The theme of our 2011 Conference was Developing Solid Foundations for Successful Homeopathic Practice, which was reflected in the weekend's various presentations. These started on Saturday morning with featured speakers, business and marketing coach, Juliet Austin, and Classical homeopath, Sonya McLeod.
Juliet Austin, who specializes in working with alternative health professionals, emphasized the importance of taking a business approach to running a successful homeopathic practice in her talk on "Basic Business Skills for Your Private Practice". In particular, she discussed several strategies for getting the word out about your practice, concluding with current trends in marketing including blogging and other forms of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, & LinkedIn.
Sonya McLeod's presentation, "Not Too Hot to Handle: Homeopathic remedies for radiation exposure", provided valuable information on remedies to consider for a range of radiation-related conditions. Whether the source is a dental X-ray, radiation therapy, or fallout from a nuclear disaster (to name a few), the homeopaths present went away with historical references and remedy suggestions to help provide more effective treatment.
Another highlight of the day was the launch of the new WCHS website by website designer (and Classical homeopath), Tami dos Santos. Although there still is work to be done on it, everyone agreed that the new user-friendly format was an impressive improvement over the version in use since 2002, providing more colour, more interesting features, and a more professional image for homeopathy and the Society.
Keynote speaker on Saturday afternoon, as well as all day Sunday, was Peter Fraser, who presented cases illustrating valuable insights gleaned from provings, many of which he participated in. His Saturday talk, "Seeing the Proving in the Patient", covered the three distinct sides involved in the process of the homeopathic prescription. Peter explained how the process involves understanding the disease as it is expressed in the patient; understanding the nature of the remedy as it has been expressed in a proving; and being able to match the two. Every homeopath has their strengths and weaknesses; some of us are more at home with one aspect, while others feel more comfortable with another. As we work to our strengths and stress those parts of the process that we do best, there is always a danger of letting another aspect become neglected. At the present time many homeopaths tend to emphasize the process of casetaking and for others, the proving process is also being looked at in detail. However, as Peter pointed out, the third part is not so well understood but it is as, if not more, important as the other two. We all benefitted from Peter's experiences with proving remedies, which form the basis of our understanding of materia medica and enhance our ability to practice effectively.
Annual General Meeting
Later on Saturday afternoon, WCHS presented our Annual General Meeting with Board reports, opportunities to answer questions, and the election of new officers. This was followed by our AGM raffle – always a fun event – which raised important funds to help support the weekend's events.
Honouring Murray Feldman
Shortly afterwards, we drifted into an informal reception in the exhibiting area prior to a special Conference Dinner held in honour of Murray Feldman. After a delicious meal and an hilarious rendition of "Homeo-Pie", the Board and our members were pleased to acknowledge Murray with over 10 pages of messages from colleagues around the world. Heartfelt speeches and recollections follwed, and then presentation of the Hahnemann Award in recognition of his extensive achievements in homeopathy. This was a treasured opportunity for many of us to express gratitude and respect to Murray for his impact on individual lives and for his contributions towards creating and nurturing the homeopathic community in BC. It was a moving and much-deserved tribute to an exceptional leader of homeopathy in Canada – an evening that none present will forget!
Sunday Seminar with Peter Fraser
The next day, Peter Fraser spoke on "Finding the Proving in the Case; how proving symptoms can enhance analysis and case management". Recognizing that homeopathic provings are an invaluable way for homeopaths to gain insight into the homeopathic process, Peter demonstrated how the wisdom revealed in a proving becomes evident in the taking of and management of a number of cases. He showed how the proving is an expression of the remedy, just as the illness is an expression of the disease. Both have been expressed through the medium of a person – the prover and the patient respectively – and there is a skill in discerning the nature of the disease and of the remedy. Often we rely on experts to do this for us and use secondary or tertiary materia medica to understand the remedy and compare it to the patient. However, Peter was able to show how using the primary provings can be much more effective, not only in matching remedy to patient but in understanding the pattern of cure and the ways of interacting with and managing that pattern of cure.