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Interview with a Homeopath

Jerome Pindell

by Andrea Isaacs


Having had the privilege and relief of working with a talented and gifted homeopath, I am often surprised that more people don’t know what kind of excellence is in our own backyard. The homeopathic support I’ve been fortunate to receive from Jerome Pindell has helped me through more “dark nights of the soul” than I want to count. Largely due to this support, I’ve come through a divorce, losing my job and a cancer diagnosis with a great attitude about life and its challenges, with a laugh in my heart and a smile on my face. It was an honor to conduct this interview.

Andrea Isaacs: When people ask about homeopathy, I find it hard to describe. The best I can do is say that it’s based on the principle of “like curing like” in a similar way that a vaccine gives you an injection with a bit of what it is that the vaccine is trying to prevent, like the flu or polio. Then I get tongue-tied and don’t know how to expand. Can you give a better definition than that?

Jerome Pindell: A lot of people use the vaccine example to describe homeopathy, which though helpful, confuses two differing principles. Vaccines are not homeopathic from a number of standpoints. A vaccine tricks the immune system into reacting to a stimulus without consideration of the overall patient. This opinion is a fairly controversial area between traditional and alternative viewpoints, and needs to be very carefully considered before any action is taken. On face value, vaccines appear to have had a profoundly positive effect on humanity, but from a homeopathic view, they have been an attack on the immune system with rather profound repercussions.

In the case of homeopathy, the person is presenting a picture of illness, whether chronic or acute, and a medicine is chosen based on the unique and personal picture of the manifestation of that illness. Homeopathy supports and stimulates harmony within the various systems of the body. It is based on the principle of “like curing like” and uses an infinitesimally small amount of a substance, which, if it were given to a healthy individual, could cause symptoms similar to those being presented by a person experiencing that illness.

AI: It would? I thought there were no side effects of homeopathy.

JP: Not in an allopathic (western medicine) way. But the way in which we understand the effects of homeopathic remedies is by giving them to healthy individuals whose baseline health picture we have documented, and then compiling the effects resulting from having given the homeopathic remedy. This process is called a “proving.” It helps us discover how a substance could be useful.

Taken down to essentials, every substance in nature is made up of molecules forming a unique energy pattern. This energetic “fingerprint” is released and infused into a carrier medium through a pharmaceutical process, which then becomes the basis of the homeopathic remedy.

A proving may take a number of people, say ten. A health history is taken for each individual in order to determine their baseline picture. That includes physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Then they are given the remedy to be proved, using a very specific protocol. A record of all of their experiences, which differ from their baseline, is then collated and forms the basis of our understanding of the medicinal effects of a substance. All reactions to homeopathic remedies used in provings are short-lived and reverse once the remedy has been discontinued.

Say all ten people experienced the same thing. That would be a strong indication for the homeopathic use of that remedy. Perhaps only three people had the same symptoms. That would be a minor symptom. All of that information would be catalogued into the Materia Medica*. Clinical experience would later add to the validity of the observations that resulted from the proving.

While it is safe and there are no side effects as there are in western medicine, homeopathic remedies are medicines that do bring about a set of reactions. There are rules for the use of homeopathy and it’s not terribly hard to learn the basics and to use it safely and effectively.

Homeopathic remedies that are properly chosen are safe to use for a wide spectrum of simple acute care disturbances as well as much more complicated chronic conditions. There are very few areas of the health field in which homeopathy has not played a role or could. The effect of taking a homeopathic remedy should be very gentle with a gradual diminishment of symptoms without additional effects.

AI: What kinds of reactions might happen with homeopathy?

JP: Effects that are not part of the healing are not permanent. If you’re doing a proving, effects could include any of the symptoms of the remedy. As soon as you stop taking the remedy, those symptoms would leave without permanent change. Allopathic side effects are a condition of material substances, usually chemicals being used as medicines, causing effects in the body that are unrelated and may cause damage to the person, sometimes permanently. Homeopathy has no such effect, except in a positive way, by re-establishing harmony.

AI: If I took Clematis, the remedy I used for poison ivy, at a time when I didn’t have poison ivy, would I break out in hives?, or what might I feel if I took it when I didn’t’ need it?

JP: Since it has worked for you, you probably have a resonant sensitivity to this remedy. So if you were to take it without illness, it is likely that your skin would produce a rash that looks and feels like poison ivy.

AI: This is surprising to hear.

JP: As such, this is not a side effect though, but a direct effect of a medicinal substance. If you took Clematis when you had no reason to take it, that is without a presenting disharmony to correct, the body would still respond. In your case, you have a sensitivity that causes you to react strongly on the skin. Clematis has an affinity for the skin, which may cause you to present a rash similar to that of poison ivy, because your body was not already mobilizing its defenses to such a disturbance. To repeat one of the tenets of homeopathy, like cures like. You would merely have proved the remedy Clematis.

AI: How about the rules: “Don’t use mint toothpaste,” “Don’t use too close to eating.”

JP: All myths! There are a lot of assumptions about how this came about. Two of my favorite teachers have said it’s a matter of sensitivity. If a person is sensitive to coffee, for example, you probably ought to stay away from it. Because of your sensitivity, it’s going to agitate the whole system which could interfere with the action of the remedy. Some people can drink coffee and experience a lift, some can become quite agitated, while some can have a cup before going to bed and have a good night’s sleep.

AI: How might someone be sensitive to mint?

JP: I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anybody getting agitated from mint. Personally, I don’t like peppermint, for instance, because I was given peppermint when I was sick as a kid. And I’ve always hated it. It doesn’t make me sick, but I avoid it, because of the association.

AI: Me, too. Wintergreen or spearmint can be okay, but peppermint is too strong. Is that what you mean by being sensitive to mint, having a strong dislike for it?

JP: That’s an aspect of it, but it really goes more to the idea of sensitivity. More to the point, here’s an assumption as to how the myth evolved, according to my teachers. During homeopathy’s heyday, there were many homeopathic conferences with doctors getting together and talking about cases. The sensitivities of people in the 19th century were very different than they are now. Victorian era books are filled with people who were sick for months and died from illnesses that we consider common place.

During that era, one of the doctor’s cases was going fine until the patient had a strong cup of mint tea. Suddenly the case went sour. The homeopath made the assumption that the remedy had been disturbed by the strong tea. This report was given at a conference with 100 people in the room. They returned to their patients and said, “Don’t drink mint tea,” which then became the rule, still propagated today.

Samuel Hahnemann (founder of homeopathy) did a pamphlet on coffee that essentially said coffee is bad stuff with lots of alkaloids that can be damaging to the system. He wrote a long paper on this which listed 100+ alkaloids in coffee and how terrible it was. That’s probably the source of not mixing coffee with homeopathy. It should be pointed out that Samuel Hahnemann was a trained physician, chemist and pharmacist, among other things.

My teachers have said, “If it’s the right remedy, it’s going to work. Not much is going to stop it.” I have to say from my personal experience, that this is true for the most part.

AI: What part of homeopathy drew you to it?

JP: I got involved in homeopathy back in the early ’70s. I had been interested in alternative medicine for some time and was studying herbalism. In some of my herbal books, I had come across references to homeopathy. It attracted me because I wasn’t able to use herbs for some of my own illnesses.

The turning point was when I severely hurt my back. I wrenched my pelvis and could barely walk. I went to see a naturopathic physician who did a manipulation. Then he consulted a giant book that looked like a huge bible. He pulled out this little bottle and gave me some little white pellets and said, “Put these under your tongue.” At first I refused, but he told me that they were homeopathic and would relieve the muscle spasms in my back, so I tried it.

AI: What remedy was it?

JP: I have no idea what he gave me. I could guess at this point, but he gave it to me and said, “Walk home.” It was a bit of a walk, but by the time I got home I was fairly pain free. I said, “Wow, that stuff is for me!” I contacted him and asked how I could find out more about homeopathy. He told me about some books which I picked up, including a book on cell salts, a small branch of homeopathy. So I began using cell salts as my introduction to homeopathy.

AI: Schuessler Cell Salts?

JP: Yes, Schuessler. I bought all twelve cell salts, got the books, and started using them for any illness that came up and was amazed at how fast they worked. I pulled all my herbal books off the shelf and I never went back. I do occasionally use my knowledge of herbal medicines because a lot of homeopathic remedies are old herbal remedies. But the back injury started my study of homeopathy.

AI: “Healer, heal thyself.”

JP: Yes. Studying homeopathy also helped me recognize aspects of what I was dealing with in my life at the time. I started experimenting by applying my marginal understanding of homeopathy to my personal work. As the successes grew, so did my perspectives. It became very natural for me to see the interplay between the mental, emotional and physical symptoms, which is a hallmark of homeopathy. Each remedy has a wide-ranging effect, which often has to be taken into account when choosing a remedy.

AI: Part of what fascinates me about how you work is the language you use to talk about emotions. From my own 15 years of trying homeopathy before seeing you, I had never experienced results. For some reason, though, I maintained a belief in the system. And then I had a terrible case of poison ivy. I did some herbal remedies, the Aveena bath, over-the-counter products, and nothing worked. Then I went to a homeopath who gave me Rhus Tox., both orally and topically, which also did nothing. I asked a friend for a recommendation and he gave me two referrals—a Chinese herbalist, and you. I didn’t call you first, because you’re a homeopath and I had just been to one who hadn’t helped! So I called the Chinese herbalist, but got his voice mail! Then I called you. You didn’t just say, “Oh it’s poison ivy, so you need such and such.” Rather, you asked me questions about what was going on in my life (there was a lot!) which guided you to a different remedy. I picked up the remedy that day, and before I went to bed that night, had relief for the first time in weeks. So obviously you’re doing something different than the other homeopaths I’ve seen.

Since then, I’ve worked with you through a lot of different emotional and physical issues including mediation, divorce, cancer and surgery. More than helpful, you always have a poetic way of looking at emotions, using imagery for feelings that spoke to the heart of what was going on. There’s something unique about the way you use imagery to describe emotions and their relationship to a remedy. Can you talk about how that has developed for you?

JP: I was always intrigued with the idea of symbols, especially in poetry. I’m quite visual, as well as experiential, so I understand things best in those ways. Since experiences usually have a visual component, and given my strong kinesthetic sense, the understandings that I have developed occur to me without words at first. When I understand complex concepts, I link them visually and kinesthetically. When I sit with someone and hear their story, a huge tapestry is constructed in my head, which I have learned to translate. It’s rather like trying to explain a scene that you’ve seen, but the person that you’re speaking to hasn’t seen it. It’s up to you to represent the picture with words that convey what you saw and felt.

AI: When you read about a remedy, the image isn’t necessarily on the page, but somehow reading the description creates an image in your mind?

JP: Reading about the dry aspects of a remedy, all of the symptoms, modalities, and concomitants will often put me to sleep. There are authors who deal with the remedy pictures as personalities, and take known personalities from real life or literature and explain how they are a representation of a particular remedy. That approach works well for me. After I have a picture, then I can go back and study the peculiarities of the remedy.

As an example, let’s use a couple of characters from The Wizard of Oz. Every one of them is a classic picture of a remedy. The cowardly lion is an aspect of Lycopodium. Having an image of himself as being weak and cowardly, he compensates by projecting a fierce countenance. It’s what is expected of him, though it’s not his nature. There’s a juxtaposition between strength and sensitivity, weakness and anger. His weakness and his fearfulness come at odds with his inherent strength and the expectations of him, that he be what he can’t really see in himself. He can’t see how strong he is, because his strength is different than what’s expected from him and he doesn’t know how to act. Inside he may be a sensitive, caring individual, yet there is a powerful fearfulness at the seat of his self-image. His external appearance as a lion, the King of the Jungle, is a façade, a role. That’s part of the picture of Lycopodium.

Dorothy is Ignatia. Ignatia has to do with loss and idealism. Idealism took Dorothy into the Land of Oz. It’s in that idealism that she lost her way. She had to find and accept aspects of herself. All of the characters she met represented aspects that she had to claim. She was fragile in a certain way, and very easily frightened from having lost her family and home, the source of her strength and security. There’s an underlying idealism in that. When you’re idealistic, you can easily get lost in a fantasy world of your own creation which bears no resemblance to reality, until you circle back on yourself and find out you were home all along. That’s a big part of Ignatia. It is often used for times when you lose a loved one. Loss can cause a tremendous upheaval of emotions that are rooted in a form of idealism. When emotions are suppressed or they’re not integrated into the whole, a loss can shake your world.

AI: Will Ignatia help integrate emotions that weren’t integrated before the loss?

JP: Ignatia can be used if there is no loss. But, loss in the realm of emotions may not be as obvious as the loss of a loved one. Perhaps it’s the loss of an ideal. The effect of a realization, that is connected to the feeling of a loss, may not be conscious, but is important to choosing a particular remedy. Often we project onto another person aspects of ourselves that we don’t find easy to face. When we lose the projection, we’ve experienced a loss. Ignatia can be extremely angry at loss. Anger is a protective reaction, a very basic instinct. Emotional breakdowns are often volatile. People who need Ignatia can develop tics, can be hysterical, can have angry crying fits. Having a reaction is understandable, but an extreme reaction might call for using Ignatia. Remember Dorothy’s many tantrums?

The use of Ignatia would loosen the taut strings, relieve the anger, the tics or the hysteria, and the person would find the space to recognize and feel the pain of the loss and to grieve. Or to specifically answer your question, it would enable the space to integrate emotions that were too charged to consider. Grief is a natural process of letting go and integrating around a new set of variables. And yet, there are many other remedies that could be used as well.

AI: So not all loss would be addressed with Ignatia.

JP: Right. It really depends on other things that are going on. In processing loss, you might need two or three remedies. You may need Ignatia now. In a month, after the outburst of emotion, you may need to move through the grief of having a new and huge void in your life. Some people react with anger: “Why the hell did you leave me?” After a while that could lead to depression, a loss of energy and moping around, or it could lead to a withdrawal that says: “I’m not going to let anybody get close to me ever again. I cannot possibly experience that pain again.” I might give Naturum Muriaticum or Arsenicum Album at that point.

AI: Two friends of mine recently experienced the death of a husband. They’re both on the West Coast. I’m wondering if they could call you for a phone consultation. How effective can a phone consultation be?

JP: I do long distance phone consultations with great success. They’re a little more complicated because I don’t have the person with me. It works, but it’s different than if the person is sitting across from me.

AI: My first consultation with you was on the telephone. And you’ve worked with a friend of mine from South Carolina for a long time before you met her. When she came up here, I suggested that she meet you in person so that when you have the next phone consult, you would have seen what she looks like and experienced her energetically.

JP: When I do a serious long-distance consult, rather than an emergency, I ask people to send me a picture, which I did with your friend. Most people do that readily. It did help to have met her because the extra sensory experiences that occur during contacts with a person that may not be easily categorized but are part of any direct exchange are enhanced through direct contact.

AI: It’s preferable to see the picture before the consultation?

JP: Yes. When you hear somebody’s voice on the phone, you get a mental image. I spoke to your friend before getting her picture, and she was definitely different than what I expected her to look like. When I saw her in person, there were even more differences than I expected, even though I had seen the photo. The experience having her sit with me allowed for the nuances of expression and of her energy to change the nature of what I had perceived prior to having sat with her. It’s not essential, but I prefer it. Speaking from a homeopathic model, all of our perceptions are interdependent. I enjoy using all of mine.

AI: Having said all that, I know you have effectiveness with a phone consult.

JP: Yes, I do. Of all the people with whom I’ve worked from around the country, there have been only a couple I’ve had a hard time connecting with. But I think if I’d seen them in person, I would have had a hard time. What I do isn’t right for everybody; that’s the nature of life. If there’s a connection to be made, it’s going to work whether I meet them or not.

AI: Everybody’s emotional language is different, too. Not everybody uses imagery to describe their feelings. There must be another way to talk about emotions with people like that.

JP: My work with hypnosis has really helped me in how I use language. Part of the training involves the process of listening to the words that a person uses. You listen to whether they say: “I see what you mean,” or “I hear what you’re saying,” or “I get that,” or “I feel that.” When you pick up their language, you can tell what kind of person they are, so you try to use images that they can relate to in terms of how they take in the world. It’s easy for me to respond to people visually, but it is also important to listen to people and the words that they use so that when I give images back to them, they are something that can be part of the context of their lives. It’s important for my clients to know that I’ve heard them, that they have been understood, and that I have a perspective outside the norm that they can use to their benefit.

With actors, I would try to use visuals from the theatre or images that relate to theatre work. With massage therapists, I’ll try to use body images. It cues people into a larger frame of reference that facilitates an understanding of the connections that I’m trying to make. That’s something I like about images—they’re a quick way inside the consciousness—rather than using an intellectual framework to understand an emotion. The details can be explained later. That initial anchoring is really important in the communication.

AI: In addition to working with divorce, loss, and other emotional issues, you also deal with physical issues such as dental work, menopause, surgery and supporting people as they go through radiation and chemotherapy. Can you address some of that?

JP: Oh, yes! Homeopathy is well grounded in the physical world and the disturbances of the body. All homeopaths need an understanding of the physical and the relationship that physical disharmonies, whether natural or induced, play in the picture of the whole person’s health. I work with a tremendous range of physical issues from infants to the elderly. Coughs, colds, flu, headaches, all can benefit from homeopathy.

Taking dental work as an example, there’s general agreement that a dental procedure like drilling, can interfere with homeopathic remedies. Again, I think it’s a matter of sensitivity. Some people don’t care whether they get into a dentist’s chair. I’m one of those people who struggles, so I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. I give remedies to assist the whole person, partly based on what they need, but also based on my experience.

There are remedies I’ll give during radiation, during chemotherapy, for surgery. They work in lots of situations that you would not normally think they would. I give remedies when people are on all kinds of allopathic (traditional) medicine and the remedies can help.

AI: It seems that one of the challenges of doing homeopathy is the way it could pull on you, if you’re attached to having a particular outcome.

JP: The desire for a particular outcome is usually related to one’s expectations. As a homeopath, I’m looking for deeper causes which may seem unrelated to the complaint you came with. I do address whatever relief the person came seeking, though sometimes finding the cause that the patient isn’t willing or ready to look at can get in the way of success. That process may take longer than they are willing to engage in. In those cases, I do what I can. It is a challenge, though, because I am there to help.

AI: Have you found a correlation between someone’s inclination or resistance to going into those more emotional places and the kinds of outcomes that you’re able to get?

JP: Usually by the time people get to me, they’ve already been frustrated by the limitations of traditional means. Often their emotions are on the surface so it makes it a little bit easier for me because I can get a sense of where they are. It’s an opportunity to see what the interplay is between the healing process, the limitations and the resistance. Emotions may not have anything to do with the healing process. Perhaps it’s in the mental process or rooted in their physical surroundings or their work. Often, it’s a tapestry of all of these factors. It can be a very complex puzzle which may take time to fully understand and to decipher. There are so many places that people don’t expect to look for causes. Resistance to looking at causes can inhibit progress, but it is my job to make a case for what I see and what I need answers to. The rest is up to the remedy and their experience. Their resistance is neither here nor there when it comes to the effectiveness of the remedy, though it can interfere with my choice of the best remedy for them.

Everybody’s a little different. Some people need a very medical approach to homeopathy and will respond well to that approach. Other people are more willing to expand their perspectives and to grow spiritually in a way that allows them to see illness, not as an impediment to life, but as an opportunity. I try to look at illness that way, and to use homeopathy in that way—to help people let go of the past in a way that supports expansion, rather than a circling around the familiar.

The goal is to recognize that they’re in a process and that homeopathy supports that process. It’s a way of giving energy and light, of helping them to put their head above water, so they can see around and get a perspective on where they are. It makes it easier for them to see where they want to go. Homeopathy gives a buoyancy to the inner being, to their energy, and at the physical level, to their body’s many interrelated systems, so that they can make choices freely rather than continuing to drown.

When we’re sick, when we’re in pain, when we’re dealing with something that demands our focus, our attention is going to that only, while ignoring everything else. Homeopathy can give you support and the space to expand your perspective beyond your present situation, allowing you more freedom and a lot more choice.

__________

*Materia Medica is the detailed compendium of information on all of the remedies that are used by homeopathic practitioners.

__________

or

*Materia Medica is a compilation of Homeopathic remedies with all known information related to their use as a homeopathic medicine. A repertory of homeopathic materia medica is akin to a dictionary of symptoms and all homeopathic remedies that have been found to express those symptoms.

Jerome Pindell practices Homeopathy, Hypnosis, Zero Balancing, and Jin Shin Jyutsu at the Half Moon Vitality Center in Clifton Park. He is available for private sessions, informational talks and classes on specific areas of concern, such as the treatment of acute illnesses, how alternatives may become a primary choice of treatment in chronic conditions or a supportive adjunct to conventional therapies. He can be reached at 518-374-5492.

Andrea Isaacs is a speaker, coach and trainer with a specialty in Emotional Intelligence (EQ). Her trainings help build confidence and patience, manage anger and anxiety, and improve communication, relationship and leadership skills. She works with individuals and groups in both therapeutic and business settings. She published Cancer Odyssey: Poems and Drawings on a Cancer Journey, has written several articles on EQ, teaches and sees clients in Canada, England, France, Italy, Israel, Brazil, Finland, Denmark and Ireland. She can be reached at andreais@earthlink.net, 518-279-4444 or www.physical-intelligence.com.


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