Bach Flower Therapy Casetaking
If you are using Bach flower therapy as an adjunct in your homeopathic practice, the homeopathic casetaking might give you all the information you need in order to prescribe a Bach remedy. If you are offering Bach flower therapy on its own, the casetaking will usually be simpler and shorter than in homeopathy. A typical intake can last 1–1.5 hours, with follow ups varying in length from 30 to 60 minutes.
The interview can be casual and you will find your best style of working over time. That said, the steps below outline some best practices for conducting a Bach Flower Therapy session.
The First Appointment
The following outline will give you a sense for how to guide the session in a way that is helpful for both you and the client.
1. Setting the stage
It is best to begin by asking the person if they are familiar with Bach flower therapy and, if necessary, share a brief overview of its goals so they know what to expect from the interview.
- Are you familiar with Bach flower therapy?
- I’ll share with you a little about Bach flower therapy before we get started...
2. Open-ended inquiry
As with a homeopathic intake, start with open-ended questions, letting the person speak freely, without interruption, about what is bothering them. This is what we sometimes refer to as “passive” casetaking or case receiving in homeopathy. This is where you listen to all the person’s concerns, learn what their priorities are, and better understand where to focus your attention.
- What brings you here?
- Tell me more.
- What else?
- Of all that you’ve shared, what is bothering you the most?
3. Directive inquiry
Open-ended inquiry is followed by more direct questioning to gather complete details and clarify what you have heard. In homeopathy this is sometimes referred to as “active” casetaking. If the client has shared a lot and you would like to clarify their chief complaints or main concerns, you can open this part of the casetaking with, “What is bothering you the most right now?” It is acceptable towards the end of this process to ask more pointed, leading, or even “yes/no” questions if this is necessary for you to disambiguate between remedies.
- Tell me more about X
- Can you give me some examples of X?
- How does this affect you?
- When did this begin, or what was happening for you at that time?
If there is time, you can also ask personality or “type” questions to better understand the person’s constitutional or dominant lifelong patterns. Typically, you want to prescribe based on the presenting symptoms, which may or may not overlap with their deeper constitutional “type.” Over time, as an acute state begins to resolve, you will likely be able to focus more clearly on the deeper aspects of the personality.
- Tell me about yourself as a child.
- How would people describe you?
- What do you think are your strengths?
- What are your biggest triggers/stressors?
- How do you respond when you're under stress?
4. Mirroring, shared awareness
While not essential, this part of the interview is important. When the client has finished sharing their complaints, you mirror back to them the key highlights of what they have shared. Then you ask if you have heard them correctly and whether there is anything they would like to add or clarify.
- What I hear you saying is…
- Is that correct?
- Is there anything you’d like to add?
This step allows you to ensure that you have understood them clearly, without your own emotional or cognitive filtering. It allows the client to feel heard and also to view their experience as in a mirror with detachment, as a witness. This helps to integrate any energetic and emotional shifts with a newfound cognitive awareness, bringing these levels into alignment. This alignment is an important part of the healing process and ensures more lasting change.
Finally, it is important that the mirroring process be done gently and with compassion. Where possible, use the client’s words or at least neutral, non-judgmental language of your own. For example, “What I heard you say is that you feel you have been irritable towards your father, that he is doing things that grate on your nerves, and that this has been hard for you,” rather than saying “I’m seeing that you’re a hypercritical person and you are being quite harsh towards your father.”
5. Remedy education
While some argue that there may be benefits to blinding remedies in homeopathy, in Bach flower therapy this is not encouraged. Knowing what they are taking and why allows the client to be an active participant in the healing process and encourages self-reflection.
If you are an experienced practitioner and you are able to prescribe while your client is still with you, you can do remedy education in person at the end of the appointment. If you need time to study the case, this step and the next one can be done via email afterward as well.
When explaining the remedies, focus on the positive. Rather than saying, “This remedy is good for people who are hypercritical” or “It will help you with your intolerance,” say, “This remedy helps to cultivate tolerance and acceptance, and to foster more harmonious relationships with those around you.” In this way, you are also helping the person visualize the desired outcome.
This is also where you can include an explanation of how to take the remedies and what to expect.
- Here are the remedies I’m recommending and what they are for.
- Here’s how to take your remedies.
- Here’s what you can expect.
- [For clients already familiar with the homeopathic process] Here is how this process differs from homeopathy...
6. (Optional) Homework
This is another way to support and anchor the energetic healing from the remedies. It will promote the integration into the personality of any energetic shifts from the remedies.
Homework should always be adapted to the situation, needs, and temperament of the client. It can include journaling, daily affirmations, visualization, or strengthening actions such as yoga, earthing, cooking, taking a vacation, or whatever is most appropriate in that circumstance.
In acute/emergency care (for example, trauma or extremely stressful situations), you may choose to check in with your client at short intervals and revise the prescription as needed. This can be done in the form of brief check-ins but may be expanded into a more detailed follow up when appropriate.
In the case of chronic or long-term prescribing, follow ups are typically scheduled every three weeks. Keep in mind that a 1 oz. remedy bottle contains 600-700 drops, or 150+ doses, which at the standard dosage should last ~4-5 weeks. For more frequent use and external application, a bottle could be used up in as little as a week.
Follow ups are essentially similar to those in homeopathy. When you are getting started, block off at least 45 minutes for these appointments. With time, you will have a better sense for how much time you need. The following is a basic structure for managing follow ups.
First of all, it is important to check whether the remedies were taken as recommended and for how long. This will give you a sense for the client’s engagement with the process, whether there were any obstacles, and how quickly they respond to the remedies. Sometimes you will learn that the person has stopped taking the remedies after a time. This could be an indication that some or all of the remedies in a mix are no longer needed. In this case, treatment is either complete for the time being or the client is ready for a new mix.
Next, you will want to ask how the client is doing now. Then you will want to hone in more directly on the original complaints and anything else that has emerged. Ask in a few different ways, for example:
- How are you doing now?
- Is there anything else you’ve been noticing?
- Is there anything else that has been bothering you?
- Is there anything else that has had your attention?
- Have there been any changes in your life circumstances since we last spoke?
As always, let them speak freely at first and ask any necessary clarifying questions afterward to help you identify the appropriate remedies.
It is important in this process to specifically assess any improvement. Revisit how the client was feeling last time and compare this against how they are feeling now. If needed, ask explicitly whether they are feeling better or worse, and how. You could also ask them to quantify any improvement as a percentage or on a scale of 1 to 10.
As always, it is a good practice at the end to mirror what you have heard and ask the client to add, correct, or clarify the information until they feel heard.
Finally, share your remedy selections, including the positive state of each remedy. This is the part of the session where you can further educate the client about the Bach flower healing approach as well.
Optionally, suggest homework. If you assigned homework previously, ask the client for feedback to determine whether it is helpful to continue and/or to change the recommendation.