improve themselves and enrich the homoeopathic community’s knowledge as a whole.

KEYWORDS

The search for the Simillimum – Patient-Doctor-emedy – The meaning of words – The quality of the research – The need for synthesis – The training required – Anna’s case – The Diver

To whom this work is addressed

This work is addressed to whoever interprets “healing” as seeking the Simillimum.
The Simillimum is probably an abstraction. There may quite possibly exist more than one for each patient, or at least one in the vegetable kingdom, one amongst minerals and one amongst nosodes. Or perhaps the situation is different again. In any case, by Simillimum I mean the remedy which raises our patient’s energy level, concretely improving his health in a stable way: i.e. causing greater mental lucidity, a better mood and the better functioning of his organs and apparatuses.
Setting oneself the search for the Simillimum as an objective determines a special clinical approach. As a matter of fact, the Simillimum is often the remedy that is not that evident: it is the one you would not have expected, the one revealed by an observation that goes deeper than usual and that has been enriched by intuition. Whoever sets themselves this objective must search in a different way, with a greater ability and an awareness of both what they want to find and must possess, beyond a remarkable capacity for discernment. In short, a special training is needed.

Patient – Doctor – Remedy

The Patient, the Doctor and the Remedy all play a part in the homoeopathic event.
A good balance between the roles guarantees success i.e. the patient’s recovery. The triangle that these three elements compose should be equilateral. Obviously, it is the doctor who inevitably has the greatest responsibility for the success (or lack of it) of the encounter. Essentially, the doctor needs to have a good knowledge of the remedy, the patient and himself. Each of these components fits into the others and becomes a determining factor for them. If the doctor is capable of getting the patient to express him to the best of his ability but himself has a limited knowledge of the corresponding medicine, he will not have got even half way in the journey: he will simply be standing at the starting gate because results are the only yardstick in our work.

A good knowledge of the remedies but an inability to make contact with the patient leads to the same outcome: nothing concrete. Lastly, the doctor who does not know his own symptomatology and thus does not know how to draw a sufficient distinction between symptoms and their value will probably never succeed in knowing either the patient or the remedies in any depth. He will be able to operate (even quite efficiently) but his range of action will be very limited. He will find it difficult to prescribe a Simillimum remedy and should he do so, he might not be able to recognise the signs of the recovery process activated by that remedy. A great deal of energy is dedicated to the study of the remedies, a bit less to the art of knowing patients and truly very little to the study/therapy of ourselves, the therapists, and this is a shortcoming that ends up invalidating all the rest of the work. The triangle is scalene: the Remedy side has become hypertrophic, the Patient side medium/small in size and the Doctor side is truly exiguous.

The meaning of words, the quality of the search and the need for synthesis

Inevitably, words are the code into which the patient’s and experimenter’s sensations are translated. Not all the words are of great value (and this includes those uttered by the patient) or perhaps we can state, more precisely, that they would be if they were used appositely. Everything that occurs during a homoeopathic consultation is a significant source of information but we have a limited amount of time available for each consultation (approximately an hour) and the number of our meetings with a patient is not infinite. We cannot content ourselves with gathering significant data; the more demanding the objectives we have set ourselves, the higher the quality of the material we will need. Often, the patient does not really talk about him but, rather, recounts (in good faith) the film of his life in which he features either as the victim or the hero.

His real story is there with him, both on the inside and the outside and with all its real symptoms, but these are extremely well hidden. It can happen that the real story begins when the plot and events have already been narrated – “Doctor, I’ve said everything. I don’t know what else to tell you!”. At this point, after overcoming a moment of bewildered silence that the doctor must nurture, the patient will tell us things that are truly valuable. It may be that he tells his true story in a few phrases, before sitting down or only after the doctor has signed the prescription, just a moment before saying goodbye. Those words are full of meaning and the symptoms they describe are valuable. They are words that seem to escape from the patient. They slip by chance from his iron grasp and sometimes they are only half said. They are words that change the patient’s facial expressions and gestures and that he often wishes he had not said. Perhaps he will become irritated if we ask him to clarify them. A patient can be summed up in his entirety from a few sentences or symptoms that are real, profound and not necessarily mental. These lead us straight to the Simillimum.

The training required

Our objective is to acquire in a short space of time a great ability to gather what is really important from the patient. Since Homoeopathy is perfectly symmetrical, we need the same capacity in order to obtain what is truly important from the remedy as well. If we are to do this, a detailed analysis of the patient coupled with an infinitely patient study of the medicaments is not enough. We need, instead, to develop enough sensitivity to perceive, recognise, define and translate the symptoms of both the medicine and the patient into the language of words.
Proving is the elective means of arriving at this since it allows the therapist to become aware of his symptomatology, examine its alterations and recognise the symptoms which are extraneous to it. It is the special training that we were looking for. Proving adjusts the anomalies in the sides of the triangle. The Doctor side is greatly augmented and this consequently improves the Patient side considerably, leading to a much easier “reading” of his case. We can therefore say that we can find everything we need within the homoeopathic technique. As always, the quality of our work is important and for this reason pure Experimentation used for this purpose must respect highly rigorous canons and must go deep. Staying on the surface means failing. Pushing ourselves further, on the other hand, can give us much, much more. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to overcome very strong resistance. I will cite an example to illustrate this.

Anna’s case

Anna, as I shall call her, is a homoeopathic doctor who comes with the double aim of treating some slight ailments and undertaking a training with the aim of becoming a first-rate experimenter. She is serious and motivated. She knows about the project and shares its aims.

It is unproductive but also dangerous to introduce a subject to an experimental group prematurely, even if he enjoys good health. First, a meticulous apprenticeship is needed during which the patient/prover makes contact with himself and his symptoms, learns to recognise them, define them precisely and write them down. Then he will follow how these symptoms alter after administering a remedy that remains unidentified to him, and the possible appearance of other symptoms that are either completely new or old ones from the past and he will observe their evolution as well. This will be done many, many times until the experimenter is well focussed or calibrated and ready really to begin the adventure of learning by using himself as an instrument of enquiry. The aspiring prover’s constancy and reliability are also tested indirectly along this journey. Many could be excellent experimenters by virtue of their sensitivity and motivation; in actual fact, however, very few have all the necessary qualities, which include patience and the capacity to pay attention on a continuing basis. Quality is vastly preferable to quantity in such projects. The preliminary phase of the work ends with the formation of a small group of between five and seven provers who will seek a profound level of understanding by meeting and exchanging experiences so as to then be able to start the real proving.

Anna is a healthy, solid and vigorous person. She has already overcome notable difficulties in her life. She is very cautious when she speaks as she has a constant fear of not being understood or not explaining herself sufficiently clearly. She is scrupulous, notably self-critical and substantially restrained in expressing herself. She gives the idea of a great, suppressed energy.
These are her symptoms:

1. I am moved and I get emotionally involved in everything. I can’t manage to bear others’ sufferings (men, animals, children, nature); when it happens, I feel crushed and suffer a deep discomfort, as if all the world’s pain were entering me.
2. I am anxious about my health and that of other people. I am frightened of cancer.
3. I easily become irritable when facing setbacks or when things don’t go as they should.
4. I have extreme reactions. I lose control, I get furious, I hurl things about and kick and I have
arguments when I drive.
5. I get angry and then regret it immediately.
6. Often, I’m too understanding, too tactful. I’m timid.
7. My hands shake (particularly my right hand) before exams and public speaking.
8. I have to do things quickly. I hurry others along.
9. I feel better if I move. Dancing makes me feel much better.
10. Musicmakesmeenterontoanotherplane.
11. I love storms, particularly with strong thunder and lightning.
12. I suffer from sinusitis.
13. For as long as I can remember I have had a white leukorrhoea resulting from a ulceration of the portio uterina.

I do not prescribe any medicament. I ask Anna to look at her symptoms again carefully and to come back in seven days’ time. When she returns, she confirms:

1. I am really angry. I’m swearing, kicking and hitting.
2. I’m suffering from sinusitis.
3. I’ve developed a stye on my bottom left eyelid.

I prescribe a good make of 30CH remedy: 12 granules in a 20% alcohol/water solution to be taken every evening for seven days after sufficient dynamization, then a seven-day wait. I ask her to write down the symptoms that appear.
Seven days later she telephones me and says that nothing has happened, that perhaps she is a bit calmer and that she has not written down the symptoms because she has not had time. I insist. I know the deep resistance that is generated when one tries to discover something more about oneself. I insist quite vigorously: Anna is strong and tenacious and a weak invitation would have no effect. After another seven days, she comes back for another consultation:

I note that she has an excellent appearance.
1. I haven’t written anything. (!)
2. All the symptoms of anger and loss of control have disappeared.
3. I no longer feel sorry for the world, I can watch the TV again and read any kind of newspaper
article. I hadn’t been able to do that before. I even succeeded in letting my baby son cry in his
cradle. From that moment, he has been going to sleep on his own.
4. It’s incredible how all the external things like money and work are going so well: it’s as if there
were some tutelary deity.
5. My husband thinks I am more light-hearted. In actual fact, I really am less distressed and dull
when I talk about things.
6. I had a beautiful dream: “I was by Lake Garda and I met a friend with whom I quarrelled five
years ago: we had parted bitterly.” Really, every time I think about it, I think back to the mistakes I made. “I no longer had any desire to be punished; I thought that I applied the rules rigidly 10 years ago, but not now. I go out in a boat on the lake with him without any worries.”
7. Usually, I am not very strong but my energy triples if I get angry. The day before yesterday I gave my son a really hard smack.
8. I am frightened about cancer almost every day, both for myself and for members of my family, but there is less anguish involved.

At this stage, after only 14 days, we can see that some important symptoms have been eliminated by the remedy and that there are some interesting cues, such as Anna’s dream. But the patient/prover has not written down her symptoms! Lack of time? Improbable. There has also been an attempt to escape by stating that nothing, absolutely nothing, had happened. And it was not true.
I know only too well what it costs to write out one’s own symptomatology. I ask this of patients who are very confused about themselves and their own suffering. I ask them to write out what they feel without worrying about the result. Then, only after a certain amount of time has lapsed, to re-read it carefully and then again, until they find a perfect correspondence between their sensations and the words which describe them. It is like looking at oneself in the mirror. Some patients have tried and then reacted by crying and suffering serious anxiety attacks, thus confirming the importance and difficulty of the exercise.
One has to ask oneself what happens when we add a greater self-awareness to the Simillimum’s energy.
Anyway, Anna did then write out her symptoms. I made her face a choice: she would have had to renounce being a prover. She chose to go on.
Anna’s training continued and the group to which she belongs is on the point of undertaking an experiment. I can reveal the name of her medicament at this point. She herself does not know it yet. It is Staphisagria.

Courage and its symbol

Much is said about Proving but the doctors who throw themselves into the adventure are truly few and far between. It is necessary to experiment in order to get to know new remedies and understand the old ones better but, above all, in order to learn how to use and perfect the best means of acquiring knowledge that exists: ourselves. This will prove, in addition, a short road to becoming excellent therapists who are capable of grasping quickly and clearly what needs curing in our patient.

La_Via_del_Simillimum-fig1


Stone slab covering the so-called “Tomb of the Diver”
(Museum at Paestum – Salerno – Italy. Photo: G. Dominici)

This image is called “The Diver” and can be admired in the museum at Paestum. It dates back to 475 BC and is the stone slab covering a sarcophagus. It was held to be the tomb of a diver but this hypothesis has not fully convinced the experts. It is currently held to represent the act of diving into the nocturnal world, the unconscious and death. It seems to me to be the best image (more effective than any number of words) to represent those who bravely plunge themselves into the unknown and bring fragments of knowledge back up to the surface, to everyone’s benefit.

• This article was published on Homoeopathic Links – Volume 13, Winter 2000.
• Modified on 2008, September.

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