Homeopathy Tips for 5/24/11 Active Listening

One of the most important traits of a homeopath is being a good listener. This is what we should be able to do best when working with our clients. After all it is their story, not ours that we are interested in. Here are some ideas to perfect the fine art of active listening.

When the client arrives I usually make small talk but observe all of the ways that my client is being once they enter the office space. I ask about their journey or comment on the weather to let them know they are in a personal environment. Once the formalities are done and they are sitting and ready I will ask them to tell me everything I need to know to help them. Often this is quite disarming for them as they search for what to say or where to start. At this time it is VERY important to be an active listener and not be talking at all. Usually the very first thing out of their mouth will be very telling.

If they start to fumble and don’t know where to start, I assure them that there is no right or wrong way to convey their story and that they can begin anywhere. There are no rules. I then wait and listen. If they come with a printed or written list of what they want to talk about I encourage them to put it away and refer to it after they have exhausted everything. They usually don’t forget anything. By doing this I ensure the most natural expression of the vital force as they share.

I have found that the first 5 minutes of any testimony usually reveals much about the case. The uneasy time they experience while getting started is the purest expression of the dis-ease. Once they become comfortable then the dis-ease can be masked much easier. I also write near verbatim what is being said especially in the beginning part of the case. This allows them to focus on their delivery without any interruption from myself. I am active in my listening and get the transcript written during this time. 

It is amazing to go back to the very first words and look at the case from this perspective after they have given an hour of testimony and the remedy has been given. There is usually a direct correlation to everything about the case revealed in those first few minutes. It is very important to not interrupt during this time.

Active listening lets them know they are being heard without interrupting them. I will often say, “um, or I see, or tell me more.” If there is a lull in their delivery I will not say anything and wait for the next part. This can be unnerving for them. I am very comfortable to sit in silence and wait. Sometimes they need time to process their thoughts or recover from an emotional outbreak. I do not interrupt them during this time. If left alone long enough they will naturally come up with what is important in the next part of their story.

When they are fully involved in their story, especially if they are loquacious (some people love to talk about themselves) I will listen for any key words or themes in what they are saying. After hearing of a few chapters about a person’s life it becomes much easier to see the thread of their experiences. Listen for key word descriptors as they speak about themselves. They are actually giving a portrait of their dis-ease. The struggle of the homeopath is to be able to separate the truth from their falsehood or the health from the dis-ease.

When they are giving their story I do not talk. Once I have heard enough I will go back to the places that they have reported and ask questions of clarification only. I do NOT want to influence their story at any time. I especially refrain from telling my own story or experience. We are together for their benefit and it is their time. Also I do not want to pull them away from their story with being compassionate or judgemental. It is a time to listen and feel what it is to be them in their experience. Having empathy is good but this is not the time to express it. Do nothing to pull them from their story or influence it in any way.

Some systems of homeopathic case taking require a list of questions to investigate the person. I disagree with this approach. There is rarely a case where I do not get all I need to come to a remedy very easily. I prefer to call the “system” I use (if it really is such a system) case receiving. If we are to be unprejudiced observers as Hahnemann explains in the Organon, then we must be active listeners and not active participants in the case. We need to receive their testimony not influence it with questions and ideas that they need to explore. The perfect case comes without any words other than that of the client. They will ALWAYS tell you everything you need to know.

Being patient without an agenda is very important. Once our agenda as a homeopath comes into play then we are not actively just listening but having an influence on the case. I have some students who start to get nervous because they have not heard the thing they need to hear to know what is asking to be healed. I trust completely that all will be revealed. If the homeopath becomes anxious or nervous then they will not be the open vessel to hear and feel the case. They will be processing their own thoughts of the feelings they are generating and not be present for the testimony. We can not do our own processing of emotions at the same time as we are active listeners. We need to be an empty vessel, free of prejudice, patient and trusting that all will be revealed. This approach has never failed me.  

So active listening is having no agenda. It is keeping a quiet mind in a very receptive mode. Naturally thoughts of rubrics and remedies will pop into the mind. When they do I let them go immediately. Until I have heard everything I need to know about what is “asking to be healed”, then it is not the right time to even be considering remedies. The mantra I teach my students is “Let it go” Then they will not miss anything and be in the active mode of listening and not processing their thoughts.

Patience is required. Trust is required. Know that all will be revealed and you will be doing more for your client than you think. You will be leaving the door wide open for the dis-ease to present itself. When it does there will be no mental processes going on that will obscure it. It is like a no mind state where all can be seen. Once this occurs it eventually become as clear as purified water. It is much like watching a clear vessel of muddy water settle. As the mud settles to the bottom, the water becomes less cloudy and eventually is very clear. Then it is very easy to see the dis-ease and know the remedy.

20 comments so far

  1. Mamnoon Kazmie on

    A very useful article on the art of listening. It can be
    practiced in any situation to appreciate other persons point of view. Thanks a lot.

  2. dr manoj d singh on

    very informative

  3. Yvonne Siblini on

    Sankaran takes the client to the 7th level while making them speak which is phenominal if sometimes we can manage to master that art. I did attend one of his seminars and was amazed at how you can manage to get the client come up with the remedy themselves.


    It is verymuch helpfull.It helps to get the actual problem. Through the converssetion we can find the remady also.Thanks.

  5. Dr M Azizur Rahman on

    Thanks and We are also following you, mostly let the patient to settle his mind first and no hesitation to express his suffering in easiest way. He may start any where but we had to arrange it as required. When he becomes normal we can ask anything to identify the reason of the disease and finally comes to some points to select the remedy. Pl comments on this if it is not on the right track. Best complements. Dr Rahman Bangladesh

  6. Lori Gertz on

    Excellent. Excellent article. Thank you!

  7. Rooksie on

    Beautifully and accurately put!
    Thanks for a great newsletter.

  8. Prakash on

    This is wonderful,if it happens.Many times people talk
    after thinking and the end results are not helpful.Leaving
    the patient unquestioned does not yield desired data
    because, per my experience,the patient when speaking
    voluntarily is masked with pressures social.traditional,

  9. monica on

    Thank you.

  10. Syed Husain on

    Excellent and informative article based on your own experience.I think at the time of hearing the client some few
    factors are also taken into consideration i.e environmental, financial,social and so on.Sometime patient responds in a good mood and when asked why he has not been treated for so long time,he or she as the case may be keep mum or start weeping on the basis of one or the other above factor.

  11. Abdul Mannan Howlader on

    I have gone through the article written on to be a good listener while patient come with problems.Dr.Robert advised us to be listener and not to ask so many questions.He also advised to ask the client about different topics like weather or other prevailing issues so the patient feel comfortable and describe his/her problemd vividly without any intruption.I like the text very much.I shall read it time and again to grasp the gist out of it. Thanks Dr.Robert,thank you very much.

  12. C.Fernandes on

    Dear Dr. Robert,

    Excellent article.

    I need some clarifications regarding psychic medicines and soma medicines. When a person gets influenced in a psychic world and is away from the physical world. How to find the healing remedy in such cases.



    • Robert Field on

      As always the case needs to be received and understood in its essence. The words the person says will reveal much. Most psychic phenomenon is repertized under delusions. If you have a more specific question I will be happy to address it. Thanks,

  13. gattoo kaul on

    Thank you very much for the lesson but I need to go through it at least 25 times before I comment any thing on it.

  14. Dr.Sarfaraz Ali on

    very informative and important article.Infact it is a sacrifice on the part of physian to listen full story.

  15. Robert Lal on

    It is a good lesson on listening. It is important to be a passive listener before we act.

  16. ABUL KALAM.J. on


  17. ABUL KALAM.J. on

    articles are like pearls .thanks.

  18. Dr. Ram Singh on

    Respected Dr,Sahib

    I appreciate this and found be very useful for


    Dr Ram Singh

  19. Mah-jabeen on

    thanks , Goodbless you

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