This is a general outline of the typical areas of enquiry in a homeopathic consultation and is intended to help you focus on your symptoms in a way that lets the homeopath see what remedy is likely to be the closest match for all your symptoms.
In relation to the problems for which you're seeking treatment, the homeopath will want to know the sort of things you might expect any medical practitioner to ask about, such as what your symptoms are, where they occur, what conventional diagnosis you might have been given and any treatment you've already had. But they will be less interested in the common symptoms of your complaint, the ones that most people with the same diagnosis share, than in the symptoms or qualities of symptoms which make your complaint uniquely yours. Sometimes what helps most of all is to try and describe the symptoms as you might if you wanted someone who has absolutely no idea what it's like to have your symptoms to understand exactly what they feel like to you. The experience of the symptoms is what's important. This may not be easy if you've never really thought about describing your problem in this way before, but the more information you can provide like this, the easier it will be to find the remedy that matches your complaint. There's no right or wrong here, just the way the symptoms are; so if pains are vague and wander about that's as valuable as being able to pinpoint a pain and sensation with total precision. It also helps to know:
- What other symptoms occur at the same time, whether physical or mental/emotional?
- What appeared to be the cause of the problem, or if no obvious cause, was there anything notable that happened in your life at the same time or immediately before the symptoms first occurred?
- What changes the symptoms in any way? Anything that seems to make them better or worse (eg. position and movement, temperature, foods, feelings, etc).
- When do the symptoms appear? Times of day/night/month/year when they appear or get worse, or any times when they disappear or get better.
- Whether the complaint has evolved over time, or whether there's a cyclic pattern to it.
Other information will also be required. The patterns underlying various complaints can be consistent over time, even if the actual symptoms themselves change focus or move from one body system to another.
A brief summary of your medical history to date. Illnesses, operations, accidents, allergies. Any current medications. Immunisation history and reactions, if any.
Your family's medical history. Patterns of complaints often run in families. Do or did any family members have similar complaints? Are there any serious conditions in your immediate family? If so, what?
A check through all your body systems helps establish general patterns. Do a mental top-to-toe check with the help of the following to make sure you haven't missed anything of a more general nature which may be relevant to the picture of you as a whole.
Head and senses: Tendencies to recurrent headaches; their patterns, characteristics, causations, etc. Visual or auditory problems. Symptoms of smell or taste accompanying complaint.
Respiratory system: Tendencies to coughs, colds, ENT problems, respiratory congestion or difficulties, etc.
Digestive system: General appetite levels, food preferences, dislikes, cravings and intolerances. Thirst levels. Problems in mouth/teeth. Taste sensations. Digestive weaknesses or tendencies to gastro-intestinal upsets, heartburn, gallbladder complaints, diarrhoea or constipation.
Urinogenital system: Any symptoms of note. History of inflammatory conditions and/or STDs. For women, duration, frequency and characteristics of monthly cycle and any associated problems. History of pregnancies and births if relevant.
Circulatory system: Heart or circulatory problems. Blood pressure abnormalities. Tendencies to fainting and dizziness.
Musculo-skeletal system: Any symptoms of note. Weaknesses, inflammatory conditions (rheumatoid, arthritic), stiffness, contractive or cramping tendencies, nerve-related problems, etc.
Nervous and endocrine systems: Any specific problems related to nerve pathways or glandular complaints. Neurological conditions, seizures, etc. Numbness, pins-and-needles. Hormonal imbalances.
Temperature: General temperature (hot/cold), hands, feet. Perspiration: amount, location, characteristics, odour, etc. Sensitivity to season/weather changes, etc.
Skin: Tendencies to dryness, cracking, thickening, ulceration, eruptions of any description, easy bruising, discolourations, irritations and sensitivities, etc.
Sleep: Quality and duration. Times of waking. Position (back, front, curled up, changeable, etc). Dreams and/or nightmares, particularly repetitive ones. Mood on waking.
General comfort: What makes you generally feel better or worse? eg. do you feel better for fresh air and exercise or warmth and rest? Are these things the same or different to what makes the specific symptoms of your complaint better or worse?
Energy levels: How would you describe your general energy levels? Do they fluctuate and is there a cyclic pattern to it?
- Poor. Generally lacking in energy. Easily exhausted. Take a long time to recover from any stressful activity or illness.
- Moderate. Mostly good but easily tired, little stamina. Need a recuperation period to recover from stress or illness.
- Good. Generally lively. Appropriately tired after activity, but recover quickly and easily. Recover speedily from illness.
- Excessive. Hyper-active. Never seem to stop. Difficulties relaxing/sleeping.
Mental / Emotional Issues
Is there a connection between your symptoms and the way you feel? If it's not the main reason you're seeking treatment in the first place, is there a mental/emotional dimension to your complaint (eg. confusion, lack of focus, difficulties functioning in any way, mood swings, etc)? How does stress affect you? What concerns and worries you? Do you have any particular fears? How would you describe yourself? How would your friends describe you? What makes you angry and upset or otherwise pushes your buttons? What inspires you? What are the most important things to you in life? What do you feel limits you and stops you achieving the things you would most like to do? What are your favourite activities?
What changes in your life have occured as a result of your complaint? What does it stop you from doing, or is likely to stop you from doing if it progresses further? What bothers you most about your complaint?
Goals for Treatment
What would you like homeopathic treatment to help you achieve? Which of all your symptoms would you most like to improve? What do you perceive as realistic goals for treatment?