Roger is the author of the Complete Repertory and Repertorium Universale, published in several languages. He lectures and continues writing/developing for the benefit of homeopathy. His work is used by nearly all important homeopathic programs worldwide.
David Johnson Interviews Roger van Zandvoort
Thank you, Roger, for this interview with Facekom.
D: The first question is, how can one define the Repertory for both beginners and experienced practitioners?
R: Okay, the Repertory is an index to other homeopathic material: provings as well as “secondary” Materia Medica gleaned through contemporary and historical cases. A repertory is a kind of reversed Materia Medica: the Materia Medica lists remedies and their symptoms, while the Repertory lists symptoms (rubrics) and their associated remedies. So rubrics are essentially symptom categories followed by remedies for consideration.
D: How does the Repertory complement the Materia Medica in clinical practice?
R: We’re able to use data from all homeopathic sources in a Repertory. Words from various sources that carry the same meaning can be brought back to one keyword or phrase; there’s a homogenization of different “synonym” words: uterus and womb, urination and micturition, etc. This condensed index language forms the rubrics which make up our Repertories. And once you become familiar with the language and structural make-up of the rubrics, you can begin to use them to their greatest strengths.
D: How does the Repertory help to sort out proving information?
Sometimes information may not be as obvious in a proving–perhaps because certain specific symptoms are found in very different places in the proving. In the Repertory, small bits of proving information that might have been overlooked are accounted for, and as a consequence lesser-used remedies gain greater visibility. This is an advance resulting from the way information in newer Repertories has been collated and organized. With a balanced analysis of that information, all remedies have the opportunity to make a relatively equal statement.
D: How can a Repertory help us translate the patient’s symptoms into the language of rubrics?
R: In our Materia Medicas, what we see is a huge variety of words to express one and the same thing. So cross-references are an important advantage of repertories. Perhaps a patient describes a particular symptom using words or phrases that aren’t in “rubric language”. The cross-references direct you to the language of closely related ideas. For example, the experience of being ‘spaced out’ could be used by a patient, but this type of speech is relatively recent and not in the older Materia Medicas or Repertories. With cross-references, the practitioner can be directed to Mind, euphoria; stupefaction; cheerful as if intoxicated, etc.
D: What is one of your more important bits of advice about repertorization?
R: I think the following is a very important and useful tool in repertorization, one that allows the Repertory to be used to its greatest potential:
By “crossing” two larger general rubrics, i.e., one for a modality and the other for a physical complaint or a sensation, you create an “elimination rubric” which identifies only those remedies common to both rubrics. If you attempted to find those same remedies in a sub-rubric with the same modality and physical complaint or sensation, they’re often absent, because the sub-rubric is incomplete. Another example would be to cross a mental complaint with a physical complaint, identifying remedies common to both those rubrics.
D: How is this important to our clinical practice?
R: You can repertorize in this manner to match as closely as possible the complaint of your patient. It also allows lesser-used remedies to stand out, as they could be overlooked with standard repertorization, and one avoids over-emphasis of remedies found in smaller, incomplete sub-rubrics. By starting with a more generalized approach and refining it with the help of elimination rubrics, we can ultimately choose a very specific, well-matched remedy, whether “small” or large. Of course there are an endless numbers of symptoms for which one can find rubrics to be crossed to begin a process of elimination.
D: Can you give an example of this in practice?
R: So let’s say a remedy proving has a modality of “morning aggravates” in conjunction with right-sided abdominal pain. Then in practice a client comes in with a.m. aggravations of right-sided headaches. By staying with more general modality and physical rubrics in the repertorization–a la Boenninghausen–one can more easily associate a particular modality with a broader range of physical, mental or emotional symptoms and associated remedies. In the example above, one is able to discern the a.m. modality in conjunction with headaches, and the remedy for “abdominal pain” in the proving gains broader application in clinical practice, since that remedy is available in both the more general rubric “right-sided”, the rubric “Headache” and the rubric “morning agg.”, which then are crossed.
D: What is a common misperception about Repertories?
R: One common misunderstanding about Repertories is the grading of symptoms: 1, 2, 3 or 4. The intensity of a particular symptom is often translated as a higher grade, say 3 or 4, when in fact the quality of intensity should be conveyed through language rather than grading. In other words, very intense nausea can be grade 1 or 2, based on 1 or 2 individuals in a proving having experienced it, while the intensity may be described as deathly, violent, etc. We should reserve the higher grades for symptoms confirmed through clinical experience. The lower grades are reserved for symptoms experienced in the proving, but which are still waiting for clinical confirmation. Up to 70% of the symptoms in our repertories are in this latter category.
D: What do you feel is the ideal for an accurate Repertory?
R: The ideal is a proving followed by clinical experience and confirmation, accurately reflected in the grading. The reality is, the information from our practices is greatly expanded compared to provings, because we’ll never have enough provers to bring out all possible symptoms related to a remedy. That’s just the reality. But in my opinion, including all symptoms from a proving will not dilute one’s repertorizations, if we keep the proper role of grading in mind. Clinical experience will ultimately decide and confirm–or not–these proving symptoms.
D: Is there an advantage to using computerized Repertories?
R: Our modern, digital Repertories are much more refined than the manual repertories used in the past. Even with the same material, we have the advantage of more experience, optimized grading, and references for the information have greatly expanded. We’re able to include source references where the information is accounted for. Not to pick on Kent, but in his repertory there’s still a lot of information in the lowest grade found just in his repertory. So digitalization has brought much more clarity to the information.
One of the other blessings of digitalization is the ability to effectively identify and use “small” remedies. I’ve searched for small and medium remedy information and insured it was included in the Repertory, and Clarke’s Dictionary has been particularly helpful in this regard. I’ve also worked to balance small remedy information with that of “larger” remedies. In a computer repertorization, we can “push forward” a smaller remedy simply by taking advantage of mathematical analysis.
D: What do you think about family analysis in repertorization?
R: In my opinion, family analysis is also based on starting with a wider perspective, a more generalized starting point. It’s not a new idea—our old masters were quite aware of it, and maybe didn’t make such a big issue of it. Boenninghausen—a botanist—Farrington, Knerr and likely many others drew insights from family relationships. Incidentally, Boenninghausen has a particularly creative approach to repertorization, which opens us to a much broader range of remedies.
D: Can you speak a moment about future possibilities within the Repertory?
R: I’m excited about what can be done with the repertory. There is much more potential to what we’re able to do with the use of rubrics. I’m open to new ideas, but first we need to understand what is already available to us. I hope for a more balanced approach, not limited to Kent or even Boenninghausen, but based on what the patient is telling us, based on what the symptomatology is telling us to do. In other words, instead of analyses weighted too heavily in the direction of mental and emotional symptoms, or conversely, in the direction of the physicals, each of these realms can complement each other, and can work as a sort of check and balance for the other, a balanced totality of symptoms.
There’s much more that can be said about this, and so I encourage people to check out my Facebook pages, where a lot of this information is covered. If they like, they can also download “Complete Dynamics” a homeopathic analysis program with the Complete Repertory inside, free to use for one month.
D: Thank you again, Roger, for the generous sharing of your time and expertise.
Complete repertory info:
Roger is the author of the Complete Repertory and Repertorium Universale, published in several languages. He lectures and continues writing/developing for the benefit of homeopathy. His work is used by nearly all important homeopathic programs worldwide:
Cara™ Complete Dynamics™ Complete Synopsis™ Comrep™ Isis™ Homeoquest™ Hompath™ MacRepertory™ Mercurius™ ReferenceWorks™ Ruby™ Sesam™ Stimulare™