Are you confused about choosing a course?

This page looks in depth at some important issues to consider when you choose a place to study

Can I train as a homeopath?

What qualifications do you need in order to be able to start training on a professional homeopathic course?

Do you need qualifications - yes. Do you need academic qualifications - no! We are looking for those special people who have or can develop a passion for homeopathy.

Some homeopathy training courses do have different academic entry criteria. However, and it is a big however, at The Homeopathy College we believe that besides passion, other qualities are more important. Do you have the life understanding, the maturity, the perception, the clarity of thought, the ability to empathise etc ..... needed to be a good homeopath? They need to be there at the beginning and we will help you develop these skills on the course.

We are looking for people with the potential to be different, to dare to look at the world with fresh eyes and the courage to understand it in new ways. People who can rise to the challenge of the exciting potential that homeopathy brings. People who will make a difference. This may be challenging; it is also very exciting and a lot of fun.

Many years of experience training homeopaths has shown us that the best homeopaths evolve from people who have a passion for homeopathy. Of course some academic study comes into it. This includes home study, writing up notes and reading about the homeopathy remedies etc and, yes, sometimes it can take time and effort; what will motivate you is your enthusiasm and passion for homeopathy. Do you have that passion or can you develop it? The real funs starts when you do develop it because you get addicted to homeopathy. You had better warn your partner / spouse / family etc before you begin!

Students usually fall into two broad categories – the visual / auditory group and the kinaesthetic group. The first group find they can learn the information part of homeopathy quite easily from reading and talking / hearing about it. This aspect of learning homeopathy is not natural to the second group - they learn best through doing it, through treating people and seeing remedies in action. We often say that these students come alive in the clinics and begin to show us just how good they really are.

Homeopathy is a very safe form of medicine. At THC we encourage everyone to use homeopathic remedies right from the start of the course. We give simple guidelines and show you how to access any support you need in order to safely get started. There is nothing like experiencing homeopathy treatment in action for increasing enthusiasm, passion and understanding.

Other qualities we are looking for are self motivation and self responsibility. We provide study material, handouts and personal support in lots of different ways. We help you to identify what you are doing well and on what you need to focus; what you need to do and how you can do it. Self reflection and self assessment are crucial. As homeopathic practitioners, we recognise our own needs and learn how to meet them; we assess our own performance and know how to keep improving it. When you get into practice no one else can do this for you.

How can I choose the right place for me?

Are you getting confused when trying to pick a homeopathy course?

There are so many available now, how can you decide?

The commonest criteria on most peoples list is location. This is one criteria we would not even put on the list or at least it would go at the bottom. You will be enrolling on a course to train in your chosen career. You will be studying for between two and five years. The quality of the training, your enjoyment and the inspiration you receive are of far greater importance. These days convenience often matters more than quality. Becoming a successful homeopath is all about quality and passion.

Students have attended our course from as far afield as the north of Scotland, Ireland and the continent, not to mention other far flung counties of the UK.

We urge you to consider this issue very seriously.

So if not location, then what? Two major issues to consider:

1. How many students graduating from the course go into practice and succeed in the long term?

The trouble with this one is that most courses will give you the same answer even if the individual reality is rather different!

There are several linked factors to consider here. Let’s approach this question from the other end. If students do not go on to long term successful practice, why don’t they?

For some it may never have been their intention – they may have started the course out of interest, so they could treat family and friends etc. or maybe as part of their personal growth. So if it was never their intention to go into practice we do not need to consider these.

What about the ones who wanted to go into practice? There are two common themes we have observed:

a) Firstly lack of confidence.

Lack of confidence stems from fear. Our whole course is geared towards inspiring confidence and competence in practice so that our graduates go out into the world with the confidence to set up and the skills to continue in practice. If you want to have a look at THC's Aims - you will find them on the page 'About the College'.

There are many factors that go towards developing confidence and competence. Some important ones are:

  • Having the homeopathic tools to handle different types of cases.
  • Health training in other useful areas to combine with homoeopathy.
  • Having the experience of personal support and knowing how to get it when needed.
  • Having the experience of professional support and knowing how to get it when needed.
  • Having inner trust and confidence in oneself, in homeopathy and in your skills / experience as above.

It is our job to help you develop confidence and competence by the end of the course. Many years experience training homeopaths have helped us to refine our skills in this area.

The fears leading to lack of confidence will vary. Some fears may be inherent to the individual student - for whom we would recommend a good course of homeopathic or other appropriate treatment! We believe that every student should have experienced receiving homeopathy before they finish the course. This is part of the personal growth and develpment inherent in becoming a homeopath.

Fear is inherent in the way some courses teach. As one famous homeopath said - "It is not what is taught, it is how it is taught that is important". You will need to make an assessment of the level of fear being subtly conveyed to the students.

Many times we have seen that fear destroys passion and remember, passion is the fuel for study, learning, development and success.

At THC our experience is that homeopathy is an incredibly safe form of treatment. We encourage you to go out and use homeopathy right from the begining of the course. Go and discover what you can do with homeopathy. We help you to recognise when you might need help and how you can get it.

Some colleges will not allow their students to use remedies at all until late on in the course. Ask at what point in the course students are permitted to give remedies and take on cases. On some courses students are not allowed to give any remedies without every prescription being first approved by a supervisor. Presumably their students shouldn't even give Arnica for a bruise! Ask what level of supervision is required for students during the different aspects of their training.

A general guide in this area is - the more rules and restrictions you encounter, the greater the level of subtle fear that will be taught without anyone noticing it. Only that which is dangerous needs restricting . If a college really does believe homeopathy to be incredibly safe, why restrict it severely? Always take far more notice of what people do, than what they tell you.

Clinics are where we have found students make the most progress in their confidence, ability, personal growth, understanding, skills and ........ Some courses provide little or no clinical training! This speaks for itself.

At THC the student practitioner clinics are just that. The students run them. One person takes the case along with a supporting observer. These two then come back to the whole group and present the case for group discussion and decisions about how to manage the case. It is an incredibly supportive environment with many minds focused on the case being presented. The group is supervised by a very experienced clinician whose job it is, to be a resource and guide. They do not make the decisions and show boat their skills. Indeed, quite often they may learn something new from the experience too.

Some courses provide clinical training which is so closely supervised that students are given no freedom to discover their skills and potential.

Ask how much clinical training is provided and what form it takes. In particular ask about the amount of freedom given to students within the training.

Look for the level of rigidity. Rigidity, like rules, is a common response to fear, especially hidden fear. The more ‘rigidity’, the less adaptability and the more fear there is. Rigidly taught homeopathy is born out of fear. This is not to say that laise faire / anything goes is good either - look for rules, assessments and structures that are creative, supportive, appropriate and nurturing. This is our yardstick for designing how our courses work and we are continually refining it.

Homeopathic theory tells us that bodies are intelligent, they do the best they can. Experience tells us that when we learn to trust this and not be afraid of what bodies do, when we learn to work with what the body is doing, then we get our best results and people do make incredible health and personal changes.

Fear is a killer in every sense of the word and at every level. Be alert for it especially when it is well hidden. No course will admit to working out of a fearful place - you will have to see it for yourself. Look for trust and passion - from the college and its students.

b) The second theme is lack of success

At THC we provide our students with the tools to do the job. This is where methods of homeopathic prescribing (we abbreviate this just to 'Methods'), knowledge of remedy pictures (Materia Medica), homeopathic theory etc. comes in. Methods are important because they give you different points of view.

Have you seen those photographs of common objects taken from an unusual angle and you can't tell what it is? You change your point of view and instantly the object becomes clear. Methods are like that. If you only have one method you will find cases which are very unclear. Look at it from a different position and what to do becomes obvious.

In our experience the rigid insistence that there is only one or two ways of using homeopathy is a reflection of the fears discussed above and will necessarily lead to limitations. This can be found in the nature of the material taught and the teachers.

Sometimes course material will tell you whether more than one method is taught otherwise ask. Look out for the Classical method being upheld as if it were some Holy Grail to be worshiped!

Talk to students who are actually on the course. Ask about student cases; how is case taking by students handled in the college, how inspired they are to learn homeopathy and apply it to their cases; what success are they having and what sort of cases are they treating? How are severely sick people treated? Ultimately only the results matter - they are the proof of the pudding.

2 The second major issue is the energy and aliveness of the college.

How enthused and alive are the students? How inspiring and challenging are teachers and the course? Passion is the fuel that makes our course what it is.

Some of our most experienced lecturers also teach at other colleges, they tell us how awful it is to see the light of passion going out of students eyes. Homeopathy is about increasing health, energy and passion.

You must go and sit in on a college teaching day and assess the aliveness of students especially those towards the end of the course. Homeopathy is enlivening, not deadening. Sit in on classes with all years and get a sense of the energy and atmosphere. This is the single most important criterion I would urge you to assess.

There are lots of other questions to ask too. I have put a list of frequently asked questions on the 'Other Questions' page.

 

What are the PROs and CONs of degree / non degree and attendance / distance learning courses?

Let us look at this one in two parts:

1 Firstly the issue of distance only learning.

a) Consider the nature of homeopathy

By this we mean the fundamental principles upon which it rests, the world view which it embodies, the belief systems inherent to it. It embodies a different paradigm to the one generally accepted as ‘normal’.

This can be very subtle. For instance we may know about homeopathic ideas and understand them in our heads but it takes time and experience for us to know them in our hearts; for us to fully digest and incorporate them into ourselves.

Our experience at THC shows how important personal contact and tailored support is to this paradigm changing experience. It is so much easier within a supportive personal relationship.

The reason for this is that it takes personal experience of a different paradigm to even begin to digest it. We do not ask students at THC to have made this shift by the end of the course but we do look for and support them to make a start in this direction during the four years they are with us. They can then continue the process once out in practice.

No amount of theoretical learning from books and study guides can make this shift happen; learning only in our heads can even create a block to this development. This is about being real, authentic and living ones truth. Having a head full of the most wonderful facts, ideas, theories etc is not the same as digesting, knowing and being different as a result of experience.

We have said many times that becoming a homeopath is connected with who you are, not just what you know. How do you think distance only learning courses perform in this area?

If you only want to know the theory of homeopathy - do a distance only learning course. If you want to become a homeopath - do a course involving personal contact, challenge, group experience and individual experience.

b) Another major consideration is THE EFFECT OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEW PROFESSIONAL REGULATIONS .

New registration criteria have been drawn up which mean that there will be two routes to get onto the new single register for homeopathy. The first is by graduating from a homeopathy training college or course that is accredited. The new body for this is called the Homeopathy Accreditation Board. Graduates from such courses will be eligible to apply to go directly on to the register.

The HAB is just starting its work as an independent regulator. I sit on HAB and have been involved in this aspect of professional regulation since before 1999 and so am very familiar with all the current developments.

The other route will be the individual route where homeopaths will have to satisfy the registering body that they meet the required standards. This will probably be through the submission of several fully written up cases and an in depth interview. It may well involve more assessment than this.

The criteria for this route have not yet been finalised.

One thing is very clear. There will be a strong emphasis on sufficient good quality clinical training in order for a course to be accredited or for the graduate of a non accredited course to be successful in their application to go on the register through the individual route.

In other words purely distance learning courses will not fulfil these criteria and their graduates will not be eligible for registration through the accredited course route. I know of no distance learning course which is currently an approved, recognised course with any external course validating or accrediting body. To read some of their advertising literature though, you would think otherwise!

To summarise -

We consider that distance only learning courses are not good means of obtaining a professional training.

If you want to gain some knowledge of homeopathy, sufficient to treat family and friends for simple conditions or you are interested in the subject but do not wish to become a professional practitioner then by all means consider doing a distance only learning course.

If you want more than that, we cannot recommend you even consider them.

People have applied to THC to complete their training who have already completed distance learning courses and are, according to the course, ready to go and practice but the individuals have recognised that they were not ready to go into practice despite passing their courses with good grades.

After looking at what they have covered on their course we have been unable to offer some of them more than one years credit against our own course – in other words, there has been so much that has not been covered that they have had to join in the second year of our four year course and even then we have had to offer catch up sessions so that they can join in at that level.

We hope this gives you some idea of the limitations of many distance only learning courses.

A few courses combine an early part offering distance learning modules which then give exemption from the early part of the attendance course. This is a much better way of approaching it, though I would still recommend attendance for the full course if that is at all possible.

Because of demand, we are considering offering something like this but, unlike some courses which offer two years exemption i.e. entry into the third year of the associated attendance course, the most we will consider is offering home study equivalent to the first year with entry into the second year group. That is how important we consider the experiential side to be. When we start this, we will also be closely reviewing the results!

2 Secondly the question about a degree course or a non-degree course.

It is certainly true that in the last few years some degree courses are attracting more students than non-degree courses that award some form of course certificate.

What are the issues here?

We think it is mainly about perceptions and lack of perception.

I do not wish to cause offense here but I am going to be blunt. Many of us who have been training homeopaths for a considerable time, have observed a growing lack of ability among many students to really discriminate, to assess the worth of a course and to prioritise effectively. Of course we have not only observed this phenomenon in students; it is a more general trend in society as a whole. On the course we will explore this more and aim to reverse the process! People are just so busy now that quality is being sacrifices for convenience; image is more important than substance.

A major concern with degree courses is how much the course has had to compromise in order to meet the academic criteria of the accrediting university.

We have been looking at offering a degree course alongside our non-degree course for a long time but decided in 2007 that the compromise required by universities is unacceptable. We cannot say that some of the degree courses available have not found an acceptable way to do this, though everything I hear on the homeopathy college grapevine makes me doubt it – you will have to judge for yourself.

The difficulty relates to the nature of homeopathy training. Please read through the paragraph above at ‘1 a) Consider the nature of homeopathy’ if you have not done so already. Universities are very good at assessing academic knowledge and this is where their criteria are focussed.

Courses training homeopaths need to assess the more subjective abilities and personal growth aspects, which are far more difficult to describe or assess on paper. It is not possible to set a written examination for this. Assessments in this area are based on the experience that the trainers have of you, the student. This experience arises out of our relationship with you in different settings - e.g. classroom, interview, clinic etc. If you want to know more about this please come and talk to us.

 

Have you heard the myth about degrees and future registration?

Does the degree give you any other advantages?

Let us assume you have found a good degree course that has not compromised its training and a good non-degree course.

Will it make any difference to your future ability to become a registered homeopathic practitioner?

No. The criteria for registration currently and after any new regulations come into force have nothing whatsoever to do with whether you have a degree in homeopathy or not. College accreditation will be based on the quality of the training and not on whether they offer a degree.

I really want to emphasise this one because I have heard that some people are putting out the myth that in the future, only graduates of degree courses will be eligible to go straight onto the new register. I have been involved in the reorganisation of the profession since before 1999. I have represented the colleges as a member of CORH Council as well as being a member of the Accreditation Working Group, which evolved into the Homeopathy Accreditation Board, which developed the process for accreditation of colleges . Both of these organised dissolved, one in disaray, the other for lack of forthcoming financial support - therein lies a tale. The upshot of this history is that the Homeopathy Course Providers Forum, which was a really good thing to come out of the CORH process, is now where the energy and creativity is. HCPF now provides a course validation scheme which drew on the good work of the former bodies. I am still involved in this process which is both on-going and looking exciting as to future possibilities.

Anyway, in short, having a degree is and alway will be, irrelevant as far as future registration is concerned.

Will it make any other difference to your future career?

If you are going to open your own practice, which is what most homeopaths do, it will make no difference at all.

If you are hoping to get employment as a homeopath, some people think it may play a part in the selection process but there are other reasons why this is very unlikely to make any real difference.

Employers generally look for someone with experience and good references, who is properly registered and regulated by their professional body. Professional registration and experience are far more important than having a degree.

There is another issue here to consider:

The popular misconception that there will be jobs in the NHS

I have heard many homeopaths and non-homeopaths try to argue that when the profession completes its new regulation process, there will be jobs available for homeopaths in the NHS.

This is based on a failure to understand the nature of the forces at work and flies in the face of all the available evidence. There are several reasons for this, one of which is to do with the nature of homeopathy; it is embedded in a very different belief system or paradigm, to the paradigm of the current scientific and medical models.

To give you just one simple example, how can homeopathy really work if the remedies it uses above a 13c potency have less than one molecule of the substance in them? It requires a different paradigm to begin to understand homeopathy.

Yes, I can hear some of you saying that it doesn’t matter because you can prove clinical effectiveness in studies and trials. Science in this area is not scientific. The belief system of many scientists does affect how they understand what they read and the decisions and actions they take. There are very few open, unprejudiced scientists, particularly in the medical field. To say nothing of the effects of funding and where the money comes from!

Homeopathy will not be accepted until the advances in field theory and quantum physics and chemistry have been taken into the field of biology and medicine. We are still a long way from that happening. As things now stand, homeopathy will not be accepted by the culture of the NHS and there will not magically be jobs for homeopaths in the NHS.

Experience bears this out. We know of many homeopaths working with GPs, in hospices, in the prison service and many different areas of the system but they all have one thing in common. They were all negotiated at a local level between individuals. As far as I am aware, all the successful schemes that were set up and worked well at local levels, have failed or been axed as soon as there was any attempt to incorporate them into the system at a higher or regional level. Either they were axed or the system produced its own watered down, half baked, corrupted version that actually destroyed the essence of the therapy it was meant to be replacing. Of course these schemes are trumpeted as a great advance incorporating alternative medicine into the the NHS but in reality they are no such thing. We have heard these stories so many times - and, yes, I do still feel angry about what happens!

Bearing this in mind, we honestly cannot see it making any difference whether you have a degree or not. We are all up against the workings of much more powerful and subtle influences.

Some people think that having a degree will attract more clients to their practice.

Ask practitioners how many times they have been asked by their clients about the nature of their qualifications. This question has been discussed at meetings of the colleges and the registering bodies at CORH council. The answer is always the same - clients virually never ask about the nature of a practitioner's qualifications.

There is a good reason to go for a degree

If you want a degree for your own personal reasons - go for it.

We are not against degrees; we are against the illusions of the benefit that a homeopathic degree would bring.

[section heading="What is Practical homeopathy?"]

There is a myth doing the rounds which says that Practical is not Classical and another that says they have never been integrated before. A good selling pitch but unfortunately totally untrue! The integration of Classical and other methods of homeopathy was the principle reason this college was set up in 1988. Robert Davidson scoured the world to discover how different homeopaths were using homeopathy. He synthesised their work and invented the name Practical homeopathy. He co-founded this college in 1988 with the express purpose of teaching it. We were the first college in the world to teach this way, so I guess you could say we can speak with some on authority on this one too!

Practical homeopathy is just that – practical. We teach Classical or Kentian homeopathy to a high standard and we teach other methods as well.

Classical looks at the person as a complete whole and prescribes one remedy, waiting for an appropriate time to see the changes, then reassesses and prescribes again if need be. We call this a totality method. There are other totality methods such as the Physical Generals method. They all rely on an integrated symptom picture where all parts of the symptom picture are coherent parts of an integrated, single, whole picture.

There are many other methods but only a few principle ones. We teach you how to use each method and how to recognise when it is appropriate. In practice having a variety of methods at your finger tips helps make case work so much easier. It is a bit like having a variety of tools in your tool bag - if you only have a spanner then it is easy to fix a nut but it is jolly hard to fix a nail.

Let's briefly explore this a little further. I just said that totality methods relied on an integrated symptom picture. So what happens if someone’s energy system has become so depleted that it is unable to maintain an integrated pattern of symptoms? What if their health state is fragmented and the parts of the symptom picture no longer fit together as an integrated whole picture?

At this point it becomes either very difficult or even impossible to make totality methods work. This leads either to elitism, where you have to be an expert in order to treat such cases or the patient is said to be incurable. This is a place in which homeopathic 'gurus' are born. At the same time it is a place in which students either go into awe of the gurus or get totally disheartened and end up feeling it is all beyond their ability or both.

Out of this scenario the concept of teaching multi methods was born. By looking at cases from a different perspective, they become easy again. A way forward can be seen that leads to increasing health without getting stuck or having to be a so called expert.

As people recover from disintegrated health patterns, they begin to reintegrate until eventually totality pictures of remedies emerge and the totality methods become appropriate again.

There are stages of disintegration beyond the fragmentation of pictures we have described above. People who are really sick can reach a stage when there are very few symptoms left – they are just very ill. There is no clear picture or pattern of symptoms upon which to prescribe. They have got so sick that they are unable to produce symptoms. We have methods to deal with that scenario too and we teach them in the third and fourth years of the course.

So methods are about seeing cases from a different perspective and using homeopathic principles in creative but logical ways in order to treat people who have deteriorated to such an extent that they can no longer produce a single, whole remedy picture of symptoms. Unfortunately in the, so called, civilised 21st century, this is now an increasingly common occurrence.

A word about the importance to health of nutrition

Practical Homeopathy is also about doing whatever is appropriate, any health therapy, anything else too, not just homeopathy. It has become clear to many of us that the poor quality of our food has serious implications for health and disease. It is a very big area needing to be addressed.

Did you hear a couple of programs about nutrition in April 2006 on radio 4? Orthodox experts are predicting that we may well belong to the first generation with a life expectancy exceeding that of our children and grandchildren - and they attribute this principally to the poor quality of our nutrition. The nutritional value of food in Western nations is declining at an accelerating pace. Even 'healthy' diets are inadequate. Food simply does not have the goodies in it that it used to. Current research is showing dramatic reductions in mineral and vitamin levels of fresh foods.

Homeopaths need to address this and we are now including much more nutrition on our course.

And we are being told that the health of the nation is better now than ever before.

Time for a reality check? Such is progress.

What are NOSs and why are they important?

NOS stands for National Occupational Standards. They have been written for many occupations and professions but the ones we are interested in relate to homeopathy.

They are descriptions of the skills, knowledge, attributes and capacities an individual needs to possess in order to be able to function as a safe, competent professional homeopath. The full text runs to many pages.

NOS's are the base standard that has been adopted by which to assess homeopaths as being fit to become registered practitioners. It is also the standard used by the Homeopathy Accreditation Board, to which courses will be expected to train their graduates in order for the college to be accredited. It is clear that any course which does not train to this standard will not get accredited and its graduates will not be eligible to apply to go straight onto the register but will have to apply by an individually assessed route.