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Beginning private practice

A homeopathic practice in New York City can be a successful small business. There may be challenges to getting started, but these challenges can be overcome through the right intention, a good education, and staying connected to other homeopaths. My students often ask me how to get started in practice, so we spend quite a bit of time in clinic class discussing this issue. As they know, I always say that the most important qualification is to have the right intention- that is, to deeply and profoundly cure. Here, I feel compelled to quote the 1st and 2nd aphorisms of Hahnemann’s Organon:

“The physician’s high and only mission is make the sick healthy, to cure, as it is termed.”

And… “The highest ideal of cure is rapid, gentle, and permanent restoration of health; that is, the lifting and annihilation of the disease in its entire extent, in the shortest, most reliable and most harmless way, on clearly realizable principles.”

These two aphorisms almost say it all for me. If a homeopathic practitioner has the highest intention to profoundly cure, based on the clear principles of homeopathy, he or she is half-way to success. The other half, of course, is a good education which includes good clinical training.

And now, I must loosely quote the third most famous aphorism, #83,

“The individualizing examination of a case of disease demands nothing of the homeopath but freedom from prejudice, sound senses, attention while observing, and fidelity in recording the image of the disease.”

Here Hahnemann is saying that what we homeopaths need, in addition to good intentions, is sound senses. Sound senses means a good mind that has been well educated and is free from prejudice, and is able to observe everything about the patient, including the accurate history of the patient.

Hmmm, freedom from prejudice- what does that mean? It means so much; it means we should not dismiss anything the patient says because it sounds ‘normal’ or familiar. It means we should not assume that all kids are afraid of the dark, or that all teenagers are sullen, or that all businessmen will be aggressive- nor should we ignore any possibilities. In life we are prejudiced in so many ways, and when we take a case we should leave our own opinions and beliefs out of the case taking. (The only exception is when a patient admits to being abusive, but that is for another topic).

So, now we have discussed good intentions and good education/training, and what’s left is good connections. I think it is crucial to stay connected to other homeopaths in an ongoing way. It’s easy for me to do that because I run the New York School of Homeopathy, but it is a common complaint of other professional homeopaths. I recommend that at least once a month you find a way to meet up with one or two other homeopaths in order to discuss your issues with patients and your business. Homeopathic practice can be a lonely business otherwise, and working alone can mean you miss out on new ideas and new methods of case taking. When you are first setting up a practice, I think it is a good idea to intern with a senior homeopath or join something like the NYSH GAP clinic. Often busy senior homeopaths will refer patients to their interns, which helps you acquire a patient base of your own. But most importantly, homeopathy is one of those fields where we never stop learning from one another and from one another’s cases, so stay connected! And of course, continue attending seminars as that is one of the best ways to meet up with colleagues.

I believe that if you follow these basic steps by having good intentions, good training, and good connections, then setting up a professional practice will be relatively easy, and probably quite successful.