Building a Successful Practice by Mike Bridger (CCH Principal)

This is a subject that is frequently talked about and of course is important to every college, as well as students and graduates.

28ae5ecThere are many seminars and workshops out there about building a successful practice these days  and I might as well ‘cut to the chase’ and say that many miss out the over-riding issue which decides whether someone succeeds in practice or not.  It is not the only issue but it is one that is frequently ignored or missed out. The main reason that someone succeeds in practice is that the practitioner has a clear idea of what they are doing and why they are doing it. I would also add another component too, which is their ability to explain these things to the patient. In order to explain things clearly to a patient the practitioner needs to be clear, concise and very confident about the basic principles of homeopathy. For this to happen then the college which trains and educates future practitioners needs to be clear about what they are teaching as well.

I have said many times that there is a lack of clarity and much confusion in the profession these days about what the homeopath is actually doing and treating. I remember an elderly lady who was a homeopath telling me that she wouldn’t let students sit in her clinic anymore because she was tired of them asking a patient with excruciating  piles what they dreamt about and yet paying little attention to details of the type of pain, physical modalities and so on.  This is poor homeopathy and will alienate patients from ever returning again. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that dreams are never important. I am saying use common sense and if you are asking these questions then explain to the patient why you are asking them. The important word here is ‘appropriopathy’ as much as ‘homeopathy ‘.

Our great weakness is our inability to be clear. Simply ask the average class to explain what homeopathy is and sit back and sigh. If we can’t explain clearly what it is then what hope do we have of marketing our practice, never mind explaining clearly what we mean by ‘energy’, ‘vital force’, ‘miasms’ and so on. Patients need to know what we are doing and what is happening to them under our treatment.  There can be an arrogance in not explaining this to people. There is still a myth circulating that it is best not to tell the patient what remedy you are giving them. This is really allopathic thinking and not much to do with homeopathy.

If you want a successful practice then rule number one is to go back to the basic principles that you studied in year one and make sure you really understand them. I assume you were taught them! You may have learnt them but understanding the implications of these principles so that theory can move to practice is a little harder. I cannot emphasise this enough.

Secondly, make sure you explain them sensibly. Practice on your own or with a friend. If someone is having an aggravation then please learn to say a little more than ‘hopefully it will get better’.

A tip worth mentioning: if when you are experimenting with your explanations you find yourself saying ‘hopefully’, ‘probably’ or ‘maybe’ then please stop and start again.

Once you sort the above matters out then you will find that your patients will get better. They will trust you and feel they are in safe hands. Of course things don’t always go the way you think they should but once you get what I am saying you will be able to explain to the patient what is happening and what you plan to do about it. By being clear and honest you will find you have more time to work out what is happening to the patient and therefore what you need to do to get them better.

Finally remember that a successful practitioner is not one who has lots of new patients every week but one who has lots of ‘follow ups’ with patients who are prepared to work through the process of homeopathic treatment and returning to learn and experience more of it. Sorry to revert back to basic philosophy but I have to say that of course this is difficult for a practitioner who has been falsely taught that homeopathy is about finding the ‘right remedy’, ‘the constitutional picture’, ‘the essence’, the sensation’, ‘ the layer’- the list of varying approaches is  endless, I am afraid to say.

I said ‘finally’ but of course if folks out there want more, I am happy to write it.  It would be good to have this as an ongoing conversation so whether you agree or disagree let us know your thoughts.

Best Wishes,
Mike.

14 thoughts on “Building a Successful Practice by Mike Bridger (CCH Principal)

  1. gill sugrue

    What I liked about your blog is to find my second homeopath this year who generously demystifies the fluff around being in practice and trying to drum one up!! This is me at the moment and have two books here which have had on a ten year back burner to build some blocks..1. Elizabeth Wright – A Brief Study Course in Homeopathy” 2. The other in my underused office think Edward..? went on to build alternative things..anyway its a practise papers chapter by chapter.. I will go back to basics.. be me.. be honest..be self-informed and use homeopathy to work as a living.. its time!! Gill

    Reply
  2. Gillian Wray

    As usual, a most sensible and practical way of dealing with how we practice. How ever i still have not managed to get patients to keep coming for follow ups when they are better. thats where a steady flow of new patients is very useful.
    Mike is always full of sense no bull!!

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  3. Amanda Bate

    Love the blog Mike! You always make me laugh, as I can hear your voice as I read it! Good reminders! My patients have said in the past that they like my no nonsense approach, though one did say I can be a little abrupt! So working on that one! Only yesterday I did hear myself say “hopefully”. After the patient had gone I wondered about it and acknowledged that I have not a clue really with this particular patient! Our energy is so important; if we dither, what effect does that have on the patient? No wonder people “trust” their GP, the GP does not dither, and so they believe what is said. Obviously we don’t want to lie or give false hope, but as you say, sort ourselves out in the way we come across, be clear about the message we want to give and practice explanations/answers to commonly asked questions. I also loved the reminder of back to basics… my dear friend Joan who I trained with, used to say to me when we were struggling with a case…KISS..keep it simple stupid! I have her photo up on the wall behind the patient so that when I am stuck I look at her and remember, ” keep it simple stupid!” Yesterday, I clearly did not not look at her! Keep on giving us reminders to use our common sense!

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  4. Mira Beattie

    Thank you Mike! This is SO true. We should spread this simple but
    powerful wisdom. I realised early in my practice that often I did not
    know exactly why I prescribed the remedy. This meant I could not
    explain clearly to the patent why I was giving them the remedy. It
    also meant that I didn’t understand their reactions after taking the
    remedy. Was the patient any better? Did they have an aggravation? Did
    they have an ‘elimination’ or did nothing change? I decided to make
    sure I understood why I gave the remedy in the first place so I could
    explain the reasons to the patient and then analyse at the follow- up
    what had happened and make sure the patient understood the process of
    treatment. The answers to most difficulties are to be found in The
    Organon or Kent’s lectures on homeopathic philosophy. The most
    important thing is to make sure the patient leaves reassured and
    confident that their treatment is going well. Now I see that 75% of my
    patients return to the follow- ups. The more I understand the more
    they come back. Keep learning folks and keep going back to the basics.

    Reply
  5. Jeffry Tchong

    Thank you, Mike,
    For sharing your very interesting view. Indeed, there are many misconceptions. We have to struggle to find the truth and ignore what’s false. Many people lead us to believe that we can prescribe on the character of the patient. While Hahnemann does not say this anywhere, he says we have to perceive what has to be cured, i.e. what is the main disturbance and how does it manifest. Luckily through reading between some lines I found out that the personality picture is not the issue. Read Bailey and Lalor and it’s clear that for example a Nat-m. case, which is described as very closed and reserved, can actually present with ANY personality: introvert, extrovert, humble, domineering, etc. I’d love to read more about your views! Thanks again.

    Reply
  6. Chris Brownlow

    Thanks Mike, all common sense. I always explain why I give what I am giving, and do have successes (not always), but my problem would be getting more clients in the first place. Also when people get over the initial issue, so don’t have many follow ups.

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  7. The College Of Homeopathy Post author

    Well this is so interesting! The problem with blogs is that I want to talk to everyone individually and ask them more about what they are saying. One issue that strikes me is that some folk are getting people better and then they don’t return. This should create a ‘ground swell’ for your practice so why isn’t it? Many possible answers to that question. A big generalisation I know, but I will say it anyway. Whatever approach we have been trained in -Practical; Classical; Clinical; Pre-Raphaelite; Surrealist- the list of approaches is endless (and part of the confusion that now pervades the profession) there is still an underlying misconception that we are looking for the ‘right’ remedy. This is almost a sub-conscious thing that some homeopaths aren’t even aware of. If we regard our treatment as looking for ‘The Magic Bullet’ then we ignore the process. If we ignore the process then we ignore the importance of follow- ups. Can we then be surprised if patients don’t come back? This is only one issue that I think effects the success or not of your practice but it is a major one.
    If folk would be interested I would be happy to organise a day of discussion and shared ideas. Happy to hold it here in Clevedon. I can’t say it would be free because I would want to share the costs of coffee and biscuits (no I don’t believe coffee antidotes the remedies!) If anyone is so poor because their practice is failing miserably they can be exempt even from this expense. If interested let me know.

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  8. Alan Freestone

    Great advice as always Mike.

    I also loved your article from a few years ago, ‘Fools Gold’.
    I’m in total agreement with you & your no bullsh*t school of homeopathy.

    I’m not sure if you are a Facebooker (!), but we have a ‘Homeopathic Practice Building’ group there with over 900 members now…I’d love it if you came over & became an active member, or did a guest post, or just promoted your new blog posts there. We also have a Webinar about once-a-month, it would be fab if you be a guest on the webinar, or even host an episode yourself?

    Here’s a link to the FB group: goo.gl/veH2I9
    Here’s the 1st Practice Building webinar: https://goo.gl/Ab0NZw

    Alan

    Reply
  9. David Needleman

    Thanks Mike, clear and professional as ever. For me the most important aspects of building a practice are clarity and success. Nothing builds a practice better than curing people. Be clear as to what you are trying to do and in explaining it, plus know your subject. I was once told by a patient why he came to me, it was because I never used books and always prescribed at the consultation, his reasoning was that in his country, if you use books then you don’t know your subject.
    As he got better so he introduced many more patients.
    David

    Reply
  10. Dr. Nikunj Trivedi

    Dear Mike,
    Appreciate your great thoughts. I am in agreement of what you wrote–Being a successful practitioner, not only more follow ups but your patients stay with you from the day you started your practice with tremendous faith in you, in your treatment and in Homeopathy is absolutely necessary. That’s the definition of successful Homeopath.

    Reply
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  12. Andrea

    I’m a bit late joining this blog, only just found it. I love your straightforward way of explaining things Mike. Finally someone who isn’t confusing. I love homeopathy but I’m just getting more and more confused and overwhelmed. Your article was a good wake up call to get back to the basics and keep it simple! I’d love to attend your talks in the future.

    Reply

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