Why Bach Flower Therapy for Homeopaths?
As a homeopath, why should you be interested in Bach flower therapy? After all, isn't homeopathy a near-complete and comprehensive medicine? Isn't it the greatest medicine on the planet? Haven't you seen miracles happen over and over again?
Yes, you probably have.
And yet. The reality of homeopathic practice is hard. The knowledge base is extensive. The learning is endless. The challenges are many. The realities of life and practice in the 21st century are vastly different than in Hahnemann's time, or even just fifty years ago.
I hear practitioners say this all the time. They are wanting to fill the gaps, to be versatile, to have multiple options in their toolkit, and to individualize those options for their clients.
A tool like Bach flower therapy helps us do just that.
The reality is: Bach flower remedies are used by enthusiastic homeopaths worldwide. They are compatible with homeopathy, both philosophically and in practice. They are also easy to master and use. And they really work!
But there are even more reasons to learn Bach flower therapy. First of all, it is a chapter in the history of homeopathy, as you will discover in these pages. Second, the remedies can be found throughout our homeopathic literature and software databases. Even more importantly, they provide us greater insight into the plant kingdom and homeopathic plant taxonomies.
Now, the question is, how can Bach flower therapy fit into your practice? Every practice and every practitioner is different. There are many ways to integrate this modality into your work.
Some practitioners use Bach flower therapy as a separate, parallel offering—an alternative to homeopathy. They may offer this at a different price point and attract clients who are not ready to start homeopathy for various reasons.
As one student of the Bach Flower Therapy for Homeopaths Course says, "BFT is a gateway to homeopathy. It turns people into believers! After that, they become curious about homeopathy as well." Certainly, Bach flower therapy is an easy introduction to holistic, non-materialist healing methods and a pathway to further client education.
Other practitioners seamlessly integrate Bach flower therapy into their practice as an adjunct to homeopathy, either in parallel with homeopathic care or in special circumstances, to "fill the gaps" in treatment, so to speak.
Below you will find some ideas. Explore them and see what is right for you!
Bach flower therapy as an alternative modality
If you prefer to practice in a strict, classical way and not use adjuncts in your practice, below are some ideas for how you can use Bach flower therapy as an alternative to homeopathic care in special circumstances.
Practice for homeopathy students
If you are still a student, doing Bach flower therapy consultations offers you an opportunity to “rehearse” being a clinician before taking constitutional cases under supervision. Much simpler than homeopathic casetaking, Bach flower therapy consults can ease a student into the process, offering an opportunity to practice unprejudiced observation, deep listening, note-taking, establishing rapport with a client, understanding what needs to be healed, and managing the logistical and administrative aspects of practice.
Working with friends and family
It is a wise and widely advised best practice that we avoid taking on close friends and family as our clients—especially in cases requiring deep, constitutional care. Bach flower therapy is an excellent way for us to support friends and family requesting help, especially where there are mental-emotional components to their complaints.
Bach flower therapy does not typically involve the challenges that come up in constitutional care with friends and family. It does not require the lengthy, in-depth casetaking needed in homeopathy, nor does it present the same complexities in case management.
There is no need for careful monitoring of dosing, no concerns about antidoting, no restrictions on proximity to food and drink, no risk of auxiliary symptoms or proving, and typically no aggravations to manage.
All this of course means that there is less need for back-and-forth, which can sometimes be challenging when someone has a direct line to your private number! Plus, in most cases, they will come back reporting that the remedies helped them.
Supporting the caretakers
Anyone who works with children will tell you that providing reassurance to their parents can sometimes be the hardest part of managing a child’s case. An exhausted, frightened, and anxious mom, for example, can be a force to be reckoned with. She may need frequent reassurance, present you with multi-paged reports of her child’s symptoms to review, request “urgent” interventions, and more.
Or consider the mothers of disabled children, who experience hardships beyond what most of us can imagine. Certainly moms can have the hardest job in the family and tend to be the last ones to seek help. The Bach remedies can be an excellent support for them or for any other primary caretakers. They are also convenient because they do not necessarily require a separate, extensive casetaking.
There is another reason, however, to consider the caretakers, and the mothers in particular: the family system. We know that our clients’ stories and symptoms are unfolding within the whole context and circumstances of their family system. Each family member is contributing from their own level of health, creativity and freedom, and of course from their own dis-ease. In the case of young children especially, the mother may be contributing to the pattern of the child’s dis-ease. When the mother shifts and heals, the child can more easily shift and heal.
Community clinics and crisis response
Some homeopaths offer free or low-cost clinics to underserved members of their community such as senior citizens, the homeless, military veterans, and others. Others work in crisis response, for example during natural disasters. In these scenarios, where there may be many people in need and little time for casetaking, working with Bach flower remedies can make an efficient and effective contribution.
Palliative and hospice care
In cases of serious pathology, when a client’s vital force is low and we find it necessary to palliate symptoms, Bach flower remedies can be helpful. They can also be a gentle means of providing emotional comfort to the dying and their loved ones. In these situations, it is especially reassuring to know that the remedies can be repeated as often as needed without risk of aggravations or provings.
Bach flower therapy as an adjunct modality
If you are open to using adjuncts in your practice, here are some ideas for how Bach flower therapy can support your work.
No time for casetaking
We are sometimes contacted by clients experiencing crises and eager to be helped right away. When we cannot accommodate them in our schedule but we would like to offer them some relief in the meantime, Bach remedies can be an effective interim solution. Because they lend themselves to on-the-fly prescribing, we can make an immediate recommendation.
Buying time to work on a case
The remedies can be used in difficult cases when we feel we need extra time to work on the case before identifying a remedy. A Bach remedy suggestion can be made quickly to provide some immediate relief, thus buying time for you to work on your homeopathic recommendation.
Managing crises and aggravations
The Bach remedies can be used to provide mental-emotional relief in acute crises as well as in aggravations that we deem to be causing excessive suffering to our clients.
In the first case, we might consider them after shock, loss, and traumas in general. In the second, we might use them to bring down a heightened state of suffering or a crisis, to defuse an intense response, to ensure the safety of the client, and perhaps also to buy time before we re-evaluate the case. In the case of vulnerable, unstable, and even suicidal clients, this can be a valuable adjunct to appropriate medical care.
Sensitive clients or “provers”
Because they do not cause provings and only very rarely result in aggravations (typically from having stirred up suppressed emotions), Bach remedies can be a way to support sensitive clients and so-called “provers.”
I have known a few clients to be so concerned about having a “proving” or aggravation that they become fearful of taking homeopathic remedies. In these cases, Bach flower therapy can (1) provide a temporary—or permanent—alternative to homeopathy, and (2) help release any fear and build resiliency before resuming homeopathic care.
Giving a daily dose
Some clients feel a psychological need to take their remedies daily or frequently as needed, which we know in homeopathy is not always advisable. In those cases, Bach remedies can provide a good, and helpful, replacement for placebo.
Stuck cases and intercurrent remedies
The jury is still out on whether there is such a thing as a truly stuck case, or whether there are just stuck homeopaths. However, I will share that some homeopaths insist that Bach remedies can help to unblock a stuck case—one in which a well-indicated homeopathic remedy did not initially act, and then acted after the administration of the appropriate Bach remedies. In this understanding, the Bach remedies are being used as a form of intercurrent remedy.
I have not personally used the remedies in this way but I encourage anyone wishing to explore this to read Cornelia Richardson-Boedler’s book, Applying Bach Flower Therapy to the Healing Profession of Homeopathy (1997, 2002), to try it for themselves, and to share the results with us.