This article appeared in the Conference Report – Boulder, Colorado
Dorothy Simoni, PhD, CHom, CCH
Bathed in clear, warm spring sunshine at the foot of the snowcapped Rocky Mountains and soothed by the serenity of a Sanskrit prayer and sitar music, Mahesh Gandi, MD, psychiatrist, homeopath and Rajan Sakaran colleague, began a three day seminar on Stress Anxiety and Panic Disorders at the Homeopathy School International in Boulder, CO. The beginning of each session began with a melodic and meditative rendition of, “May we realize the truth. May we move from darkness to light. May we know our true self.” This quiet moment helped to focus and remind us as homeopaths of our purpose and work.
During the seminar, Dr. Gandhi presented a fresh, “drug free” approach to working with individuals who have had long standing complaints of anxiety, hypertension and panic. He presented a number of video cases with multiple video follow-ups demonstrating the profound effect homeopathy can have on improving the health of the mind. His cases showed marked improvement for individuals who had been treated unsatisfactorily for years with standard, in many cases multiple, anti-depressant and psychiatric drugs.
He noted that psychiatry frequently gives more importance to the diagnosis than to the individual’s “story” and that patients are often squeezed into fixed DSM classifications when they actually show a great variety and mixture of symptoms. He reinforced the idea that in homeopathy, the individual is more important than the diagnosis, and that the focus is on the person, the whole individual, not the label.
Case-taking, Dr. Gandhi, reminded us is the most important phase in homeopathy. He notes, “Everything is case-taking. It is taking a journey with the client. The client is the one who is going to decide what is important. Case taking should be like putting a needle through a banana. One should be very neutral, like a white screen.” In addition a homeopath needs “good intentions, good will, and unconditional positive regard” for the patient when taking a case. “No prejudices; no labels.”
In case-taking, it is important that the homeopath be empathetic but detached and objective. The homeopath should understand, feel, and be sensitive, but guard against coming from an emotional level. The homeopath must take the case from a “deep level.” Dr. Gandhi suggests meditating a little to reach that state before taking a case. “Be silent.” The homeopath must be the “one who witnesses, not be a participant.”
Dr. Gandhi exclusively employs the Sankaran Method in case taking. Listening much and asking little, he gently probes for clarification by mirroring the patient’s own words, “Tell me about ‘feeling neglected.’ What is, ‘Almost like being in the womb?’ Describe, ‘giddiness.’ What do you mean when you say, ‘everything is a catastrophe’? Can you tell me a bit more about, ‘your need for attention’? Go into this more. What are you afraid of at that moment?” He suggests, “If the patient says something you don’t understand, put a mark by it and let it be. Go back to it later.”
Cause and Effect
There is no cause and effect. Dr. Gandhi suggests that everything that happens in our life is an excuse. We have a state inside that needs validation and so we create the situation that will provide validation. We create an experience that fits the belief we hold about ourselves. In short, the world is how we create it. Events happen; how we perceive those events, how we project onto those events, creates our realities. Even illness is invited. The homeopath then, in order to restore health, must identify the state that desperately needs validation – the state that created the pathology. Once the state in a patient is identified, and a remedy selected which matches that state, health can be restored.
Consequently, the homeopath needs to identify that internal un-validated state. To do that, one must “get to the vital level.” Once that is accomplished, the lives of patients become understandable. The un-validated state is where a development delay has occurred. It could result from any cause; the cause is of little importance. It is through effective case taking that the homeopath takes the person to the “source,” that vital level revealing the state needing validation.
To reach the vital level, one has to ascertain “Where the energy of the case lies.” In addition to the story a patient tells and the words used, one gets to the energy of the case through careful observation of gestures and body language. Dr. Gandhi notes that to get to the energy level, “the patient must pass from levels of naming and factual relating, to feeling, and through delusion to reach the sensation and energy levels.” An example from one of his cases illustrates the point, “Whenever the patient is talking about panic, he takes a breath, grimaces, and jerks.” He is always, “Jumping, jumping, jumping.” Dr. Gandhi notes, “Hand gestures and repetitive gestures are very important. Gestures show the sensation and energy levels. Facial expressions generally mean the person is at the emotional level. When eyes start searching upwards, it is the delusional level. When hands start to move, it is the sensation level.”
“First,” Dr. Gandhi tells us, “identify the kingdom to which the patient belongs. The first step is to get your kingdoms right.” One is guided to the correct kingdom through tracing the patient’s words. The following guidelines direct one to the correct kingdom.
Mineral – Individuals who need a mineral talk about, “lacking something; lacking capacity, identify.” They may state, “The problem is me. I lack or I will lose. I am unable to do this because of this limitation. I am the problem. I wish I could do this….” They discuss structuring the life, relationship, role, performance, power, attack and defense.
Plant – Individuals who need plant remedies discuss being, “Stuck in one place and being unable to react,” or they show some “sensitivity to a situation and then react.” They talk about how things affect them. “This bothers me, this affects me.” For example, “I have been choked, contracted, constricted.” Plants show the feature of one basic sensation and the opposite. For example, tight and loose; pain and numbness; or tied and untied.
Animal – Individuals who need animal remedies generally speak about, “Not being the problem. Someone else is the problem.” For example, “My mother-in-law has made my life miserable.” They talk about another person. They talk about issues of survival, victim and aggressor, and attractiveness.
Life’s Stages and the Periodic Table
Dr. Gandhi also explained and demonstrated how stages of human development, such as conception, existence, fetal life, birth, identity, nourishment, security, work, creativity, performance, responsibility and leadership overlay the Periodic Table of the Elements in a predictable and systematic manner. Through an understanding of the relationship among the stages of human development, the organization of the Periodic Table and a patient’s story and words, the homeopath is much more likely to arrive at a correct remedy.
Through an analysis of several “mineral” patients’ dialogues, Dr. Gandhi clearly identified the exact stages of human development in which the individual was stuck. “Patients needing mineral remedies,” he notes, are “stuck in a certain stage of development.” For example, in the case of a patient needing Hydrogen, the developmental phase in which the patient was fixated related to a state before the structure (fetus) had even begun to form. Another individual’s story repeatedly utilized words and descriptions that made it clear on an unconscious level he was talking about “a return to the womb.”
As identified below, each row in the Periodic Table relates to specific stages of development.
Row One – Hydrogen: Existence and Conception;
Row Two – Lithium: Separation.
Row Three – Natrum: Identity (the infant line)
Row Four – Calcium: Security, Tasks, Finances, Job, House.
Row Five – Rubidium: Creativity and Performance
Row Five – Barium: Responsibility and Leadership
Row Six – Radium: Disintegration, Death, the “Blank,” pure energy
Dr. Gandhi elaborated noting that as one proceeds across a row from left to right of the Periodic Table, the traits or stages of development build, climax and then begin to disintegrate the father one goes to the right. For example, he explained, “Many individuals with panic disorders need remedies from Row Two, the Lithium line.” Therefore, moving from left to right across the Lithium row, one can identify the stages of the birth process reflected in each element.
Lithium – the baby is still part of the mother. The process of childbirth has not yet begun. He gave the illustration of a child having difficulty growing up, and being unable to detach from her parents. The individual would like to have remained in a “protective environment, i.e., the womb.” For example, the patient might say, “I go into a shell, want to shut myself out from the world.”
Beryllium – the baby has completed nine months in the womb. It is the beginning of the process of separation, but the baby is still very connected. The question becomes, “I have been comfortable for 9 months, should I change?” This reflects a person who can’t change, can’t separate from the parents. They may stay in the same job forever. “I am in the womb, I can move around, but I can’t imagine not being here,” and “I can’t exist without them.”
Boron – the infant is descending the birth canal. The baby has emerged from the uterus and is moving down the birth canal. The feelings become, “Do I want to be attached or do I want to be separated?” The individual may have a fear of downward motion. He/she may be hesitant, confused about his identity and feel like a robot or puppet because the parents control. The individual wants to hold on. As children, they had to obey and didn’t feel heard. What was said as a child was of no significance to the parent.
Carbon – reflects further descent and engagement. Now there is no going back. This is the “get set stage.” The questions become, “Can I be on my own or do I need to remain here? I have to let go. Can I let go? Am I capable of being on my own?”
Nitrogen – The baby is still bound to the mother and now has to be released. Thus there is an attachment to the mother figure which gets too claustrophobic (bound) which has to be released (like a gas). The feeling is, “I don’t want to be bound, I want to be released and free, nothing should bind me.”
Oxygen – The stage where the baby is released and takes its first breath. The patient views support as completely suffocating and damaging. “It’s like taking my air away.” Individuals may be totally indifferent and aggressive towards the slightest advice or support from the parents. They are “combustible” in their approach.
Fluorine- The umbilical cord is cut. The baby and mother are now two distinct individuals. Consequently, attachment to a person becomes burdensome and the separate (i.e., Fluoric Acid: capacity to destroy relationships – Delusion: betrothal, engagement must be broken).
Neon – the feeling is being content with the separation, but feeling exposed and vulnerable thus needing to develop nourishment and protection within the self, without the need for the womb.
Homeopathy without Rubrics
While Dr. Gandhi led us through this insightful and fascinating approach to homeopathy and the human mind, he was very clear that effective use of the Sankaran Method is based on a firm understanding of the fundamentals of homeopathy. In every case example, he supported his conclusions with a wide array of rubrics and symptoms. He repeatedly noted that to be effective, each homeopath must “know the basics; there is no substitute for a good foundation.”
Finally, when evaluating this new method, he reminded us that, “One must stay open, for homeopathy is still in its infancy.” However, he notes, use of the Sankaran Method has had a profoundly positive effect on his practice. With this method, he is experiencing many more successes than in the past.” He closed with this thought about method and practice, “When you hear a hoof beat on the road, don’t look first for zebras.”
Dr. Gandhi has a book coming out soon entitled, Homeopathy and Psychiatry
To read more about the Sankanan Method consult these references:
Sankaran, R., Sankaran’s Schema (2005 Ed), Homeopathic Medical Publishers, Mumbai,
Sankaran, R., An Insight into Plants, Vols 1-3, Homeopathic Medical Publishers,
Mumbai, India, 2007.
Sankaran, R., The Sensation Refined, Homeopathic Medical Publisher, Mumbai, India,
Sankaran, R., Structure, Experiences with the Mineral Kingdom, Vols 1-2, Homeopathic
Medical Publishers, Mumbai, India, 2008