Homeopathy Tips for 7/06/10 Creating Rapport

Some cases come to us on a silver platter. With other cases it can be more difficult to connect with our client. When this is the case it helps to have a few tools to open your client up and create rapport. Here are few ideas to help you help your client tell you everything you need to know to find the right remedy.

The most common client who comes to my office and does not open up are the husbands of my female clients. They are typically middle-aged men whose wives have forced them to come to me. They often openly admit that they do not want to be here and do not believe homeopathy can help them. They are usually very reluctant to offer any details of their suffering. Other cases are simply with people who are closed and not accustomed to talking about their problems.

I never use a questionnaire to get information about my client. This is far to impersonal and when the client has filled this out they think that they have answered the questions that I would be interested in. I am less interested in their symptoms and more interested in who they are and how they see their world. This will be information that can only come from the interview.

The first thing I ask all of my clients is to, “tell me everything I need to know to help them heal themselves.” I ask this as an open-ended question and do not direct them any more than this. Sometimes they do not understand the question. Then I may then tell them that I do not know anything about their sufferings and in order for me to help them, they need to share with me. Often this is enough of an encouragement to open the door so they can begin to speak.

I use active listening skills where I will repeat to them what they have begun to tell me. I let them determine the direction of the conversation and do not limit them. This allows them to feel freer to talk and starts to create rapport. Reflecting back to them what I hear them say lets them know that I am listening and care. I do not interrupt or tell stories of my own to make them more comfortable. The first 5 minutes of any case is the most important because they are not so comfortable and the dis-ease will be easier to see.

When they have exhausted their stories I will ask for more. If I have heard enough, I will go back to ask about more specific details. Sometimes the client will come in and say that they hurt. I will then ask them to tell me all about it. It is very important to listen carefully to the words they use to describe their pains. Always ask them to tell you more about it. I ask them to describe their pain in such a way that I can feel it myself.

After a few minutes with any client everyone is a little more comfortable and will start to relax. This is the time to allow them to share about anything they like. Often I learn more about my client when they think that the little stories they are telling me are of no consequence to their case or treatment. I will use all of my powers of observation to let them paint a picture of their sufferings.

It is necessary to let your client know that you are interested in their story. Part of the active listening I use may be a simple hum, or other non-verbal sound to let them know I heard what they have said. Engaging with your client without offering your own story is the goal. “I know what you mean” is about as close to sharing as I get. This let’s the client know I have heard them again but keeps it to their story and not our own.

When they are telling of their sufferings I always ask them to tell me what it feels like.  I want them to tell me about themselves in their own words. I do not just want them to tell me of their symptoms only, but also of their life. In this I get the picture of who they are, who the dis-ease expresses through and not just the symptom itself. Then I can find a remedy for the entire person.

I have seen where asking the client to go further and further in their description of their sufferings to get to the “essence” is not usually beneficial. Often it can lead us down a rabbit hole and almost force a picture of the dis-ease. This forced picture can be too detailed or narrow to get the full picture of the suffering. I find that simple open-ended questions that have no correlation to the specifics of their suffering will lead me to a greater, and sometimes more subtle understanding of my client. This requires the art of real listening though and does not come quickly for most homeopaths. Often our “need to know” becomes greater than our ability to remain clear, unprejudiced and without a specific agenda in the case receiving. This will lead to a narrow picture of the dis-ease and failure.

Get to know the person and you will then be able to see the dis-ease. Listen to them actively to keep the interview moving. Pay close attention to the words they choose to describe their sufferings. Always ask open-ended questions. When the case seems to stall ask them to tell you a story, any story. This will sometimes throw them off and the story they will tell you will have the dis-ease attached to it. You may learn more from this story than from any other part of the interview. Creating rapport and getting to know your client are two of the most important parts of being a homeopath. If you can not get the information from your client you will never be able to help them.

23 comments so far

  1. Dr.Aradhana Srivastava on

    Good morning,
    There was a case of a child who had come for recurrent cold and cough.When I started communicating with the child of 3 yrs.she used move her fingers in circles..
    Her mother said that her mouth is always open when she is engrosed in something.child’s milestones were normal..
    thirst increased and was chilly.
    appetite normal,craving nothing specific..Based on observation I prescribed the child Apis mel 200 1 dose..
    And the child has not complaint of cold and cough yet…

  2. Dr.Aradhana Srivastava on

    Good morning,
    There was a case of a child who had come for recurrent cold and cough.When I started communicating with the child of 3 yrs.she used move her fingers in circles..
    Her mother said that her mouth is always open when she is engrosed in something.child’s milestones were normal..
    thirst increased and was chilly.
    appetite normal,craving nothing specific..Based on observation I prescribed the child Apis mel 200 1 dose..
    And the child has not complaint of cold and cough yet…
    This helped me understand the value of observation and the importance of good rapport in paediatric cases.

  3. Neena Singla on

    Dr Aradhana what was the prescribing symptom of apis pl explain in detail.

    • Dr.Aradhana Srivastava on

      Good Afternoon Neena,
      Sorry for the delay in reply..
      In above case the Entry point was,
      Absent-minded,the child was just not attentive to whatever I was talking to her she was just busy making circles in the air with her finger,physical generals:thirstless,Chilly
      helped me Prescribe her Apis mel

      • Dr.Aradhana Srivastava on

        sorry neena thetre is mistake Apis is Hot And Thirstless,
        But My Patient was chilly and thirst increased, the Drug Which I Prescribed is partially similar as it is covering the mental symptoms but fails to cover the physical general
        till now the baby has not complained of anything let’s wait for the symptoms to recur to learn

  4. laticia on

    until homeopathy will be not accesable for every one we are not talking about helping people.Average homeopath charge 550 $ for 4 hours first consultation.If the initial 5 or 15 minutes are critical for knowing the patient than I feel confused.Average neurologist for example will charge you about $400-475 $.We have a long,long way to go….

  5. michelle on

    I believe this is a problem that is common in the west. I know of a homeopathic college hospital in India where their doctors see as many as 125 people in six hours with a cure rate of 90-92%. Obviously it would be impossible to do that if they took cases in the way we do in the West. In that particular college hospital they are trained differently. They are practicing classical homeopathy, but without getting buried in mental sx. They use them, but they do not get buried in them. As was stated earlier, the most important part of the case is in the first few minutes. I studied with such a doctor/professor for a few days when he was in the US and it was enough to make me want to study with him again when he returns. If we can learn to practice this way, perhaps homeopathy will become more accessible.

  6. Sharon Cardenas RN on

    I am curious what hospital & city in India did you refer to with the homeopathic success rate being 90%?

  7. laticia on

    To Michele!!!Yes please me too, would be great to know so you can help a lot of people–Thanks

  8. Michelle on

    Dr. Jose Isaac teaches at Govt. Homoeo Medical College in Trivandrum-9, Kerala, India and as I understand it the hospital is there. His grandfather founded the college and Dr. Jose is the third generation in his family to practice homeopathy. He will be returning to Northern California this August to teach. He will be going through his eight-module syllabus in intensive form here, two modules each visit and will come here every nine months until he has taught all eight modules. On his visit in August he is also doing a two-day practitioner intensive on rapid prescribing. There is more information posted at http://www.eastwesthomeopathy.com

  9. H.Dr Muhammad Ayub Khan on

    Dear Sir,
    With due respect,I pay thanks for sending me Homeo tips 7/7/2010 from which I learm more and more regarding case taking.I being a Homeo practitioner believe in the realty of symtoms ; untill you do not council the patient fully remian in dark to treate him in a positive manner.

    From; H.Dr Muhammad Ayub khan

  10. Pegah on

    Hi Dr.Robert
    Please clarify some examples for open-ended questions.

    • Robert Field on

      Hi Pegah,

      Open ended questions are not direct questions.
      For example;
      Are you afraid in a thunderstorm? or How do you feel in a thunderstorm?
      Are you hot or cold? vrs How has your comfort level been in terms of temperature?

      In other words do not ask a direct question that can be answered by yes or no. It will limit their choices for response and they will think they are telling you everything you need to know to help them. When a question is asked open ended you will get their words and their description of what they think. This will tell you more about them than you could ever glean from direct questions.

      I hope this helps.

  11. Philip Joseph on

    Dear Dr Robert: As you pointed out, Building rapport and gaining the confidence of a patient especially pediatric patients is essential to resolving half the case.
    One of your readers mentioned about a little child cured of cough by Apis. I am curious what the prescribing symptom was as chilliness, cough, thirsty are quite the opposite of Apis. The only other symptoms mentioned were movingh ands in a circle, making mouth into a circle etc. The closest I could connect this to Apis is that the insect flies in a circle around a flower. But rather it flies in a figure eight pattern. So I am curious what the prescribing symptom for choosing Apid was ?

  12. dr shilpa goel on

    thnx robert for ur valuable tips.
    I have a patient who is eccentric in his behaviour, short tempered, fights with his family members, beats his mother and father, his sisters, abuse them. Lazy , finds excuse for not working. Likes music, drawing , writes poems. Does not believe in God. Aversion sweets,Craving : Rich foods Thermals : Chilly, wants covering, bath with warm water.
    Kindly reply to my query urgently on drshilpa1214@yahoo.co.in as patients parents are desperately dependent on me for his cure.

    • Robert Field on

      Dr Shilpa,

      This is not a complete case but I can see remedies like Androctonus, camphora, anacardium, lachesis, Those remedies that have a very destructive nature. You must investigate the person and appy good homeopathy for them. It is a remedy that has maliciousness. Good luck,

  13. Dr.Sarfaraz Ali on

    It is very much necessary to listen the client patiently and spend more times.Because this distingishes homeopathy from allopathy where sometimes in one sitting doctor prescribes more than 100.So this is very important aspect of homeopathy.

  14. Dr.Md.Nuruzzaman on

    Dear Dr. Aradhana Srivastava,
    This refers to your patient, 3 years old with cold & cough.
    When your patient is thirsty and chilly, how did Apis Mel work.
    With thanks.

  15. Dr.Aradhana Srivastava on

    Good Afternoon Sir,
    You are Right I committed a mistake of Prescribing a partially similar medcine but it has helped the patient..
    Iam also waiting for the symptoms to return back for me to learn..
    thank you
    Dr.Aradhana Srivastava

  16. uzma on

    Its a nice site for new comers.It is very helpful in case taking.

  17. Dr M Azizur Rahman on

    Thanks sir. This is very helpful for casetaking. Some times patients become more curious and restless to answer the asked questins directly. thatswhy we have talk with him/her indirectly to know the exact symtoms. Here in Bangladesh the women are very shy to report veneral diseases or impotene of male. Early ejaculation is a common disease specially those served long time in foreign countries just after married/ as bachelor. As homeo practioner we have to find out the real causes of impotence. Pl let me know the right medicine for early ejaculation/ just after start his penis becomes soft and can not enter in the vagina but the partner become so excited she legged him, the patient reported with crying. The male is about 32 yrs and remained 10 yrs in Arabian countries as bachlor acumstomed to visit nude cinema at late night followed handled for satisfection. He is now very healthy but always thinking how to satisfy his partner. I prescribed first Gelsium 1M and then Causticum 1M but not yet get remarkable results. Thanks for patient reading and suggestion. Rahman Bangladesh.

    • Robert Field on

      Hello Dr, Look at Staphysagria, It is a thought only,.

  18. dr.t.prabhaker on

    Plz suggest treatment of ringworm infection

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