Miranda Castro
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:: How to Find the Right Homeopath For You ::

First published in Homeopathy Today - February 2003...

I receive at least a dozen e-mails or phone calls a month asking for help with finding a homeopathic practitioner. Thank goodness for the Internet! It is now brilliantly easy to match a person with a homeopath in their locality by searching on the websites of the homeopathic organizations that publish on-line directories. *      

This matching of data ... of one address to another ... is important but it doesn't take into account the needs of the person seeking a homeopath and the kind of healing relationship they want.

Choose carefully
It's your health, your body, your time, and your money, so it's worth making a careful choice. You will have to do some background research in your community to find out about the homeopaths that are practicing there. Shop around until you find a practitioner who is right for you: someone you can trust, who has integrity and is good at what they do.

Background research
Word of mouth. Personal recommendation is the very best way of finding a homeopath. Ask people you know and trust what they like about their homeopath and whether they have any reservations.
NCH Affiliated Study Groups. The NCH Affiliated Study Groups are a godsend for your search. Go to a meeting and talk to people ... chances are that one or more of the members will be able to tell you who they like and why. If you can't go to a meeting, call a study group leader and ask their advice. If there isn't a study group in your area, call an NCH member in the NCH Directory* and see if they've had any experience with homeopaths in the area.
Directories. Directories published on-line are increasingly the way most people are finding a homeopath in their area. *
Local contacts. Ask about local homeopaths at health centers, natural food stores, or libraries. You may find their business cards, leaflets, or flyers announcing introductory talks. In addition, many large cities have free papers dedicated to health and healing.
Referral. Your primary care physician or a trusted complementary health care practitioner may be able to recommend a homeopath.
Yellow Pages. This is probably the least reliable way of finding a homeopath but if it is the only way you have, then use the following guidelines to help you when you call the homeopath's practice.

What to ask a prospective homeopath
Once you have a name and a number, you will want to call to get some basic information. Use the following questions as a guide to help you decide whether to make that first appointment.      

Ask about their credentials, how long they've been practicing, and how they would describe the kind of homeopathy they do. Ask questions that address your special needs and concerns. Their receptionist might be able to answer your questions, but if not, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for a brief conversation with the homeopath. You'll find out how accessible they are from this request alone!
Where did you train and/or how long have you been in practice?
This will give you an idea of where they have come from and/or how established they are. Some people will feel comfortable consulting a newly qualified practitioner, especially with a relatively minor complaint, but others will prefer someone with experience.
Are you certified and with whom?
Ideally, you will want to consult a practitioner who is certified with a bona fide homeopathic certifying organization.*
Can you describe the kind of homeopathy you practice?
You will want to know if the practitioner is a single remedy prescriber ... a classical homeopath ... and what method they use to select the remedy.
Do you have background or training in any other discipline?
Some homeopaths trained originally as MDs,
nurses, acupuncturists, counselors, etc. If you have
a life-threatening illness, you may wish to find a homeopath with medical training, that is, one who can liaise easily with your other medical caretakers.
What proportion of your practice is homeopathic?
Some homeopaths combine their practice with other health care modalities, including conventional medicine, acupuncture, etc.
Do you have any experience in treating my sort of complaint?
This may be important to you, depending on the nature of your complaint.
What do you charge?
Fees will vary depending on the length of visits, experience of the practitioner, and where they work. Some complementary practitioners work from home. Their fees are often lower than those working from a clinic, and although their office may be a bit "homely," it is the quality of their work that counts. If you are on a pension or have a low income you may want to choose a practitioner who offers a sliding scale of fees or a payment plan.
Will insurance cover my visit?
While some insurance companies may pay a proportion of your homeopath's fees, most companies will not.
How often will I need to see you?
Some homeopaths insist on a monthly commitment. You will want to take this into account in deciding which practitioner is going to suit you.
Can you cure me?
Steer clear of any practitioners who say they can cure you. It is not ethical to guarantee a cure.      

Listen to your gut feelings during this conversation and ask yourself whether this is someone you can work with. No relationship is perfect ... all relationships involve some give and take, and this one will be no different. You will want to take into account some personal preferences: some people want a warm approach, while others prefer a slightly distant practitioner who is not going to be too probing.

Additional factors to consider
You may wish to consider some additional factors that make the difference between a good, long-term healing relationship ... and a great one! Before you shop for a homeopath, make a list of what matters to you and then rank those factors: what is absolutely essential and what would you like but can live without. You will be investing both time and money in this relationship, and a little extra time at the outset will be well worth the investment.
Availability. What if you have an injury or acute illness between scheduled visits: will your homeopath treat you? Kids rarely fall seriously ill during office hours so parents will be especially interested in a homeopath who is available evenings and weekends.
Language and beliefs. If English is your second language, there may be a cultural gap that can get in the way of effective rapport-building and communication, so you may wish to seek out someone who is conversant with your language. If you feel inherently more at ease with either a male or female practitioner, you will want to take this into consideration as well. Likewise, age can be a factor especially with teenagers and the elderly, who may prefer someone closer to their age. If you have strong religious beliefs you may wish to seek out a practitioner with similar beliefs or a knowledge and acceptance of these beliefs.

Finally...
At the end of your first visit with a homeopath, you may want to ask how long your treatment might take. Your practitioner should be able to give you a rough idea of how many sessions you will need, at least to start with.     

If your relationship with your homeopath isn't working well for you, communicate any feelings of disappointment or impatience and discuss your options. Or move on. Don't keep seeing a practitioner if you feel there is no rapport or if you have lost enthusiasm or hope. There really are "horses for courses"!      

Hopefully your visit to a homeopathic practitioner will be all that you want ... and deserve. People who have had a good experience with homeopathic treatment say that they felt cared for, that they appreciated being treated as a whole person, and that they found it healing to be truly listened to ... and healing to receive a homeopathic remedy that helped them overall and relieved their symptoms. Remember that this healing is a process: don't give up after a visit or two if you don't get immediate results ... especially if you have been ill for a while. There are no miracles ... and you may need to persevere to really benefit.

* The following websites all list directories of practitioners. It is essential that you read the criteria for inclusion in each directory carefully. Does a person have to be a member of a certifying body to be listed? Or have they simply paid a fee to be listed? These are important differences.

Council for Homeopathic Certification: www.homeopathicdirectory.com
There are links from this site to the American Board of Homeotherapeutics, the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians, and the
North American Society of Homeopaths ... all certifying organizations, all of which have directories on their sites.

The National Center for Homeopathy www.homeopathic.org
The NCH has a huge member and practitioner directory. Note that the NCH is not a certifying body, and all practitioners listed are simply members who have identified themselves as practitioners.

www.homeopathy-cures.com
This website maintained by Steve Waldstein, RSHom(NA), has an extensive practitioner listing. However,
it is based on his personal opinions and does not constitute a referral from a certifying body.

© Miranda Castro 2012

 

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