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This letter is reprinted with the permission from the Autumn 2009 Edition of The Homeopath.
The Society of Homeopaths
From Grant Bentley, Victorian College of Classical Homoeopathy, Melbourne, Australia.
I am writing to complain about the way in which the trilogy of books on Homoeopathic Facial Analysis was reviewed, in particular, Soul & Survival, reviewed by Francis Treuherz. Nowhere in his extremely short two-paragraph review is there any attempt on behalf of the reviewer to understand the topic. In fact the object of the review seems to be centred on displaying the droll, laconic and composed nature of the critic, rather than on any inquisitive homeopathic attempt to understand the research and interpretation of another practitioner.
The three books were sent to The Homeopath after a request was made to undertake a review. I was hesitant because I find that practitioners who are not prepared to try the method will often criticise aspects because of preconceived ideas about miasms. Those who are open minded enough to test the method are suitably impressed. The books requested were accompanied by a covering letter explaining the clinical significance of this method. Each of the three books builds on the knowledge gained by reading the book previous to it. It was inappropriate for one reviewer to look at two books and another at the third. Unless one is familiar with the Homoeopathic Facial Analysis (HFA) principles, the concepts of miasms in Soul & Survival will be less clinically significant.
The HFA method is based on ten years of clinical research which incorporate traditional homeopathic concepts: single remedy, totality of symptoms, provings, repertorisation and miasmatic theory as proposed by Hahnemann. The only deviation or addition is the inclusion of facial structure to determine the dominant miasm. The method is clinically successful and can be reproduced regardless of how many years' experience the practitioner has.
The method is new and deserves to be reviewed by a practitioner who is prepared to test it in a clinical situation. The third book, Soul & Survival, is written for both patients and practitioners. The universal homeopathic concepts that this book describes, have been explained using analogies and stories. Soul & Survival is an extrapolation on the themes and colour groups already extensively discussed in the two previous books. It is my attempt to explain miasms and vital force through the concept of a survival instinct. The book uses fiction, analogy and metaphor to explain what I believe are the origins of the past memories that reside in us all. These memories resurface during stress and exhibit themselves as instinctive behavior. Both the conclusions and the analogies used are completely original; there is no need to reference one's own work.
Our college frequently receives e-mails from homoeopathic practitioners from all over the world. These e-mails come from homoeopathic doctors and lay practitioners alike, asking questions to further their knowledge of HFA. Many are using the HFA system and sing its praises and clinical success. Soul & Survival has also been well received by patients who wanted to understand the link between their facial analysis and their survival instinct (miasm) in non-homoeopathic language. Unfortunately some future practitioners in Britain may be turned off the BFA system due to the shortsighted review in The Homoeopath and this is a terrible disservice to patients and practitioners alike.
Publicly ridiculing what isn't understood prevents other practitioners from acquiring knowledge potentially beneficial to suffering patients. Francis himself writes 'I doubt that I have succeeded in appreciating the book' and yet feels quite comfortable passing negative judgment.
The premise of Soul & Survival is simple. Inside us are two competing forces, one I refer to as our soul. Our soul is our conscious memory and I call it the soul because I believe it transcends death. The soul is the 'I' that remains constant throughout time ever-learning and everlasting. The second force is our survival instinct. This is a program given by nature for the purpose of physical longevity. These two distinctly separate forces are what Hahnemann makes mention of in 19. This is why I called the book Soul & Survival. Colour groups (non--- disease labels for miasms) pertain only to our survival instinct; they do not influence our soul directly. The reason I need to point this out is because the reviewer, who makes only scant reference to the content of the book and always in a tone of incredulous mockery, manages to get this fundamental principle of the book completely wrong, despite the fact that in his own words I describe it in 'laborious detail'.
The colour groups do not 'relate to the survival of the soul' as Francis incorrectly points out, and such a fundamental mistake makes me wonder if he has read the book at all, but has instead done a skip read pulling bits out of the book for comment but not 'appreciating' the content.
What I would like to know is, if the reviewers were having such difficulty making 'sense of it' like Francis claims, to the point where he doesn't feel he has 'appreciated' the content of Soul & Survival, why did he not - or any of the review panel for that matter - ask me for clarification? Instead of touting sarcasm and hubris and trying to publicly ridicule, why didn't any of these confused panellists bother to send me an email? They could have delayed the review if they were uncertain and publish their opinion in a later issue; this would have allowed them time to talk to an HFA practitioner to gain a real insight.
In the spirit of inquiry and homeopathy, I would suggest that in the future they try to be a bit more insightful and not accept 'I don't get it' as an answer. Certainly they need to be more respectful to their readers who if they are anything like me, get tired of sassy reviewers and editors trying to elevate themselves by taking cheap shots at fellow practitioners who have a valuable contribution to make.