LEARNINGS FROM HOSTING ICR EDUCATIONAL METHODOLOGY ON THE WEB: WEBINAR SERIES ON MENTAL ILLNESS BY EDUCATIONAL ENLIGHTENMENT
Dr. Latha Devrajan, MD (Hom)
Academic Coordinator, Dr. M. L. Dhawale Memorial Homoeopathic Institute, Bengaluru
Essence of the ICR Educational Methodology
I have been associated with the ICR since 26 years in various capacities; it was a privilege to be a part of introducing Educational Methodology in Bengaluru since our Branch was established in 2003. I have understood the ICR methodology as being centered on the following aspects:
- Training of observer
- Training in document analysis
- Training in case receiving, analysis and synthesis and, finally
- Training in case management through remedial and non-remedial measures.
The focus had always been to help the evolution of the unprejudiced observer within and without who would ultimately perform the task of ‘Physician, Heal Thyself’!
The academic stages of this challenging journey started with discussion in the clinical set up with the observer-physician- patient triad that allowed the first layer of one’s sensitivities, sensibilities, and blocks to unfold so that the case is clearly appreciated in its totality. Bengaluru has evolved to a study group along these lines and we have moved from discussions in smaller groups to presenting in large groups in symposia where sharing occurs on a larger platform, the fast whirling dynamics imparting a unique momentum to the learning process.
ICR Educational Methodology on the Webinar
Moving from a two-way highly interactive medium of learning to one with limited interactivity as in the webinar raises the question: Is it really possible to put ICR Educational Methodology into practice in a webinar? What are the techniques, possibilities, and limitations? The webinar series hosted by Educational Enlightenment gave me an excellent opportunity to examine this interesting aspect. The task became doubly interesting due to the topic of Mental Health selected for the series and members of the Psychiatry and MM Departments of RRH, Palghar who were to be the speakers. At the unearthly hour of 10 pm, it was an opportunity to dream in a waking state! Or was it the other way around? Let me present my experience which will enable you to judge what it was in actuality!
Need for Webinar on Mental illness and Homoeopathy
In a survey carried out in 59 countries, over 20 percent of people suffer from some mental illness over a 12-month period. Anxiety disorder is seen in 33% of the population throughout their lives. Depression alone accounts for 4.3% of the global burden of disease and is among the most significant causes of disability worldwide, particularly for women. Young adults aged 18-25 years had the highest prevalence of any mental illness (22.1%) compared to adults. These shocking facts were enough for a Homoeopath like to me to sit up with alarm and interest to learn if I as a Homoeopath would be able to intervene to make things better for the suffering humanity.
Webinar series on Mental Illness
The webinar series covered important clinical conditions like anxiety, depression, substance use disorder including alcohol abuse, acute mental illness, and somatic expressions of psychological disorders. As Homoeopaths, we are neither taught psychiatry nor does the minimum exposure in our clinic allow us to understand various tenets of management and to reach the masses. The webinar sensitized us to the prevalence of mental disorders and how a Homoeopath is better equipped to manage these conditions as he has a holistic view of health and disease and the SCR methodology allows us to integrate bio psychosocial model to understand multifactorial cause of illness and integrate this in processing and managing the case. The webinar that reached 59 countries worldwide gave us confidence that it is possible to for us to make Homoeopathy the first line of treatment in mental health.
The First two modules on understanding mental health, anxiety, in particular, gave insights into how the evolution of the mammalian brain affords clues to the understanding of anxiety sensitivity and role of causation in precipitating anxiety. Dr. Kumar Dhawale sir highlighted the skills of case receiving and how our master Dr Hahnemann was the first to identify and treat mental illness and has laid the guidelines. This was the framework for all subsequent modules and a complete eye-opener. The audiovisual aids allowed cases to come alive. The highlight was the IPD managed case with a team of Homoeopathic Psychiatrist, Clinical Psychologist, Behavioral therapist, and supporting staff of the at the ANUKAMPA ward in Palghar hospital. I must add a note of caution that it is important to relisten the recordings as the listener is likely to be drowned by the tsunami of learning that flowed.
Dr Bhavik Parekh presented the world of Materia Medica of Anxiety covering a different range of remedies viz. Aconite, Opium, understanding of Kali group and Kali brom in particular with d/d Calcarea, Cocculus, understanding Argentum met, Aurum met, and Rhus tox d/d Silicea, Carcinocin. The range of remedies gave an in-depth clarity as the speaker emphasized the genesis (evolution) and expressions of signs and symptoms as the basis to evolve portraits.
The third module by Dr Manoj Patel sir on acute mental illness gave value to observations of characteristics and concomitants. The cases were bought alive by the videos and the passion and sensitivity of the speaker inspired the doctors that miracles do happen if we follow the right processes and use the events in the patient’s life to understand attributes and expressions and thus build a holistic portrait to choose the right remedy. The patient Asha stirred our soul when she called Palghar her mother’s home.
The fourth and fifth modules focused on substance use disorders. We were thankful that we got introduced to the increasing prevalence of this menace in society, understood the effects of alcohol, hallucinogenic agents, opiates, barbiturates, and their long-term structural, physiological, cognitive, behavioral, and emotional effects. Homoeopathicity involves understanding the value of the written document and the core of problem by noting the form (expressions on the mind and body) and deriving the inner core conflict. The case of schizoid personality and marijuana addict with refined music in his core that was treated with Cannabis was truly in Dr. Manoj sir’s style as music was also used to heal therapeutically (the videos were very helpful to visualize the cure). The case highlighted the evolutionary study using the bio (genetic)- psychosocial model, and the movement from tamas (desires) and rajas (ambitions) to the sattvic state (purity of patient’s music with our remedy) was healing within and without to us listeners as well. The Homoeopathic approach was systematically outlined with good powerpoint presentations by sharing each substance addiction, its effects, withdrawal, and indicated remedies with characteristics. The learning was how to manage acute and follow up with deep acting constitutional force.
Dr Devadiga sir seems to have discovered the fountain of youth; he looked just the same as he used to when we were his students! He shared cases that focused on form and physical symptoms (ex- Phytolacca) to managing with rapport, counseling, round table conferences, amongst addicts and the concept of internal transformation with Homeopathy: A unique and novel way of healing
The 6th and 7th module covered Depression. Dr. Kumar sir shared his experiences with different clinical conditions associated with depression with meticulously made power point slides (the hard work that each of these sessions requires is visible in these painstakingly crafted presentations) and shared cases, especially from the adolescent age group, which highlighted the skills needed to receive the case, identify common and characteristics in depression, build totality, and identify remedial and non-remedial measures
The Homoeopathic therapeutics module by Dr. Bipin Jain sir was case-based and beautifully bought about a clear integrated understanding of MM portraits from genesis to evolution to expression while studying the individual in his environment and his coping and adaptation to stress in cases of depression. Extensive references to source books and commentaries (the study of Hyoscyamus was one such exemplary learning). Listening to sir who is an encyclopedia in himself explaining in a simple effective manner was a treat and we look forward to hearing him more often.
The last two modules were presented by our perfect and intensely committed Dr Sunita Nikumbh madam. She explained so clearly and systematically alcohol addiction – its stages and effects of withdrawal that it made us yearn more to hear her often. Her presentation was backed by brilliant video clippings of before and after treatment in seemingly grave cases with miraculous recoveries. She also explained the remedy differentiation and management for every case so effectively that it gave us confidence in our system; we look forward to apply this learning in our villages where our Community Health Services reach the needy. The last module on somatic expression of psychological disorders was another treasure house of cases that reinforced our integration in case receiving case processing and case management.
Conclusion and the way forward
What this webinar achieved for a novice in mental health and mental illness like me and our group was learning about so many different clinical conditions and their Homoeopathic management with clear-cut processes that seemed replicable. We can look forward to establishing an ANUKAMPA Ward in the MLDMHI, Bengaluru branch as well!
While we can safely conclude that ICR methodology can be taught very well through a webinar from the vast expanse of learning we got sitting in distant Bangalore (we were 25 members from MLDMHI Bangalore who logged in on every Friday), there are areas that need to be fixed, like the technical glitches that dampen the spirit of the learner, long duration of more than 2 hours, and that too at an odd time. More audiovisual presentations of Materia Medica topics and sharing of more such topics should increase our confidence and help scientific thinking to evolve.
While the traditional ICR methodology has its own objectives, the present webinar has too served the purpose of sensitizing us to mental health and mental illness and helping us crystallize our visions …to reach where no help reaches …………”On the road less travelled”