Seminar in Keighley, West Yorkshire, 13/14 October 2012
Dr Paul Herscu and Dr Amy Rothenberg
The first time I saw Dr Paul Herscu present Cycles and Segments nearly 20 years ago, I must confess to being somewhat perplexed. Why do we need to look at a case in this way, why do we need to group symtoms together? When faced with something new our first thought is to question it (rightly so), then to either dismiss it or embrace it.Sometimes we dismiss a new idea without understanding it, Homeopath’s know all too well this approach. I liken this to a sports person learning a new skill. The coach will encourage the player to work at a new technique that will enhance his game. The player will resist at first “Why do I need to do this ? I’m doing alright as I am”. Where the coach sees a weakness in the player’s game he will encourage the player to improve his skills by doing a certain manouevre or changing a certain aspect of his game. Looking at doing things in a different way to improve his game. The player will then work on his weakness until he has mastered the skill and improved his game.
I was the player who dismissed the new technique. In fact, I didn’t see Paul again for another 5 years. I plodded on in my Practice, getting fairly good results but also getting frustrated at times when I couldn’t seem to help my patients. Even taking into account obstacles to cure, there were some cases that I felt should have been helped better.
When I saw Paul again at a seminar in London. There he was once again explaining how the Cycles and Segments approach had helped him tremendously in his practice. This time I listened to the Coach!
He talked about Stress and Strain. How the person receives a stress and how the person strains against that stress. The straining process being the symptoms that are produced. How certain individuals are predisposed to certain stresses and that we all strain in a different way depending on our susceptability and predisposition.
When we give a remedy , the remedy is a highly specific stress on the individual which creates healing.
He explained how a case could be divided up into segments. Each segment containing rubrics that mean the same thing. This way you will not lose the remedy, especially if you use too small a rubric. It’s probably best to give you an example at this point from our recent seminar.
Chronic inflammation of the throat
Inflammation of the skin
Bladder infection inflammation > all mean the same thing INFLAMMATION
Yelling, throwing things > all mean the same Discharges
Find the crux of the case, what needs fixing. What’s the worst thing.
So find examples of the patients story. Do not take anything at face value. If the patient is anxious, you need to explore that.
No symptom happens in a vaccum, they are related.
All symptoms are context dependent. ie what makes the pain worse/better. (Modalities)
Each segment relates to one another.
Seeing the same type of symptoms related again and again throughout the case.
( how many times have you had a Calc case before you and you know you can predict that they are constipated)
You must not focus on just one part of the case.
Don’t get distracted on irrelevances of the case ie does he like sun,types of food,etc
If you give Sulphur because your patient sticks his feet out of the covers, is warm blooded, has a skin rash, desires cold water, you will go wrong. Many remedies/patients share these symptoms but do not need Sulphur.
This is a true understanding of the case before you – The totality.
At this point I would encourage you to go to Paul Herscu’s web site http://www.nesh.com where you can read an article on the cycles and segments approach. He also has an explanation in his book on Stramonium.
So this understanding of Cycles and Segments was demonstrated by Paul and Amy throughout the seminar. Amy took a case of a woman in her 50’s suffering with MS. She demonstrated the model of cycle and segments beautifully, simplifying the case. She then had the delegates go through the segments of the case, understanding how each symptom related to the next.
The following day she presented a paper case of Nux moschata, divided us into groups and got us to recognise symptoms that meant the same. She explained how it wasn’t necessary at first to link up the segments into an actual cycle. Getting the segments was enough at this stage. As you become more familiar with the system you will be able to see a cycle of one segment following another. The remedy needed will still come out in your list of remedies even if you don’t do this. Remember you are still learning the technique in the early stages and there will be some head scratching. If you persevere, you will become more accurate in your prescribing.
Paul took a case of a young 11 year old boy on the Autistic spectrum. Once again demonstrating his powers of perception. The boy had a history of outbursts of anger but after the outburst wasn’t aware that he had had an outburst.The anger lead him to become confused and dull. Along with the rest of the case, shrieking, overly sensitive to perceived threat, dogmatic, fears dark/strangers. The case came out to Mercurious. If we had just centred on the fear of the dark we would have given Stramonium as indeed the previous Homeopath had done. I have made this mistake in the past as I’m sure all of us have. Stramonium after the anger would have resulted in a desire to close off and shut down unlke mercurius which would have felt depleted and weak (not remembering). Stramonium would remember what they did.
Paul also showed us his map of Hierachy of remedies. If you go to his web site or the Stramonium book, you will be able to see this
Basically, he says that remedies can be categorized into a hierachy, not dissimilar to Herings law of cure but in terms of remedies, each phase represents a deeper state of pathology progressing from left to right. Polycrest remedies in phase one, Nosodes in phase two, more intense remedies in phase three. As you can see phase three remedies split off into dullness of the psychi as in Baryta Carb or excitability as in Stramonium. The fourth phase becoming more intense.
Babies ought to be born needing a phase one remedy however you can have a baby needing a remedy from phase four where something odd happened i.e. Mother was exposed to toxins, violence, cord around the neck etc. As you get sicker you may move across to the right of the diagram but depending on the stress you may stay on the left. Anxiety in phase one will be less severe than anxiety in phase four. Would you prefer to have the anxiety of Calc or the anxiety of Stram?
Instead of having many different remedies coming through the system, you will find mostly remedies suited more to the case coming through. If your patient needs a remedy from lets say phase three, the list of remedies will also show the next remedy likely to be needed after the appropriate has run it’s course. Of course the case must be taken again to make sure the patient has moved into a new remedy picture.
Here at the YCCH we hope to have Paul and Amy back next year. On our 3 year course we follow the cycles and segment approach. We have found over the years our students very quickly embrace this method , as it is a truly holistic way of understanding the patient.