A grounded theory study of homeopathic practitioners’
perceptions and experiences of the homeopathic
University of Southampton, School of Medicine,
The apparent success of homeopathy is often attributed to a collaborative, holistic and
empathic consultation and to the practitioner patient relationship. However most research
into the homeopathic consultation has focussed on patients’ experiences although the
practitioner is a crucial component of the therapeutic context and may have an important part
to play in optimising health outcomes in homeopathy. Therefore the aim of this research
was to gain an in depth understanding of homeopathic practitioners’ perceptions and
experiences of the consultation. An additional aim was to generate a theoretical model to
explain the processes that underpin the homeopathic consultation.
A qualitative approach was taken using constructivist grounded theory methodology
employing a process of two phases of data collection. Medical and non medical homeopaths
were sampled from the registers of the Faculty of Homeopathy and the Society of
Homeopaths. Phase 1 involved face to face in-depth interviews with homeopaths. From
these interviews a theoretical model of the homeopathic consultation was developed. Phase 2
of data collection involved observations of homeopathic consultations and the use of
solicited practitioner reflective diaries in order to confirm, refute or enlarge on the model
which developed from phase 1.
The emergent theoretical model entitled “a theoretical model of a UK classical
homeopathic consultation” describes how homeopaths view and enact the consultation
process. The findings indicate that the consultation consists of processes which are
interlinked and dependent on each other. I have labelled these processes exploring the
journey together, finding the level, responding therapeutically and understanding self.
Central to these processes is the core category which I have labelled connecting.
This study has highlighted that the whole process of the homeopathic consultation is
important and aspects that are unique to homeopathy such as the process of identifying and
matching the homeopathic remedy cannot be separated from the rest of the consultation and
must be considered as part of the whole process. Additionally the ritualistic and symbolic
aspects of the consultation that are embedded in this process are of paramount importance
and provide meaning, highlighting the power of the consultation to promote beneficial
effects for the patient. This research has implications for all stakeholders and signals many
future avenues for research.
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