There is a common goal and motivation for anyone wanting to be a homeopath. I think that is to help others. This comes from a deeper sense that we having something to share with another to help them in their sufferings.
If we look deeper into this there are feelings and processes that happen to each of us as we work with another human being or animal. Hahnemann made it clear that we are to be unprejudiced observers. We are to avoid transcendental speculations and be true observers of the human condition before us.
This leads to common emotions that happen for most living beings which include compassion, sympathy and empathy. Lets look closer at each of these and see how they effect our abilities at being a homeopath.
Compassion, according to Websters New World Dictionary means sympathy, to feel pity. com=together + pati=to suffer. We come together to suffer. Sorrow for the sufferings or troubles of another with the urge to help. Deep sympathy.
Sympathy means, syn=together + pathos=feeling. Sameness of feeling. Affinity between persons or of one person or another. Actions arising from this. Agreement in qualities, harmony or accord. A mutual liking or understanding arising from sameness of feeling. The entering into or ability to enter into another persons mental state or feeling, emotions, esp. pity or compassion for another troubles or suffering.
Empathy means en=in + pathos= feeling. The projection of ones own personality into the personality of another in order to understand him better. Intellectual identification of oneself with another and the projection of ones own personality into an object, with the attribution to the object of owns own emotions, responses, etc. This is also called pathetic fallacy.
All of us have felt one of these emotions, in regards to a client, at one time or another. We tend to hear the stories of the most grotesque of sufferings. It is easy to feel for another’s pain. But it is a pitfall to go into an emotional response when sitting before our client. The last thing that our client needs is for the practitioner to be joining them in their tears.
When we are feeling another’s pain we are simply relating some previous emotional pain we have felt ourselves and letting the emotion come forth. The clients story has triggered our own story. When this is happening we are not present for the case.
Most people when they are asking for help, especially from a professional, are wanting understanding and not pity. Pity only keeps a person in the feeling of hurt. Joining them may add a level of comfort (misery loves company) but we are there to help a person move out of their suffering and not become more of it.
So sympathy, pity and compassion are not what is best for the client. Remaining clear and objective with our client is to be that unprejudiced observer. Having empathy and free from an emotional response allows us to stay present with our client and understand them better. It is important to notice when feelings arise in ourselves. The feeling part of our experience is usually equivalent to our own pain. If we stay with these emotions we might as well be receiving our own case.
This does not mean that we become uncaring. This is quite the opposite of uncaring. We actually care very much and are able to meet the client in a healthier state. Our clarity will enable us to offer kind words without the emotional response. This will let the client know that we understand them. We will understand them better. Treating them like an object would result in pathetic fallacy.
Our job is to remain clear and not follow the emotional feelings that may arise in a case. If we embrace empathy we will be better homeopaths and be much more successful in understanding our clients and prescribing for the case.