“Doctor, in Homeopathic treatment, you need to understand the individual completely, so as to treat him holistically. But how can a child express himself so deeply when he can barely talk?” is the most common query we face when we tell parents that the child has to speak for himself during the first case consultation. Naturally as parents, we often wonder how our child would be able to put across his true self in front of the homoeopathic physician, especially when we as adults falter. Would the doctor understand his infinite thoughts and imaginations through his limited vocabulary?
On the contrary, children can express themselves most honestly, as they are much more in tune with their pure and innocent beings. Anything and everything they say and do, comes straight from their innocent hearts, unsuspectingly, without any thought about its implications or being judged; explicitly expressing what their being truly desires. Their every word, every action pouring out their deeper essence without the slightest attempt to cover up or to consider! So during the consultation we give them ample space and time to convey whatever they want to – their fears, their dreams, their likes, dislikes, their favourite games etc. And that too through any means which they consider appropriate! A child may verbalize his fears through drawings; another may narrate stories where he identifies with the central character, whereas some other may describe his central state through his games, and so on…
We as physicians get a definite period to be with your child where we get a glimpse of this boundless energy; however as parents you have a greater opportunity to observe them, in every situation and in their every mood. Parents’ observations about their children provide us the missing link between his sub-conscious and conscious spheres,his inner animated and outer silent being, as parents are privy to both. They can give us the key to unlock their children’s inner beings, if they are able to describe their observations entirely and impartially, without any interpretations, and add on an important component in this child – centric Case-Witnessing Process. It is especially the case when the children are too young to speak, the pre-verbal children or when the children cannot speak due to some abnormality, the non- verbal children.
So when you get your child for the new case consultation, you can describe your observations on these lines –
- What does your child do throughout the day? What is it that he really enjoys doing and keeps him completely engrossed?
- Can you describe his temperament, or behaviour?
- How is he when he is with other children?
- What angers or irritates him? How does he react when he is angry or irritable? Anything which calms him at that moment?
- What changes do you see in him in different situations? Anything which you have noted about him which is different at home and outside?
- What fears have you observed in him? Whatever real or abstract fears you have perceived...
- What does he do when he is alone in his space?
- What is his favourite pastime?
Any play activity in which the child involves himself repeatedly?
Any particular theme which they have noticed in his play? Or
Does he enact any role frequently?’
- Any specific toy he or she is particularly fond of or attached with?
What does he do when playing with that toy?
How does he handle his toys?
Are they open to sharing or are they possessive about their toys?
How do they react when they are not able to find their toys or when someone takes the toy away from them?
- Whether their child has any particular affinity for art and what does he or she draw?
- Which story or drama a child enjoys the most?
- Or any programme on the television which he is glued to?
- Any specific character in the books or on TV they identify with?
- Does he have the habit of making up stories? Any particular idea which seems to recur in his stories?
- Or any story or cartoon which he doesn’t like or is scared to watch?
- Does he have any distinct mannerism or does he gesticulate through any recurrent hand or body movement at home?
Apart from this, we also enquire about the child with respect to his local complaint – the location; the factors which increase or decrease his complaint; and the associated symptoms alongwith it. We believe that even a physical illness reflects the deeper essence of an individual, for e.g., many children suffer from recurrent tonsillitis, but the symptoms produced in each child vary, and this individualistic picture gives us the clues to his or her remedy. So we need to know –
- What physical, mental and emotional changes occur in your child when he is not well – any out of place symptoms which come up, any change in his appetite, thirst, any food cravings or aversions alongwith this illness, any changes in his excretory functions, any body temperature differences, whether he is subjectively feeling hot or cold, any changes in his perspiration pattern etc.
- What changes happen in his mood and behaviour during the illness? For e.g., some children become very quiet during fever and simply lie down, whereas some may become hyperactive and playful during fever – these symptoms help us to differentiate between two Homeopathic remedies which act on fever.
Additionally we also probe into the child’s developmental milestone history, the type of delivery, history of past and recent diseases with regards the onset, duration and progress of each disease, the intensity and frequency of the illnesses; or any surgeries the child has underwent, which further tells us about the child’s energy pattern and its tendency towards particular diseases and intensity, so that a Homeopathic medicine of similar depth can be given accordingly.
Another important facet which provides us clues is what we call the ‘Mother’s history during Pregnancy’, which in simpler language means the changes or experiences the mother-to-be went through during her pregnancy, in all aspects – physically, mentally, emotionally. We believe that the growing child’s energy creates a temporary impression on the mother and speaks through her. In fact, a mother experiences different changes during the course of each pregnancy, which we know forms the individualistic picture of each child. So all those change which occur in the mother tell us about the child’s innate, holistic state. And yes, if she had noted anything out of the regular, anything which is not a part of her normal self around conception and after delivery for one month, helps us too. The following questions can be answered –
- Whether you had noted any changes in your mood, thought patterns? Or any behavioural changes you or the people around you perceived?
- Do you recall any fears or phobias that increased during pregnancy?
- Did any changes happen in your interests and hobbies? Whether any new ones cropped up during that period of time?
- Which dreams did you see? Any dream that you remember vividly? Anything which left a mark on you at that time? Try to recollect the feelings associated with the dreams...
- Did you mark any changes in your physical generals – your appetite, thirst, excretory functions, perspiration patterns, hot/ cold preferences etc?
Any food or drink likes and dislikes which developed during pregnancy are extremely important as they acquaint us with the child’s innate desires and aversions.
- Any bodily sensation or experience which surfaced unexplained?
- Did any physiological or pathological changes take place which are generally not associated with pregnancy? Like one mother had said that she suffered from severe hyperpigmentation all over the body almost like a thick layer of something covered her, or another used to get rashes all over the body if she sweated even a bit!
- Any change or unusual thing happened during the conception period? Any random thought, emotion or dream which you remember from that time?
- Any intensification of your own pattern – any increase in your own fears, cravings, dreams, thermals, emotions, mental state during pregnancy? Any intensification at the holistic level?
- Similarly, any out of place, strange or peculiar symptom which surfaced during childbirth or the ensuing lactational period?
To sum up, all these observations and experiences are invaluable inputs which further our journey in to the child’s unconscious world.
Seems a lot to recall, doesn’t it?!
But each and every of the characteristic attributes, alongwith what the child expresses and our observations about him, taken together give us the entire portrait of your child’s individualistic, holistic state, helping us to help him or her better.
So, we wish you best as parent to tickle your brain a bit, and help us understand your child holistically when you visit us the next time.
Compiled by Dr. Sayali Mehta-Butala